Hip-Hop in Yemen

The Christian Science Monitor has an article posted January 4th about Hip-Hop being used as an alternative to Al Qaeda in Yemen. Hip-hop provides an outlet for Yemeni youths to express themselves and is a way for the hearts and minds to be swayed from Islamic extremism:

In Yemen’s staunchly traditional society, the main activities for young people are chewing khat, a mild narcotic, or going to mosques. Events like last week’s show hope to promote hip-hop culture as a healthy alternative and keep youths from being swept up into extremist ideas, say event organizers.

“[In Yemen] you have people who are trying to gain support among the youth for every sort of cause: Al Qaeda, Salafis.… We have to win the hearts and minds of the kids,” said one of the event organizers who wishes to remain anonymous because of his close ties with the Yemeni government.

“Yemen is hungry for hip-hop. When I first came here in 2003 you couldn’t find a rapper or a break dancer,” said Hagage Masaed, an American of Yemeni descent and self-described “Snoop Dogg” of Yemen who has been a centerpiece of hip-hop’s growth in the country.

“All the problems youth are facing in Yemen – there’s no work – this a way for them to release. It’s an outlet,” he said before the start of the show.

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