Boomkat Product Review:
Killer rap electronics from Palestine, spotlighted for a vinyl edition beyond the Arab world by the ever on-it Hundebiss (Kelman Duran, Lil Ugly Mane, Primitive Art). It’s the work of lyricist and vocalist Shabjdeed and producer Al Nather, together operating as BLTNM. Delivered in Arabic and English, often (and intentionally) autotuned to ridiculous levels and offering a visceral critique of occupation, erasure and anxiety, their music has become ubiquitous in parts of the Arab world and fits in perfectly with Hundebiss’ pioneering, fwd remit.
Originally released via the pair's BLTNM collective based in Ramallah, Shabjeed & Al Nathar’s debut album introduces a singular style of rap on a record that has already been hailed as the region’s answer to ‘Illmatic’. But that comparison is really in the sense of the lyrics, which voice road-level concerns about life in Ramallah that evidently speak to his people as well as the wider Arab world, but the rhtyhms are bang up to-the-moment - no ‘90s pastiche - as journalist Tom Faber observes, “Al Nathar’s sleek productions pump out of car speakers in the Jordanian desert, and Shabjdeed’s raps tumble from the bars of Haifa” in his article entitled “If Israeli soldiers start shooting, we won’t stop the interview.”
‘Sindibad el Ward – سندباد الورد’ is already a cult classic in Ramallah and the region surrounding Palestine, and we can expect the mix of Shabjeed’s inimitable, drill-like clipped syllables matched by Al Nathar’s killer trills, wavy microtonal melody and glyding basslines to find heavy traction with rap watchers worldwide. Here’s waiting for a Headie One and Drake collab…