I spent time in Gaza with Palestinian hip-hoppers Darg Team, an energetic group desperate to rap their stories to the world.
In a backstreet open-air cafe in Gaza late at night, Khaled Harara from the Black Unit Band starts to talk about rap.
A phone call interrupts him. “Oh my god, it’s my dad, he will kill me because I’m not home yet.” Not quite the tough image one conjures of rappers.
After assuring his father he’s giving an interview, he’s ok to stay.
But that interruption brings up something he wants people to understand better: rap doesn’t have to be what the corporate market makes it to be. “We are trying to show people that hip-hop can be good; it doesn’t have to be about sex and drugs. We are returning rap to its old roots, talking about real issues.”
His friend Ayman Mughames from Palestinian Rapperz joins him.
“When we started in 2002, our message was to show the real life in Palestine and especially in Gaza,” Mughames says. “We talk about cases, things that must be talked about: the Israeli occupation, the siege on Gaza, the Israeli wars on Gaza, Palestinian unity.”
“Rapping is our way of resisting. We need people to resist not only by weapons, but by words too.”