Last night on Instagram, critically-acclaimed megastar and Egypt’s own Tamer Hosny announced that he is done filming the music video for the 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship official song, “Erfa Eidak”. All was within the realm of the normal, until the veteran singer and songwriter caught his fans off-guard revealing that it features a collaboration with the upcoming rapper Marwan Moussa.
At first glance, the news might seem like another big star is getting a taste of the rap fever that has been dominating the playlists of the youth for some time now, but upon further consideration, it seems like pop music, a genre that has taken a hold of Egypt for generations, is gradually accepting that the crown is up for grabs.
In the early 2000s, rap as an art form traveled across the Atlantic to the Arab World, and here in Egypt, we had one of the most-promising underground music scenes, where young artists expressed a spectrum of emotions through convoluted rhymes and a range of funky beats; this was called the Old School of rap, and it featured bands like Egy Rap School and Y-Crew, and even though, this wave has had its successes, the hip hop scene in Egypt waned with the coming of the new decade, and the 2010’s saw rap in the background without much influence. Many of the Old School pioneers quit the rap industry and those who chose to stay garnered a humble fan base that remained underground.
There are exceptions to the rule, however, as some rappers managed to make a name for themselves and shine in the light of the mainstream, such as El Joker and Zap Tharwat, but their success does not compare to the explosion that we have seen with what is now called the New Wave.
In the last two years, a number of young, creative rappers came to the spotlight and started creating a sound that Egypt has never heard before. With chill beats and laid-back lyrics fusing sha’bi and Western trap elements, the likes of Marwan Pablo, Wegz, and Marwan Moussa reigned over mainstream music, and when the 22-year-old Wegz became Egypt’s most-streamed artist in Egypt on Spotify snatching the title from Amr Diab, it was a sign of the times. Rap was making a comeback, and it wasn’t any comeback, the New Wave rappers had set their eyes on the prize.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the background, you have to understand Tamer Hosny is no stranger to collaborations; he’s had his fair share of them. Hosny is always on the lookout for new sounds, recreating his music with every new album. His track “Smile” with Shaggy and “Si Al Sayed” with the one and only Snoop Dogg show his willingness to experiment with the way he sounds. Hosny understands the New Wave’s appeal with millennials and Gen Zs, and he wants to incorporate this phenomenon into his tracks, unlike many of his contemporaries who look down on the new sound.
On the other hand, Marwan Moussa has become the golden boy of his genre perfecting a cool, beachy sound that took the public by storm when he released his magnum opus “Sheraton”, which, since its release, has garnered more than eight million views on YouTube. Moussa followed with his much-awaited album “Florida” receiving praise from both fans and critics.
Being one of the few fusions between Egyptian pop and rap, this latest collab, “Erfa Eidak”, is destined to become a turning point in the future of music in the Arab World; the beginning of a new genre that fuses the melodic hooks and catchy tunes of pop with the rhythm and beats of rap, and with two giants of their respective crafts bringing in their best, we honestly cannot wait to give it a listen.