portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

imperialism & war

humvees grace a Baghdad neighborhood with american rap for Ramadan

courteous american soldiers in Iraq celebrate Ramadan
no wonder we have so many friends in Iraq:

September 19, 2008, 7:28 am
They Don't Give A ...
By Stephen Farrell

BAGHDAD Abu Nawas was a poet. So too, in his circle, is Lil' Jon.

The Baghdad highway named after Abu Nawas is on the East Side of the River Tigris. Lil' Jon has performed with the East Side Boyz.

No doubt it was poetic and East-Siderly considerations which prompted the crew of a convoy of armored Humvees to drive down Abu Nawas Street during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan blaring out the most spectacularly un-Ramadan rap music imaginable. Including some wholly un-fit-to-printable song title and lyrics even by the standards of that genre.

True, hearing amplified verses echoing from tinny loudspeakers is one of the defining experiences of life in the Middle East. Particularly during the Islamic holy month, a period of prayer, fasting and reflection.

However those verses usually emanate from a minaret, and are Islamic in origin.

Somewhat more rhythmic in delivery and explicit in content was the night-shattering burst of music which came rolling down the riverside highway on Thursday night a week ago, captured on an Iraqi's mobile phone camera.

The hour was 9 p.m., just after the iftar - the breaking of Ramadan fast - when many Iraqis are sleeping off the rigors of a hot, waterless, and foodless day and others are spending time with their families.

Even for native English speakers the lyrics were mercifully hard to discern off blast wall acoustics in a middle-class district of Baghdad.

However the song appears to rephrase crudely Rhett Butler's famous "I don't give a damn" parting line to Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone With The Wind.'

The track is from from Lil' Jon's 2002 album 'Kings of Crunk', featuring Mystikal and Krayzie Bone.

The chorus by what one reviewer has called the "boisterous Atlanta-based rappers" appears to consist primarily of repeated expressions of unconcern about an African American enjoying a night out at a club with young women who gossip while drinking premium brands of champagne.

Mr. Mystikal's second verse laments the unwed status of his maternal parent and the "huffing and puffing" of unsavory fellow musicians - perhaps or perhaps not referencing the nursery rhyme of the Big Bad Wolf and Three Little Pigs.

Mr. Bone's third verse was not heard.

The Humvees bore rear aerials and frontal attachments normally seen on American rather than Iraqi vehicles.

It was an unusual, although not unique moment.

A month ago similar Humvees blared out Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' and hip hop music, before the start of Ramadan. The soldiers' intent, whether protest, amusement or provocation, is not immediately apparent.

see the video here:

 http://baghdadbureau.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/19/they-dont-give-a/