Music Videos

Our discussion of Israeli and Palestinian hip hop motivated me to do some research on Israeli and Palestinian hip hop music videos. My initial interest was inspired by the question of how the two groups differed in their style of music video, and how these also differed from contemporary western music videos. The obvious difference between Israeli/Palestinian music videos and western videos is the innate political nature of both the lyrics and the content. The following video from Palestinian hip hop group DAM, addresses issues of nationality and ownership of disputed land. The video itself utilizes shots of large crowds and exudes a community/unified aura

Israeli hip hop is very similar in nature, focusing largely on political themes. Even more contemporary rap groups like SHI 360, who moved to Canada at a young age, feature much more politicized themes in their videos than traditional western music videos.

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3 Responses to Music Videos

  1. I think it’s really interesting how different the DAM video is from typical American hip hop visual representation. Most western artists choose to portray themselves and their material possessions – a much more self centered representation, rather than discuss political issues/use music videos as a political statement.
    However, American artists do portray themselves as members of a group, like DAM does by filming the large crowds and their neighborhood. For example, in Waka Flocka’s “Hard in the Paint” music video, he depicts “The Jungles” of LA. However, he still represents himself in a very selfish, ego centric manner, as he wears a flashy chain and places himself in front of the group he is trying to represent, not as a part of them as DAM does.

    Waka Flocka Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkkC9cK8Hz0&ob=av2e

  2. I find it very interesting to watch music videos produces by Middle Eastern groups like DAM. They strongly resemble rap/hip-hop videos from a decade or two ago here in the United States. The “anti-police” attitude and rebellious depiction were seen in music videos by artists like NWA, Nas, Ice-T, etc.

    This stands out to me more, because I did a little more research on DAM when doing my media analysis. They mention over and over again that they were inspired by American rap artists of that era, and saw similarities in their life on the streets. It makes watching these videos more entertaining now, seeing where they may have been inspired from.

  3. I agree with Thomas that they definitely remind me of earlier rap music videos. When I watched this video, I actually had a specific music video in mind: NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” ( http://youtu.be/xFNZUDSVqck )
    In the very opening scene, you can see that they’re backed by several members of the community similarly to DAM’s music video.
    In both videos, they also walk around the community, revealing their location. From personal experience (since I live near Compton), I know that viewing a video like this elicits a personal connection. When I see the “Straight Outta Compton” video and recognize the areas that they are walking around, I think “Oh hey – that’s my neighborhood.” I assume that that’s a similar reaction to Palestinians watching DAM’s music videos. The goal here, I believe, is to unify these members and remind them that this is a common struggle– these hardships affect all of those within the community.

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