Tamer Nafar of DAM speaks on hip-hop and the global resistance


I was exposed to the African-American struggle, and to the layers, to the small layers, only through hip-hop. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I just want to pay it back. As-salāmu ʿalaykum. My name is Tamer Nafar. I’m a Palestinian hip-hop artist from the group DAM. I live in a city, Lod, it’s a Palestinian city inside of Israel. Hip-hop for me was like — It was my enterprise.
Honestly, it was like my enterprise. Every album. If I used to put Pac, then he
used to beam me up to the ghettos. If I used to put Bob Marley, he used to beam me up to Jamaica. I had to go to the west to come back and explore my eastern roots. That’s what hip-hop made me more aware of,
my situation, even though it was near me. I cannot just go and say Lod is the biggest drug market in the Middle East after hearing the complex rhymes and metaphors that Talib Kweli used to deliver in his “Quality” album and all these things. It kind of gave me a rough standard. I needed not just to go there and tell the truth, but also to follow a certain quality, a certain imagination,
a certain creation, be creative. I think that when commercial artists or commercial
rappers decide not to talk about political things, I think that decision is political. When you say, “I don’t want to discuss politics,”
you chose that for political reasons. So everything is political. We need every voice now. We’re really in a tough situation. When I say “we,” I’m talking we as Palestinians and we as hip-hoppers and we as minorities. We just need every voice now.

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