TyMeLyNe Politics

Political Entertainment News Caused By The Government. A blog through, a Dj's eyes. Brought to you by my life...a work in progress production.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hip Hop In Iran

Hip Hop In Iran: "By Parinoosh Arami

Far from its roots in disfranchised U.S. ghettos, rap music is proving a big hit as a platform for social criticism in the Islamic Republic.

But Shahkar Binesh-Pajouh, Iran's bow-tie wearing dapper rapper would look somewhat out of the place in the Bronx.

Chart-topping Binesh-Pajouh, who targets unemployment, poverty and westernized Iranian girls in his new album, is a lecturer with a doctorate in urban planning whose poetry translations will hit the shelves soon.

'I chose rap because I can say many things with it, not because I live like a rapper,' said Binesh-Pajouh in his affluent north Tehran apartment.

He said it took four years for the Culture Ministry to approve a rap album and it did so only after he deleted six songs from his original 10.

'Iran's officials were reluctant to give permission to rap music because of its critical language,' he said.

Officials imposed a two-year ban on his live acts in 1999 after hard-line vigilantes broke up one of his concerts at a Tehran music festival.

Following Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution all but classical or religious music was banned.

Restrictions eased after the landslide victory of reformist President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites) in the 1997 elections.

The lyrics in Binesh-Pajouh's 'Eskenas' album focus on the malaise of poverty. Iran says 17 percent of the population live in poverty; analysts put the figure nearer 40 percent.

'No one is born a thief, but you cannot find a loaf of bread at night,' the 32-year old sings.

'Have you ever seen your child biting a watermelon skin from hunger in a slum?'

'Eskenas' is Persian for a banknote and"