Rapper, producer and experimental artist, Bashar Suleiman - aka Lil Asaf - has been redefining soundscape and performance in the hip-hop scene. Melancholic, regressive and often nonchalant, the Amman-based Palestinian artist has been dropping effortless reflections that play on break percussion, pop infusions, heavily manipulated vocals and sheer poetry. As his first single off his upcoming album, ‘3EED’ solidifies the rapper’s artistic and cultural extremities; Lil Asaf the artist, the idea, the movement.
The track opens with the infamous Lil Asaf vocal sigh; for the avid listener, this signature adlib comes as an indication of the emotional trip ahead. Self-produced, ‘3EED’ is filled with the grimy bass kicks we’re used to, but is structured in such a peculiar way that already breaks off preconceptions - something Lil Asaf is a veteran of. The track is a fluid, spacey production that could be best described as a lyrical and sonic soliloquy. With only one verse, Lil Asaf paints the scene of Arab urban dynamics in what’s supposed to be a time of merriment.Lyrically, the impeccable verse captures Lil Asaf’s take on social dynamics in Amman, where everyone is being watched, but also are the ones watching, where every syllable makes noise and the only constant is being on the move. There’s fear in the streets that’s out to get you,” the rapper depicts and embodies the dark and restless side of our time. Even though Eid is portrayed with joy, it could verily be unfavourable living in our rundown Arab world. As the butcher’s knife aches for sacrifice, Lil Asaf juggles the dichotomy between being a wolf or getting lined-up with the sheep.
Teaming up with Amman-based visual artist, Asli streetwear founder and Bashar’s brother, Basel Hasan, on direction, and Zainab Hasoon on production, the music video is a heavy cinematic picture. It comes a long way from his earlier releases like ‘Labash ‘or ‘Athgal Dam’, even though he’s still consistent in depicting the crew of three. Taking place between a backdoor garage and a drift ring, the video is heavily inspired by Need for Speed Underground, a game the crew played a lot growing up. Under an eerie full moon, the wolves come out to play- baring heavy duffle bags and blasting exhausts. Lil Asaf catches a stare at the audience from the POV of a drifting car; at the center of the chaos, on the brink of drastic measure. The Arab need for speed, ‘3EED’ is the crown jewel of a new wave urban culture.