Identity rap from Norwegian-Egyptian

October 28, 2009, [MD]

As I was walking home tonight, I listened to Migrapolis on my iPod. It's a Norwegian radio show about multiculture, identity and immigrants. Last week they interviewed the daughter of the "king of the gypsies" in Norway, who never went to school, and grew up to become a drug addict. Finally, she decided to kick the habit cold, and moved to Sri Lanka, where she staid for 15 years. Now she is back, and uses the strength she gained from buddhism to be able to acknowledge and value her own heritage, and work with gypsy (she says she prefers that word) communities to increase the opportunities of children.

That was last week, this week they talked to a number of people, but they also played a really neat rap song about children who feel trapped between two cultures. They are called Karpe Diem, and were established in 2000. The group consists of Magdi Omar Ytreeide Abdelmaguid, Chirag Rashmikant Patel og DJ Marius Thingvald. I ended up buying two CDs by them on iTunes store, which is my first music purchase from iTunes. But I figured I wanted to support them, and iTunes doesn't do DRM anymore, which was important to me.

To share them with you, I found the song that was played in the program, and I've embedded it below. I will also paste in the Norwegian lyrics, and translate them to English. Enjoy.

We determine who we are by what we look like. And when we look in the mirrors like this, we ask ourself a question: Who am I? Wo am I on this jurney called life? Who am I? I hope, that you haven't bought into the idea that you are what you look like, or your worth is determined by what your outwards appearance looks like. Or about what you do.

I hope, that you figured out by now, that if you lived you life that way, you would constibly be looking at you self, and be thinking "I am not good enough. I'm not tall enough. I'm not buff enough. I'm not pretty enough, I am not beautiful enough. I'm not anybody." Er både svart og hvit, er både glad og trist, er både fattig og rik, en dåre valkemist

Is both black and white, is both happy and sad, is both poor and rich, a fool valkemist

Er både ja til slå tilbake, og pasifist og. Du tror du kjenner meg, for du kanskje visste at jeg er både svart og hvitt, jeg er både glad og trist, jeg er både fattig og rik, en dåre valkemist. Er både ja til slå tilbake, og pasifist og. Du tror du kjenner meg, for du kanskje visste at:

Is both yes to hit back, and pacifist, and. You think you know, because maybe you knew that I am both black and white, I am both happy and sad, I am both poor and rich, a fool valkemist. Is both yes to hit back, and pacifist, and. You think you know me, because maybe you knew that:

han er halv norsk, han er halvt egypter Han går på fester, han er alltid nykter Han bor hos faren sin, han bor hos mamma Han spiser brunost, falefel og shawarma

he is half Norwegian, he is half Egyptian he goes to parties, he is always sober he lives with his father, he lives with mum he eats goatcheese, falafel and shawarma

Han bor i åsen, (Hei) han bor i blokk, (men) han kan arabisk, han snakker norsk Men han er brun, hei please; han er hvit! Han feirer jul, det er høytid når det er hit

He lives in the hill, (hi) he lives in a high-rise, (but) he speaks Arabic, he speaks Norwegian but he is brown, hey please, he is white! he celebrates Christmas, it's holiday when it's Eid

men han er rik, kom igjen a; han er fattig! Hei, han er hvit, nei, se på'n; han er svarting! han ser fordeler, og han ser ulemper Han er hva du sier, han veit hva du tenker Og her hjemme, kaller de han utlending og der borte, kaller de han utlending

but he is rich, now come on, he is poor! Hey, no he is white, no, look at him, he's a nigger! he sees advantages, and he sees disadvantages he is what you say, he knows what you think and here at home, they call him foreigner and over there, they call him foreigner

Men vi er enig om at vi blir fresh selv om identitet lett dreper med en strek mellom.**

But we agree that we become fresh, even if identity can easily kill by drawing a line between.


Stian Håklev October 28, 2009 Toronto, Canada
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