Freek: Arab Trap that Says Something

Written by on 22/04/2021

Following on from last week’s post by our whirlwind presenter Deana, I (Producer Aasiyah) am back on the AAAZT Blog! And good news: I’ve been given this as my very own platform, and I can’t wait to connect with you guys through it! Let’s gooooooo! 🔥

One thing about me is that I love getting into the nitty gritty of our favourite artists, and last week’s post was the perfect inspiration.

So I did a bit of digging into Freek, the second artist on the list of 4 that we were all so generously gifted. And you know when you find an artist and you become obsessed with their music? Yeah, that.

Freek is a gloriously gifted rapper, born and raised in the UAE to Somali parents, who has been setting the Arab rap scene on fire. He’s not at all new to it, but what makes him different is his sound – a pioneer in Arab Trap and Arabic Drill, Freek brings to the fore of Arabic music a reality check as to what life in the (Arab) world can be like. And he does it entirely in Arabic – which, even though you might not think so, is also very unique.

When you think about life in the UAE: in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, what’s your first thought? Beaches, palm trees, huge malls, fast cars, boat parties and designer clothes? That’s the kind of luxury lifestyle I’d associate with the rich, the famous and the influencers. But Freek doesn’t tend to talk about that in his music. He talks about life, about his experiences as he was growing up, and about the struggles that we all share but think we’re carrying on our own. And Freek’s newest release, Kafi (كافي) is no exception.

Social justice as a theme in Arab rap is not uncommon: Zap Tharwat’s 25 (Egypt) talks about mental health issues faced by young people, DAM’s Milliardat (Palestine) is all about the money that’s spent in the name of peace but promotes war, and we can’t forget about El General’s Rais Lebled (Tunisia) that has been referred to as the ‘anthem of the Jasmine revolution’ of 2011.

But what’s different in Freek’s Kafi is that he’s bringing in front of the eyes of the world two issues that are usually kept very private.

The first is apparent when you listen to the song, and really listen to the lyrics. In Kafi, Freek is rapping as someone who is so mentally anguished, so lacking in hope, that they turn to the trap, knowing that it’s their downfall.

The second is an issue that’s widespread not only in the MENA region, but around the world: domestic violence. If you can’t pick it up from the video, it’s explicitly mentioned in the description – ‘the issue of child abuse and mental health issues and how children usually deal with this situations.’

The song leaves you with wanting to know more about what happens next, but intrinsically you already know what happens next. The dark beauty of this track is that its most important message is left unsaid, because you know what the message is. It’s a stark contrast to the usually flashy lifestyle that associated with drugs and is talked about in a lot of songs nowadays.

I’m looking forward to what else Freek is going to bring into the world, not just because I like his music, but because I love the messages of the music. This artist is definitely one to watch – if you want to find the wela3 (fire), it’s right here with Freek. 

And of course, we’re going to bring Freek’s music to you as soon as we get our hands on it, so tune in to AAAZT (ALL ARABIC ALL ZA TIME) on Mondays from 12PM GMT on Tribe Urban Radio.

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