Review - Stereotypes Inc.

Artist: Euphrates

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Over the last several years, the international culture of hip-hop has given us new flavors: Brit-hop (Roots Manuva, Dizzee Rascal), French (MC Solaar, DJ Cam), Swedish (Freddie Cruger, aka Red Astaire), German (Fette's Brot) and even Chinese (Ruff Ryders' Jin). But nothing has prepared us for what's coming up next: Arabic hip-hop. If you thought Public Enemy was angry at The Man, you haven't heard anything until you've heard what Euphrates has to say.

A three-man crew hailing from Montreal, Canada, Euphrates has taken the music-as-a-political-platform formula and appropriated it to help educate the rest of the world that Muslims "are not simply rag-heads," says frontman and MC Jamal Abdul Narcel (also known as The Narcicyst) in an e-mail. Formed in 1999, the crew is on a mission to debunk the false stereotypes that the American news media perpetuate. "We are a civilization that is older than this [Western] one, we are one of the birthplaces of civilization … we created math! Not the Greeks! … We should all come together under the universal flag of hip-hop and make a difference."

Not only does Jamal have sharp lyrical content – lines as trenchant as "Burning Bridges"' "Hoping Islam/won't be misused again and bamboozled like/Kofi Annan/stroking a bomb/See, you tend/to serve no purpose like the UN/Treaties to end beef between Muslim and Jew men" fly throughout the disc – but the dizzying flow and beat production reminiscent of the Rhymesayers crew (Slug/Atmosphere, et al) makes Stereotypes Inc. a work that's both politically and musically inspiring.

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