A new face for the music industry
It is not often that the music industry can chart the progress of a young prodigy from the stages of his singing outside his school building with his classmates to the point that he is performing on live television shows on the other side of the continent from his home, but the recent developments from the Middle East suggest that the world has a new face for the music industry to wrap around.
Young Abdel Rahman al-Shantti is not just a young schoolboy with burgeoning singing talents, as was seen on Irish day time television show ‘Maura and Daithi’ recently, but he is a starlet who has been bread and buttered on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the region where he has been living so far in his short life. A a result of his voice and his none too little confidence, Abdel has already sparked controversy in his homeland.
A viral video
When the 11-year-old school boy from the Gaza Strip uploaded a video of himself rapping to the tune of one of his best loved songs, he probably did not think that he would become a household name, or that he would provoke controversy in the process. The video turned out to produce both.
The posted video of Abdel Rahman al-Shantti singing outside his Gaza City school in English that could be described as confident and with an attitude that befits the great stars in the world, he earned himself over a million views and also a lot of well wished messages from around the globe.
The main aim behind his rapping live is to spread love between the Palestinians and the Israelis, declared in an interview with a Russian media company, and he added that he could see no excuse for them conducting wars with each other. He wants the conflict between the two states to end and for the relationship between them to improve.
He wants the conflict between the two states to end and for the relationship between them to improve.
Controversy in Gaza
As a result of the comments that he made post video, he got into trouble with the leadership of the militant group Hamas and sparked controversy in Gaza itself.
Hamas is in favour of military action in the region and for taking back what they see as Palestinian land, instead of suing for peace talks with Israel. On top of this criticism, a lot of people in the occupied territories lashed out on social media at the young singer and his parents, whom they accused of not teaching their son the ins-and-outs of the conflict in the area and the general Palestinian cause.
Calls for the two races to live calmly side by side are known to be like a curse word in a lot of circles in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and are in consequence viewed as a gesture of normalisation, which in effect treats their Israeli neighbours as a sovereign state with whom the citizens could possibly have standard relations. In some ways, such acts of normalisation, in this number activities or communication with Israelis can sometimes be thought of as tantamount to a crime in Gaza, although no one has yet made the suggestion that Abdel’s singing and subsequent comments had actually crossed any line.
Abdel has sad that he would like to shine a light and emphasises the challenges which have been visited on Gaza by an Israeli sponsored blockade, which some international economists have accused of provoking soaring poverty in the mediterranean coastal territory. On the other hand, Israel blames threats from Hamas for the implementation of the restrictions.
Rapping for ideals and beliefs
Although Arabic is his first language, Al-Shanti is fully able to rap in fluent, unaccented English with complete confidence, apparently it is a trick that he picked up by listening to rappers from the United States, including the likes of Eminem, Tupac and DJ Khaled.
Abdel himself aims to be like his hero Eminem, who is his favourite rapper of all, without fully copying his idol’s style, as he claims to possess his own. He says that he was able to write lyrics to his songs and compose rap beats by way of an app on his mobile phone.
In singing and rapping for his ideals and beliefs, young Abdel is indeed shining a light on the issues which need to be addressed in the Middle East at present. Despite what the Hamas movement in Palestine might think, if there were more rappers singing for peace in the region, there might end up being a lot less fighting.