Egyptian officials have a long track record of repeatedly trying their best to mute the artists that make up the country’s budding rap scene. In the past, the North African country’s own syndicate of music was known for copiously angering citizens for cracking down on the slew of lyricists that sonically represent the Land of the Pharaohs in the region and on the global stage. The former head of the government body, Hany Shaker, repeatedly withheld, suspended, and even banned singers and songwriters from receiving permits to perform in public, frustrating a whole generation that finally felt like they were being seen, heard, and most importantly acknowledged.
As time goes by, things are slowly changing, especially since Shaker’s resignation in June of last year, which finally left more room for artists to live up to their full potential. Although Mostafa Kamel, Shaker’s successor, was quick to follow in his steps, with most cultural centers appearing to still be reluctant to invite some genres to showcase their depth, rappers still enjoy a level of popular appreciation that is almost unparalleled, with a status that is nearly comparable to the frenzy seen during Egypt’s golden age of music (read:1960s/70s).
By now, artists like Wegz, Marwan Moussa, and Afrototo are undeniable A-listers. And, despite some institutions wanting to turn a blind eye to their evident talent, others are jumping on the bandwagon by appearing in tune with the present-day youth culture all while updating their communication methods for it to cater to their targeted audience.
Last week, a picture showing an extract of an exam using Wegz lyrics, taken from one of his breakout hits, El Bakht, was quick to go viral across social media platforms. The question served to test students on their ability to identify certain literary devices. As it can be read in the head of the exercise, examinees were asked to provide two examples of a metaphor and a meronym from the Alexandrian-born singer’s opening two lines and hook.
hany shaker would probably fail the class 💀 pic.twitter.com/tepcJR3rwC
— MILLE WORLD (@mille_world) January 21, 2023
According to several outlets, the quiz was handed out to Aim Shams University students in Cairo, Egypt, however, no further information regarding context has transpired since its widespread on Twitter. The inclusion of the rapper’s bars was largely perceived as a recognition of his work, a celebration of homegrown talent, as well as an honorific accolade to Spotify’s most listened-to artist in the region.
The past 12 months for Wegz have to be some his best and most prolific to date. His performance at the closing ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has catapulted the 24-year-old to international fame, leaving his category of Egyptian MC behind, gaining regional, and potentially soon global, recognition. It goes without saying that Ain Shams’ shout-out is far from being the most prestigious distinction in Wegz’s career, however, from a symbolic perspective, the nod is a strong symbol of hope for the future of rap in Egypt, a culture that has traditionally been hesitant to embrace the genre.