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Immortal Entertainment’s “Brooklyn Beats to Beirut Streets: The Redux” Hip Hop aint dead it lives in the Middle East

B+ with the goodies before heading to the show

It was the 4th of July 2009 when I first met B+ , it was the premier of Mochilla‘s “Tradition in Transition” a film they shot with music producer Quantic in Cali, Colombia. I was there with Ragtop and I remember B+ rocking an “Intifada LA” shirt. We went up to B and introduced ourselves, we had a common friend and that was our in.

Little did i know that 6 months later B+ and his Mochilla partner Eric Coleman would be on a plane heading to the Middle East.

Our driver amidst Beirut traffic as we head to the venue.

We had worked out two events to coincide with the current Middle Eastern tour of the “Human Writes Project ” which features Def Poet & educator Mark Gonzales, Ragtop & Omar Offendum. The shows would take place at Basement in Beirut on the 10th of January and at Flow in Amman on the 15th. They would feature B+ and Eric Coleman as opening Dj’s , poetry by Gonzales, rhymes by Offendum and Ragtop and Dj Lethal Skillz holding down the decks of steel, representing Arab turntablalism. In Beirut a selection of local MC’s also would perform and we were lucky to add Malikah “The Queen of Arab Hip Hop” to the Amman line up in her first ever performance in our city. This was our test to see if audiences in the region are ready for some new sounds and music from around the world.

B+ & Eric Coleman during soundcheck at Basement. Right then and there you knew something special was about to be served to Beirut.

Basement- 10th of January 2010 – Beirut, Lebanon :  Words by Laith.

We get to Basement and do a quick soundcheck, people are already trying to come in, B+ and Eric test the vinyls, all is good, the lights go down and B+ gets behind the decks. He opens the night by dropping one of the orchestral compositions off the Suite for Ma Dukes record, J Dilla is present with us through his music and then a selection of Ethio-jazz, brazilian grooves and many forgotten gems from around the world headline his set. Eric Coleman took the decks next and got the crowd moving, bringing back that firecracker flair he’s known for.  Mark Gonzales dropped some knowledge on the crowd with his poetic powers, Omar Offendum surprised the audience with an Arabic verse and 6 foot plus Ragtop hovered over the crowd with his rhymes. The boys built up the crowd to a frenzy which set up the stage for the local 961 Hip Hop massive. RGB got to the crowd first, then Ramcess showed the new blood of the lebanese hip hop movement to the Basement crowd. The Queen of Arab Hip Hop “Malikah” graced the crowd with her high energy and lyrical chops, Zoog joined in with his slippery flows. Then Chino commented that the bartender was “hot” before he started his song, and to end it I-Voice from the Burj Al-Barajneh refugee camp took the local act to an end. Lethal Skillz got the crowd dancing with some old hip hop favorites and with his surgical cutting transitioned the end of his set to Eric Coleman who showed his mixing skills and ability to get the crowds to continue dancing.

I think the photos and the video at the bottom of the post should give you an idea of how things went down…Beirut our promise to you is we’ll do this again soon.

Lebanese emcee "Ramsees" during soundcheck at Basement.

The ever improving RGB made an appearance at the show.Watch out for this kid.

B+ got the crowd moving with what he calls some "fucking" cool world music.

Def Poetry's Mark Gonzales dropping that spoken word knowledge like its college.

Ragtop always killing it on the mic.

When I say Hip you say Hop. Then you dance non stop for the next four hours.

Omar Offendum & Ragtop , screen writer and architect by day, mic assasins by nigh ,performed a couple of songs together.

RGB started the line up of local lebanese hip hop acts.

Malikah "The Queen of Arab Hip Hop" & Zoog doin their thing.

Chino took to the mic and dropped a couple of verses. For all MCs out there, always start your set with props to the hot female bartender .

TNT & Yaseen of I-Voice a hip hop crew from the Burj Al-Barajneh refugee camp got to perform at the end of the local acts. From powering their studio on car batteries to having their pics taken by the legendary mochilla crew, Thats hip hop baby.

Photographer/Dj Eric Coleman on the decks of steel spinning the last song of the night.

Flow- 15th of January- Amman, Jordan – Words by Nasser.

We in….Amman ? That’s what most of you asked us during our Jan 15th  Show at Flow, to be honest  we were asking ourselves, that same question.

When Mochilla and HWP gave their approval for this project,  the nervousness hit hard, here we are in our first official event ever working with guys that have worked with Madlib, OH NO,  Damien Marely, Wu Tang Clan, Biggie , Jurassic 5, DJ Shadow , Cut Chemist, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Lauren Hill , Jay Electroica and basically everyone we ever admired in hip hop.  On the other hand we had HWP , an integral part of our family , that had intrsuted us to deliver what we promised, two of the dopest hip hop shows to bless Amman and Beirut. A tall task specially when legends and family are involved . Oh and  did I mention that one of the founders of the Arab hip hop scene ( DJ lethalskillz) and the queen of arab hip hop ( Malikah) were also coming?

In what is a primarly electronic music market ( Amman and Beirut) the task of organizing and promoting such an event is indeed monumental , whomever we talked to looked at us if we were crazy, what do you mean you want to throw a show mixing Ehtiopian Jazz, Brazilian Funk  and Colombian music with the political raps of HWP? In a club setting? In Amman? Whats wrong with you seemed to be the consensus

Little do they, or for that matter we know that we will be able to throw the best hip hop event  party to ever hit Amman, we say this with humbleness as we know that what made the night special were the performences of the DJ’s , Mcs and the crowd.  those of you who attended know that they attended something really special, a night when the 300 plus attendees grooved, jumped up and down, nodding their head non stop till they almost fell off, and chanted hip hop and lyrics off the top of their lungs for five hours. That is simply unheard off in Amman , we knew it, the crowd knew it and the performers knew it . We in….Amman ? indeed we were , welcome to Immortal’s Amman.

DJ Lethal Skillz of the 961 Underground during soundcheck at Flow in Amman.

B+ of Mochilla started the night out with some Brazilian and Colombian gems.

Omar Offendum took the role of the night's MC.Who else would set the tone?

Ragtop rhymes hovering over the Amman crowd .

The Queen getting ready for her first ever performance in Amman.

Omar Offendum & Ragtop surprised the crowd with "Camouflage Life" off the Arab Summit album.

"The Queen" amongst her new subjects.

The performance line up for the night, Mark Gonzales, Ragtop, Dj Lethal Skillz, Omar Offendum & Malikah.

Eric Coleman decided to move LA's firecracker to Amman .

Eric Coleman of Mochilla spinning J Dilla , night is a killa.

Here is a quick video showing how the night went down.

Till next time 3iiish Peace

All Images © 2010 Laith Al-Majali / Immortal Entertainment

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10 responses

  1. Hamza Kalaji

    Great Stuff Immortal! Keep it up & our heads high! It took some gutts to do what you did, but you pulled it off smoothly in the end.. People were skeptical you say? Well of course they were; We ARE living in an Electronica environment, & so obviously embarking on a not-so-popular genre – backed up with some political underpinnings – is bound to raise some eyebrows. But that’s what it takes to get some interest going. To take the risk, to try it out, & just see what the fuck might happen. You are the contributors, no leaders, of/to change. We need change. Change is good. Most people fear change, but ultimately they learn to embrace it & once they see every1 walkin along that path of change… They walk too…

    January 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm

  2. observer

    This is amazing. So glad to see different coverage of the middle east

    January 24, 2010 at 6:53 pm

  3. Lara

    100% original… big up to all ma famillia.. much love xxxxx

    January 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Immortal Entertainment’s “Brooklyn Beats to Beirut Streets: The Redux” Hip Hop aint dead it lives in the Middle East « Immortal Entertainment's Blog -- Topsy.com

  5. Nada

    GOOD LUCK GUYS, IMMORTAL ROCKS

    January 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

  6. immortalent

    Thank you all for your comments, stay tuned as we have a lot of goodies coming your way, watch out for music videos , mix tapes, pics and much more

    January 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm

  7. I love seeing family on the other side of the globe! much love! hope to make my way over there someday soon…. maybe for mochilla’s next trip*

    February 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm

  8. Pingback: The Man with the Pigeons « The blog of Laith Al-Majali

  9. Harrabic

    February 26, 2010 at 12:01 am

  10. d

    big nice up!

    March 28, 2010 at 12:35 am

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