2018 has been a year that has seen music videos becoming as important as the music itself in the Egyptian rap scene, with social media making them an easy and effective form of promotional material. But beyond that, music videos have also emerged as a creative way for the best of this underground music scene to communicate their style and story as rappers.
Of course, not everyone gets it right; creating a video that complements, or maybe even enhances, a track is a complex equation. But we're now in a situation where money, equipment and resources are no longer as big a stumbling block as they once were. A big budget doesn't mean a great video and, conversely, a small or nonexistent budget doesn't mean a poor video. You don't even necessarily have a revolutionary idea - although it does help. It's about the storytelling and hip-hop is a genre that has plenty of stories to tell...
MARAGEH - AHMED SANTA
Ahmed Santa kicked off 2018 with a video that reflects a normal 'day' in his life, painting a picture that many other rappers subscribe to. The video shows him rap-battling, recording in the studio and even hanging out at an ahwa, while using the streets and skylines of the poorer side of Cairo as a backdrop. There's a DIY aesthetic to the video, but it never feels amateur.
02:00AM - LEGE-CY
Tanta based rapper Lege-Cy’s visual interpretation of of 02:00AM is all about 'mood', taking you into what can be read as the mental state of the rapper, while also having plenty of emotion. The cinematography is what makes this one, with the purple filter and the way the camera frames the largely empty and anonymous streets capturing the song perfectly.
BAHZAR M3AK - RAPTOR
Raptor is a unique rising talent on the Egyptian scene. This is his first video and he succeeded in presenting his track with the best visual reflection possible, with the help of Diablo, who’s also a rapper, and the assistant director of ‘Al Sabaa Wasaya’ series, his team, and D.O.P Mustapha El Nemr, who excels in his job when it comes to making videos for underground rappers.
365 - MARWAN MOUSSA FT. DAWSHA
This is the first collaboration between Marwan Moussa and Dawsha, and the music video’s director is none other than Raed Al Murish, one of the best rap music video directors around, known for his work on the Saudi and Egyptian rap scenes.
7AWL-EL24ARA - LORD DA
Falling more under what you might say is the aesthetic and style of the newer generation of Egyptian rappers, there's something hectic about Lord Da's video for 7awl El24ara. While Lord Da has been on the scene for a while, the high-energy video feels modern, following on nicely from the track itself, which is part of an upcoming album.
MAGNOUN III - VANDETA9
While visually simple, Vandeta9 perfectly communicates what is a more emotional track than others on the list. But what really makes this the rapper himself - as a performance, he nails it in the various set-ups the video works through.
CARBON - E EVIL
Leaving the urban streets of Egypt and heading to the desert, E Evil's August-released video for dubstep-leaning track, Carbon, uses video-game visuals (and some rather nifty dancing) to create on of the few videos that don't rely on a gritty, grayed visual style.
T.N.T - WEGZ
Although it’s a low budget music video, this is one of Wegz's best videos. There's something pleasing about the appearance of Shooterz in the video and theseemingly random graphic doodles that appear throughout add a suitably quirky touch.
LYROLINE - ERIC
Another fairly simple video in its setup, this one, too, is about performance, with Eric delivering the song perfectly. Produced by Serious Black Films, it also benefits from a visually unique palette to match what is a sonically unique track.
AZRA2EEL - ABYUSIF
Call it gimmicky if you like, but there's no doubting that the innovative video for Abyusif's track, Azra2eel, is one of the best in recent times. Directed by Wael Alaa, the way the camera moves across streets and buildings as you wonder where the rapper will show up next keeps you on your toes - and it holds up to multiple viewings, too.