Ahmad Yaseen, better known as Satti, is a Jordanian rapper and songwriter. After performing for over seven years he released earlier this year his debut album Aress El Shamal (The Groom of the North).
The name of the album is a wordplay taken from the city’s name Irbid which is called “Bride of the North”, his album is called The Groom of the North. It has now been over two decades since the hip hop movement started in the region – and even though many artists are not internationally known in the region, they are the lifeblood of the region’s hip hop scene. They are collaborating with each other, organizing live acts together and support the scene through their work.
“ I think the hip hop scene in the region started around eighteen years ago”, says Yaseen while thinking about the beginning of hip hop in Jordan. Ahmed Yaseen has recently released his debut album – which was met with a lot of obstacles and difficulties, but after years in the making, the debut album was finally released. Aress El Shamal consists of 19 Tracks, and involves many famous hip hop artists from Jordan and the region such as Damar, She’rab & Smokable and El-Far3i aka Tareq Abu Kwaik. Yaseen always wanted to do hip hop. While he is working as an assistant director – hip hop is what he wants to do.
The album Aress el Shamal is a transition for Satti, a transition not only leaving Irbid and coming to Amman – but the desire of leaving the country without actually leaving it. Satti doesn’t want to be characterized as a political artist.
“First and foremost I am an artist. In my first version of the album I had too many songs that were political, and I did not want to be confined into categories. When I started, I started to talk about politics. I did a lot of political tracks, and I spoke about everything. But at one point, I didn’t want to sound like a news anchor.”
While there are many hip hop artists that use their voice to express political discontents of their region, there are artists like Satti, who don’t want to be categorized solely as a political artist. He criticizes those artists who use hip hop without knowledge. “Knowledge is the most important aspect in the genre. You can’t perform hip hop if you don’t have knowledge”, says Satti. Furthermore, he says:
“I always say this, there is always a huge lack of knowledge. To me, knowledge is an important aspect of the culture. If you don’t have knowledge you can’t do hip hop. I am hip hop, the way I think, speak, dress.”
His lyrics are emphasizing how he sees the environment around him. While this album is about personal issues, which the whole generation share with minor differences, he doesn’t refrain from criticism of political issues.
The first song Blue is produced by long time actors in the scene – first Damar, aka Osama Abbas, who is an indie hip hop artist from Amman and like Satti he is affiliated with the Immortal Productions studio.
While Satti’s Aress El Shamal is a story about his transition and the desire to leave the country, the song Bedi Asafer is essential and an important track of the album, in which he talks about wanting to leave the country. Aress El Shamal is an important contribution to the hip hop genre in the region and is a deep analysis of Satti’s view on how he understands the society, and the issues surrounding the society.
The article was originally published with The Maghreb and Orient Courier.