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Rising Egyptian-Palestinian Artist Ma-Beyn Answers 8 Rapid Fire Questions Over Whatsapp

Get to know the artist in between many worlds

It’s difficult to describe Ma-Beyn as simply a rapper. The Egyptian-Palestinian musician is an embodiment of the word “artist,” living between multiple creative realms. “I live through my creativity,” as the artist tells it.

Mariam Ramy AKA Ma-Beyn refuses to put herself in a box. Devoid of any formulas, or rigid branding, the up-and-coming star is constantly growing. “I don’t want to make music in one space or for one audience,” she says. “I want to be ever evolving and changing.”

The 25 year-old’s journey with music began four-years-ago in a flat in Leeds, as her and her best friend pursued creative degrees, with Ma-Beyn studying Fine Arts and Philosophy, and her friend Hoda choosing to major in music composition. However, as they each took an interest in the other’s degree, a creative enterprise ensued, creating room for experimentation.

Although the Option singer grew up in a music-loving family, her time spent experimenting in that flat in Leeds struck a musical chord within her that continues to manifest its way into the musician’s life. Her passion for music culminated during one holiday back in Cairo, where she decided to commit to taking 25 piano lessons in 30 days. After a month of intensive training, she had acquired the basic yet necessary skills needed to go back to Leeds and delve in and explore her musical capabilities. 

Photographer: Zeinab El Tawil

After she mastered her majors and minors, fifths and sixths, she decided to fully immerse herself in her musical journey. First, she started writing in English, but that quickly changed as her sense of identity became clearer, proving to be just one of the many forces behind her music. “When I went to the UK, I felt more connected to my Arab identity, ironically,” she explained. “I had a romanticized idea of the west, then I realized that there’s so much beauty to explore within my own heritage, and that’s what I committed to doing visually and sonically for most of my time in the UK” she continued. 

An aspect of university that many can relate to, the artist reveals that she had discovered a newfound appreciation for her Arab roots, culture, Egypt, and all of its small quirks, mahaba, the people, and the warmth. “I need to express my Arabic identity wholeheartedly so I have to be writing in Arabic If I’m going to be a musician,” she decided.

It’s hard to believe that Ma-Beyn, who confidently, swiftly, and smoothly jumps on an eclectic beat with bars we can’t help but agree with in her latest release, Malahy, featuring Solty and Sudma, wasn’t always interested in hip-hop. “I hadn’t even thought about rap at all, I was just writing songs,” she revealed.   

Photographer: Zeinab El Tawil

However, when she went back to Egypt after completing her studies, the rap scene was at its peak, with artists like Marwan Moussa, Marwan Pablo, and Abyusif on the rise. “The new wave of artists spoke to the contemporary Arabic identity,”  said Ma-Beyn.  “Our generation consists of a confused mix of rebellious and adventurous individuals, and the genre spoke perfectly to that because of colonization and globalization and exposure to so much around us, and I wanted to contribute to that,” she continued.

“(My music) was shite in the beginning,” recalls the artist. “I had a very limited ability to manipulate and play with the beautiful Arabic language that has so much range in comparison to English” muses the artist.

Her musical influences like her, fall between a plethora of worlds, ranging from funk, disco, heavy metal, techno, drum and bass, garage, alternative rock, afro, classical music and old Arabic music from icons like Soad Hosni, Majida El-Roumi, Ziad Rahbani, and Mohamed Mounir. Artists like Tyler The Creator, MF Doom, Mos Def, and Kendrick Lamar, among others, have also helped shape her musical identity. “I’m very inspired by Little Simz,” reveals Ma-Beyn. “She is the most interesting female rapper in the mainstream world. I think she’s brilliant, and very diverse with her flows,” she continued.  

In addition to different genres and artists, the rapper also draws inspiration from her environment.  “When I’m walking in the streets, at home, or at work, when I’m talking to people; I’m always picking up scenarios. So as I stroll through life, I’ll pick up words, be inspired by street signs, situations, and phrases and write them down in my notes and then a week later, when I have time to write, I’ll open my notes app and take one sentence that would be the root of everything that follows,” she says of her creative process. 

Photographer: Zeinab El Tawil

Another technique she uses to derive dexterous bars is a simple freestyling exercise with her friend Tarzy, a lyricist that has greatly influenced Ma-Beyn’s writing. “We’ll look at stuff happening around us and think of bars on the spot, they sound whack at first but then genius happens” Ma-Beyn shares. 

Apart from being a musician, the 25-year-old plays an important role in the burgeoning contemporary arts scene in Cairo. The one-to-watch runs her own business, Cocoon Cultural Centre, which is essentially a safe-space for up-and-coming artists as well as anyone looking to let their creativity flow. “After I graduated from university, I co-founded what was initially a gallery space alongside my mom Nihal Soliman and our good friend Mona Emam. We aimed to showcase artwork by rising artists alongside renowned names to bridge the gap between them and break the cycle of galleries excluding young artists. It’s something I struggled with when I came back to Egypt after my studies. I would send my work to galleries but I always got rejected. I know I wasn’t good enough and I was fresh, but it’s important to support people and have spaces where we facilitate room for up-and-coming artists and give them that first push.” 

The business started off with a focus on exhibitions & workshops for artists, but has now ventured into a space of creative events, retreats, workshops, and exhibitions surrounding visual arts, sound, movement, and writing. 

With a scene that has so much momentum and so much newness, as the rapper would put it, she aims to take her musical reach all around the Arab world, and collaborate with musicians from all sorts of subcultures and backgrounds within the region. “I want to travel with my music, I want to make impactful music that people can relate to and feel empowered by. I want to take part in the conversation, I want to be criticized, I want to think about what the impact of my music is and find the spaces where it can make people feel less alone and more connected. I want my music to have an impact,” “I want to be an authentic contributor to the Arab arts scene.”. 

There is no doubt, Ma-Beyn is well on her way there. Her music speaks closely to who she is, never succumbing to any scene—- she stays true to her roots, to who she is, to the Arab world and its creative scene, and better yet, to what it means to be an all encompassing genuine artist. Ma-Beyn is certainly one to watch. 

Photographer: Zeinab El Tawil

Below, we asked the artist some rapid fire questions over a series of voice notes on Whatsapp to get to know her a bit better. 

What are the three tracks you love? 

Ritalin by Synaptik 

Sweet/I thought you wanted to dance by Tyler the Creator

Eshta ya zmks by Hady Moamer

Namecheck your top three artists. 

Logical Da9ud, Shabjdeed and Sabine Salamé.

What was the first concert you’ve ever been to? 

Shakira at the Pyramids 2007. Unreal stage presence. 

If you could include your music into a movie or series soundtrack, which would you pick? 

I would love to feature my music on AlRawabi School for Girls.

What’s your dream music collab?

Maurice Luca or Shabjdeed.  

If you could go back in time, which musical era do you wish to be a part of?

I would definitely go back to the ‘60s or ‘70s and be in Egypt. 

What’s your happy place?


I had a teacher that used to always ask me, “what color are you listening to?” What shade do you think your music is? 


Exclusive photos by Zeinab El Tawil on the set of the music video for Ma-Beyn’s upcoming garage track, ‘Garage El Qahera’. 


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