Sudan's Rising Stars: Rap Renaissance Meets Resilience

Meet the Sudanese artists inspiring change through street rap.

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Sudan, located in the Horn of Africa, means “The Land of Blacks”, embodying a rich history, art, music, culture, and often overlooked resources. However, it’s impossible not to acknowledge a nation grappling with one of the largest displaced populations globally – 8.1 million people since April 15th, 2023 inside and outside of Sudan. The essential questions emerge: How are they coping, and where is the youth?

A significant number of Sudanese citizens have migrated to Egypt in search of new means of stability, opportunity, education, and the embrace of freedom and a promising future. Familiarity graces the fresh waters of the Nile that both Sudan and Egypt share, and with that comes a love of music.

Sudanese musicians began to incorporate Western influences into their music in the 1960s through the incorporation of various drum kits, pianos, electric guitars, and violins alongside jazz and blues. One of the pioneering hip-hop groups was Nas Jota, later growing to include hip-hop artists Ayman Maw, Flippter, TooDope, MaMan, and countless others.

Sound has always been a frequency of liberation, a means for expression, but to be an artist based out of Sudan, it has always been a challenge due to the ongoing political unrest and censorship within the country. However, a notable aspect of Sudanese resilience is that they will always find a way, and the right people will gravitate toward them with means of elevation.

Rap has always been synonymous with raising mass consciousness against systemic injustices and the lyrical phenomenon has penetrated the MENA region, with notable rappers such as El General of Tunisia and Omar Offendum of Syria, both known for their roars of their homelands. Today, many music fans crave the authenticity, rawness, and relevance of the world’s current landscape, but the latest revival of cultural history is rap battles.

Currently based in Egypt, the region’s newest platform is Rap Shar3, aka ‘Street Rap,’ which is a space and media channel for unrepresented artists in the MENA region. Initiated by the artist Black B, who was born in Egypt and admires the Moroccan hip-hop scene, he was inspired to bring his vision to fruition with seven people who helped him grow into a team of twelve and reach millions.

Rap Shar3 aims to bring visibility to unknown artists who are still on the rise by giving them a mic to amplify their story, nation, and overall community. Black B states, “I want to support talented people who deserve a chance. My goal is to spread the program this year throughout the Arab world and in 2025 conquer Europe and create a consortium between countries.” The first episode aired at the end of 2022, debuting Street Rap Alexandria, later featuring one of their most viral sessions, Street Rap Palestine, amassing 4 million views on Instagram, and later their most recent Sudan Street Rap. The Street Rap Sudan edition was something never seen before at such magnitude, particularly considering the nationwide blackouts that have intermittently plagued the country over the past couple of months, disrupting all communication. The Sudan edition evoked compassion, nostalgia, and unity, resonating well with fans. They begged for a second part, and, of course, Rap Shar3 delivered.

With many more nations and talents to emerge, here’s a roundup of three artists from the first and second Street Rap Sudan. All three of the young Sudanese rappers dream of the day they can return to the streets of Khartoum and instill their collective mission to amplify the voices of their homeland and become a beacon of success for the nation’s history and beyond. With each verse, they ignite a flame of hope and resilience, reminding everyone of the transformative power of art to transcend barriers and ignite movements. Keep an eye on these rising stars as they continue to set hearts on fire with their conscious rap and unyielding spirit.

Hyper

22-year-old Hyper’s smooth lyricism and captivating character have taken the internet by storm. In his viral video for Rap Shar3, he debuted his song, “Kanet Ayam Ya Watany” (Those Were Days, My Country), emulating a rendition of a national song, The title of the song served as the clever chorus he aimed for. Hyper effortlessly blends nostalgia with a modern approach, sporting sunglasses and exuding confidence.

Born in Khartoum and later studying in Egypt, Hyper’s journey has been marked by a passion for music and a deep connection to his homeland. From winning Freedom Music’s rap competition in Egypt to penning tracks about Sudan’s socio-political landscape, Hyper stays true to his roots while carving his early path in the music industry.

As he works on his upcoming album, Hyper aims not only to make an impact but also to amplify the voices of underrepresented artists. Despite facing challenges and even death threats due to his performances, his determination to bring about positive change in Sudan remains unwavering. With each verse, Hyper weaves a narrative that resonates not only with the Sudanese but with audiences worldwide, reminding us of the power of music to unite and inspire.

Veto

Veto’s poetic and captivating lyricism has awed the MENA region and beyond. Through his song, “Khayana” (Betrayal), he commands attention from the start with chants that resonate through the streets, drawing listeners in with every “Ay” that echoes and condemns the corruption within Sudan. From his early days of inspiration from rap legends like Tupac and Biggie to crafting tunes in his car to tackling poignant societal issues through his music, Veto’s journey is one fueled by passion and resilience.

Veto found his voice in the power of storytelling, with modern icon Travis Scott further igniting his artistic fire. But for Veto, success isn’t just about fame, it’s about making an impact – using his platform to amplify the unheard voices of Sudan. Through his music, he becomes a beacon of authenticity, blending his Sudanese identity seamlessly into his art and reclaiming the cultural heritage of his homeland.

Awab

Awab’s soul-stirring flow and unwavering passion have set the Sudanese scene ablaze. In his electrifying duet “7riga” (Fire), Awab commands attention with every word, weaving a tale that resonates far beyond borders.

From his early days in Khartoum to his journey through Russia University, Awab’s path has been paved with a love for poetry and a relentless pursuit of his art. Inspired by the rich tapestry of Sudanese culture and the resilience of his people, he embraces rap as a means to uplift and inspire.

With his upcoming mixtape Fatrat: Periods, Awab aims to elevate Sudanese rap to new heights, believing wholeheartedly in its power to spark change and unite communities. Through his music, he embodies the spirit of a generation – determined to leave an indelible mark on the world.

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