An Introduction to the Arab World’s Best Rappers

2. Shadia Mansour

Shadia Mansour, a British-born Palestinian rapper, has toured in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, where she visited Milwaukee and Chicago, cities with sizable Palestinian immigrant populations. Mansour’s music, which alternates between staccato rap and a melodic chorus, doesn’t evince the same kind of unbridled anger as Malikah’s. Rather, she follows in the footsteps of Fairouz, a Lebanese diva. As far as her message is concerned, Mansour declares that she identifies with Tupac’s thoughtful musings on the state of society, as well as Public Enemy’s insouciant style of satire. “Much respect to Biggie,” Mansour said in an interview, “’cause whenever we say Tupac we have to say Biggie, but to be honest I’m not into gangster rap. I would buy it, but I don’t feel I can relate — ’cause I’m not a gangster, I’m not from the street and everything else that comes with it.”