For the last couple of years or so, Cyprus-based Palestinian rapper, Konstancy, has been undergoing a very intentional evolution. While he had previously used English in his raps, he has been exploring his native tongue more and more.
“It was always easier for me to express myself in English, and I’m more comfortable constructing all my rhymes and metaphors [in English],” he told SceneNoise in a 2019 interview. “Recently, I’ve been challenging myself and mixing both languages in my songs, and the feedback has been great, so there’s definitely going to be more of that.”
And we have indeed had more of that, the latest coming in the form of ‘Tiff’, featuring Rknddn. Produced by Smokaholic - a frequent Kontancy collaborator - the tone is set in the opening line: “Shit’s about to get dark.”
It is dark, it’s sinister, and there’s a melancholic anger bubbling and cracking through the surface of a track harks back to the R&B-informed West Coast hip-hop of the 90s - it’s twinkling keys and sensual synths paired rather nicely with a decidedly heavier beat and bass.
The track switches between Arabic and English seamlessly, sometimes within the same bar - but the question is this: is there a place for this kind of language hopping in the hip-op of the region and its diaspora? Constancy certainly isn’t the first to do so, but there are few examples of rappers fully committing to this meld. Will it open him up to a larger audience or will it isolate both? It’s a difficult one to judge, but Konstancy is at the very least on his way to perfecting it.