Kamil Manqus album cover
Kamil Manqus



Muqata’a is the godfather of Palestinian hip-hop, one of the founding members of the seminal Ramallah Underground group. While most of his past albums have been closer to classic hip-hop, on Kamil Manqusn he gets more experimental, chopping and twisting old Arabic music with field recordings from everyday life in Palestine to create a record that feels nervous and unsettling. “Kamil Manqus” can be translated as “perfect imperfect,” and the theme of imperfections and glitches is central. “When our land is being taken away, our culture is muted. So it’s a way to try and disrupt that – being a glitch in the system is very important” Muqata’a said in a Guardian interview. He does a good job and contrasting those lush vintage samples with soulless bleeps and industrial noise, conjuring an image of an ancestral, rich culture that is being boxed in and canceled out by the mechanics of occupation — some of the field recordings are the sounds of metal gates being locked at Israeli checkpoints. But there is no self pity here: by instilling his productions with a deep sense of unease Muqata’a demands that life under occupation never become “normality.” Kamil Manqus is a powerful manifesto for resistance. 

Megan Iacobini de Fazio

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