Lebanese Hip Hop[1] is a pioneering movement in Arabic hip hop as Lebanese youth were among the first to be affected by hip hop culture.[2][3][4][5][6][7] Arabic hip hop has received Western media attention, but most Lebanese rappers think that there is still a lack of local interest in their music.[8][9] Hip hop in Lebanon is both an art form and a stage for artists to voice their alternative discourse in the public sphere.

In 2001 Erhab records label introduced gangster rap to the Lebanese hiphop scene. The label established a recording studio in 2008 in Lebanon's central prison Roumieh Prison , They released many singles and albums featuring inmates.

Roots and Significance

The hip hop culture is grounded in African American oral tradition, but, as communities around the world tend to do, the Lebanese hip hop scene is accommodated to the local context.[10] According to member of local hip hop band Fareeq el Atrash,

"[hip hop] always existed in our traditions but we never paid attention to it. It’s a modern style of poetry – hip hop… It’s not about forming a hip hop culture in Lebanon, it exists in Zajal and Atabah… hip hop already existed in Lebanon." – MC Edd Abbas[11]

Atabah ( Arabic: عتابة) is a form of improvised Arabic poetry that uses the lyrical nature of the Arabic language in its performance.[11]

Modern Lebanese hip hop artists have a different view on the significance of hiphop to the Lebanese culture specifically. "it highlights the message. It provides a framework to show the way, a notebook. It is not only a song, it is a framework." – Jamul[12]

Chyno with a why?, a pioneer in the Middle Eastern hiphop scene states that hiphop in the region has accomplished a very important role in regards to youth dissilusionment, he states that hip hop "reduce pressure and stress”, in addition to “empower young people that do not fit in the society.” – Chyno with a why[12]


The music underneath the lyrical portion of songs in Lebanese hip hop varies widely. African drumming is prevalent, along with the sound of bombshells and other street noises.[11] Lebanese rapper Rayess Bek even includes a full orchestra with traditional instruments like the [oud] and [nay] in a recent album.[11] Other influences include swing, jazz, reggae, and acoustic guitar tapping.

Popular Artists

See also


  1. ^ Kircher-Allen, Eamon (2009-02-27). "Christian Science Monitor article about Lebanese hip hop artists: "Hip-hop's Arabic language kin"". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  2. ^ Talty, Alexandra (7 November 2013). "Banker To Rapper: The Unlikely Career Of Hip-Hop Artist Chyno". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  3. ^ Anderson, Sulome (2012-01-27). "Tales from Beirut's hip-hop trenches". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  4. ^ Marrouch, Rima (March 30, 2013). "Arab hip-hop's El Rass takes on rap and revolution". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  5. ^ Bennett, Geoffrey (June 2007). "Hip Hop Straight Outta Lebanon". NPR. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  6. ^ "Lebanon's Hip-Hop Struggle". Washington Post. November 2007.
  7. ^ "Lebanese hip-hop live in Cairo". Ahram Online. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  8. ^ "Tales from Beirut's hip hop trenches".
  9. ^ "Lebanese hip-hop pioneer rapping for free speech". The Daily Star. 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  10. ^ Wiedemann, Felix (2019). "Remixing Battle Rap and Arabic Poetic Battling". Occhialì – Rivista sul Mediterraneo islamico. 4: 13–28. doi:10.20378/irbo-54191.
  11. ^ a b c d ”Scratch the Past – this is OUR Soundtrack” Angie Nassar, Arab Youth, Nov 19, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Lebanon: Music as a Reflection of the Political Turmoil - Daraj". 2022-04-27. Retrieved 2022-09-30.