In the Egyptian rap landscape that’s currently grappling with a dearth of fresh voices and emerging talents, Hazem Koshary steps onto the scene with a debut album that aims to defy conventions by blending a myriad of genres and styles. Released under Khaled Bargona’s B-62, the 8-track LP serves as a dynamic portfolio and lyrical testament to Koshary’s diverse musical prowess, establishing him as a potential rising star.

Despite the album's title bearing the mark of “Phase 1”, it deliberately avoids a cohesive narrative, instead leaping between themes and genres with a fearless abandon. From psychedelic trap to pure sha’aby grooves and house, Koshary wears his influences proudly, showcasing his ability to seamlessly navigate different musical landscapes without tethering himself to a singular sound.

The album opens with “Bagheeb”, a track pulsating with a psychedelic, heavy trap beat. Synth elements complement Koshary's harsh tone, confident voice and ghostly ad-libs, as he delivers aggressive verses and explores themes of melancholy and loneliness in the chorus, highlighting both his rap and singing abilities.

The following track introduces a complete shift in vibe, sampling Mounir Morad’s “E7na Talata” in the intro, and harmoniously transitioning into a classic sha’aby beat. Here, we can see Koshary on the refrain in a performance reminiscent of Rico’s “Shobra”. He effortlessly flows over the beat, offering a glimpse into his versatile range and ability to switch between styles.

In “El Otta Doja”, Koshary showcases his lyrical prowess over a mellow trap beat produced by Omar Gangster. The track unfolds with Koshary's sweet humming, creating a dark and slow atmosphere. “Leily Ya Leil” marks another mood switch, this time embracing a deep house beat that harkens back to Mousv and Gelba’s attempts at fusing house elements with hip-hop. Koshary rises to the occasion, matching the energy of the electronic dance groove and affirming his potential and range in the process.

“Madda Moot” stands out as the album's pinnacle, presenting an experimental hip-hop beat that displays Omar Gangster's diverse production skills. Koshary's refrain, powerful verses accompanied by quirky wordplay, and complex rhyme schemes give us one the best performances on the record.

“Meely” brings us back to electronic grooves with another house instalment that surpasses “Leily Ya Leil” in execution, demonstrating a different approach from Hazem on the verses, and melodic delivery on the chorus.

“Sha7tafa” arrives as another unorthodox trap beat, featuring synth-based production. Koshary perfects his braggadocio, throwing shade at the hip-hop scene, while asserting his own place within it. The album concludes with the evocative outro “Shoghl EL 3eid”, which includes a mawal from Koshary set against a familiar sha’aby beat. Influences from Ibrahim X’s ‘Ya Khal’ are evident, as he embodies the role of El Nabatchy, and establishes a traditional Egyptian wedding vibe in the process.

Due to the album’s nuanced avoidance of a singular context or interconnected themes, it solidifies Koshary as a multi-faceted up-and-coming talent in the Egyptian rap scene. A versatile performer with a wide range of styles and a unique sense of adaptability to various genres and production choices, Koshary is a voice we’re keeping an eye - and ear - on.