Bashar Suleiman’s debut release as Lil Asaf marks a shift away from abstraction for the Jordan-based, Palestinian producer and a potential disruption into the world of rap. As the first single and video off of his upcoming EP, Lal Bazam, ‘Labash’ holds on to the same aberrant, bass-driven beats that were so prominent in previous releases under his own name or as part of duo, INSIN, with Welsh producer, Elvin Brandh.

This time around, however, his production provides a mattress for grungy poetry surrounding hope, despair and resistance, the lyrics possibly even reflecting his new moniker, which - aside from adopting every rapper’s favourite abbreviation for ‘little’ - is an Arabic phrase that translates most accurately to ‘unfortunately’. His words roll slowly and magnanimously from verse to verse, before things begin to rise and peak over roaring, distorted guitars. 

In the video, we open on Suleiman sitting on a window sill staring intently into camera, the brilliant scattershot introduction drawing you in, before we end up in the neon-lit corner of an apartment. Suleiman maintains eye contact with you looking despondent amongst friends smoking shisha and playing Monopoly. Make of that what you will, we're just excited to hear more big sounds from Lil Asaf. Lal Bazam is set for release on March 15th, 2020 on Cairo/London label, ANBA.

Follow Bashar Suleiman/Lil Asaf on Instagram and Soundcloud.

Follow ANBA on Instagram and Soundcloud.

Photo: Basel Haasan