The Egyptian rapper’s new album is a mature, frustrated cocktail of two sub-genres that clash into a cacophony of word and sound.
Emerging rapper Mousv Sam, who resides in the Egyptian city of Ismailia, sends out a career staple with the release of his new album El Sahaba, a finely polished project with a clear direction - aided through Mohaimen’s production - and telling a resonating message.
Continuing a conscious rap direction that developed in his previous album OV, in which he shows his passion for incorporating mental health issues into his lyrics, the new album adopts a more advanced form that is influenced by emo rap, which is especially pronounced on El Sahaba in its limpid inspiration from XXXTentacion. The doctor-to-be is a big believer in the spirituality of numbers, the view that numbers are never random, and that each has a meaning or a message. So listeners can trust that the specific order of the tracks is related to their corresponding number’s meaning.Overall, the album is a dark and spacey piece of work, and is not for the faint-hearted. The album kicks off with a warm introduction through a reverberated guitar riff which slowly fades into the opening song ‘Safina’. Over an organ that crosses the frequency spectrum before the entrance of trap percussion, Mousv Sam describes the rocky road and ‘waves’ he faces.
Following with ‘Estakoza’ and ‘Khabasa’, Mousv shows the emo elements of his rap, with the latter track taking the most aggressive form in the album. Through heavily distorted 808s and everything including his doubled vocals reverberated, Mousv doesn’t hide his emotion. Produced in a deliberately offbeat manner, the irregular groove and spooky keys maintain his dark focus.
The album takes a more lighthearted pause from the fifth track ‘Khamsa Fel Hedoue’. In it, Mousv channels his craving for inner peace and a sense of calm against the chaos of daily life.
The album’s allure can appeal to a wider identity of Egyptian youth in its frustration with the hecticness of daily life.
In the title track El Sahaba, he takes a different style from previous tracks, almost as if it symbolises the dispersal of clouds and a return of sunshine. With his natural voice as the vocals, it is a stark change from his distortion and vocal doubling, before the final three tracks maintain the lighter, warmer touch and focus on lifting the music’s energy. In the final song ‘Ghoyoum’, Mousv mixes dark and gloomy vocals with a softer beat to carefully conclude the album.
Filled with name-drops of the city’s places and problems, the album is one aimed at Ismailia. But the album’s allure can appeal to a wider identity of Egyptian youth in its frustration with the hecticness of daily life. Fusing conscious rap with emo rap produces an unfamiliar sounding project, but one which serves as a strong outfit in all its dark shades.