It’s a bold claim, but you read that title correctly: I am now officially a rapper. I’m in the process of recording a rap/R&B song and music video for my semester Arabic project with Luke, someone who (unlike me) has a lot of experience with music. Our song is called Tis3a Nisa2, which literally means “Nine Women,” and it’s about how I have to choose between nine women who want to marry me (if the theme sounds familiar, it’s because we basically stole it from the Gym Class Heroes song “Makeout Club”). We’ve written about three-quarters of Tis3a Nisa2 thus far with Luke singing the chorus and me rapping the verses, and I would say at this point that it’s pretty good. We already have about a minute of introductory “shoutouts” and two different siren sound effects; these are the perils of recording using exclusively a Skype headset and GarageBand. But the chorus is catchy and I have to admit, some of my verses are pretty sick (for a white kid, rapping, in Arabic). I’ll post the YouTube link as soon as we’re finished.
Anyway, we’re planning on recording some pivotal scenes for the music video in Egypt. I think the style of our video could best be described as what you would get if you shot the “Blame It on the Alcohol” video with a digital camera—lots of slow motion shots of club scenes and us blowing cigar smoke. I also want to bring in some local influences and include stock footage of the military and King Abdullah, but first I have to go buy a Zweina Baladna DVD and I haven’t been able to find a place that sells them yet. I don’t intend to spend too much time working on the video in Egypt though, just because it would be really stupid to spend any significant portion of my one week there video editing (plus, we already recruited Marty as director/principal filmographer). Still, if you happen to see a rap video in the near future that features two white kids rapping in front of the pyramids, then you heard about it here first.
That’s another thing: we’re going to Egypt tomorrow. It seems like we have a generally busy schedule with the group, but I intend to do some exploring of my own too during our down time. I want to get the most out of Egypt and right now it seems like the best way to do that is to not sleep too much. I think I can pull it off, too, since I’m pretty well rested and I’m not going to go too crazy tonight. I assume that in Egypt, like in any other Arab country, we’ll have ample opportunity to drink coffee at every meal, and if they have that extra-strong Turkish stuff then it could be game over for my sleep patterns. Cairo is also apparently the prime destination in the Arab world for nightlife and culture (much more so than Amman), so I think it’s generally understood that this trip is a giant tourist party masquerading as cross-cultural education. This isn’t necessarily bad, it just means I’m getting a tiny dose of what every other study abroad program (or at least the ones in Europe and Australia) is every week.
Finally, I threw up some photos from our trip to Jerash (an ancient Roman city that’s pretty well-preserved) last weekend on my Flickr page. There was a lot to photograph so I started fooling around with the panorama feature on my camera, and I wound up with some pretty cool shots. After Egypt I’m definitely going to use up my monthly upload quota though, so in order to save room I haven’t posted very many of the Jerash pictures—only the final panoramas. But they still look sweet, so you should check them out here.