Rhyme and punishment: Drake's mistranslated Arabic rap lyrics prompt jokes, memes and praise

Rhyme and punishment: Drake's mistranslated Arabic rap lyrics prompt jokes, memes and praise
Drake delved into London's music scene once more with a new freestyle track that saw his Arab fans quickly take notice.
2 min read
21 July, 2020
Drake rapped in Arabic [Getty]
Drake has caught Arab fans’ attention after he appeared on a track with London-based rapper Headie One and dropped some lyrics – in Arabic.

The Canadian musician, who has already sampled UK’s Grime scene with the likes of Skepta and Giggs, connected with the North London star on his track “One You Freestyle”.

The song dropped on Tuesday along with a music video, and to the delight (and shock) of Arab-speaking fans across the world, Drake tried his hand at Arabic.

One of his lyrics reads:

“Arabic ting told me that I look like Youssef, look like Hamza Habibti please, ana akeed, inti w ana ahla”.

The words translate to “My love, I’m certain you and I look better together”.

Reactions to his linguist foray into Arabic were mixed.

“LMAAAOOOO Drake went Arabic this time”, one Twitter user wrote, while another added: “I just know that Dj Khaled was the one that taught Drake Arabic Loudly crying face”.

Others questioned his pronunciation.

“I am f***ing dead, please observe notes rapper Drake trying to rap in Arabic and, as most English as first language speakers, being unable to pronounce the ‘hh’ sound pronounces it ‘kh’ which in turns ‘ahla’ to ‘akhra’ and now the lyric says ‘baby you and I are the s***iest”, another Twitter user wrote, saying that he pronounced the sounds incorrectly.

For many, his Arabic was a source of humour. “Drake out here collecting ethnicities like infinity stones, who tf taught him how to speak Arabic,” one Twitter user joked.

Other fans enjoyed his Arabic, questionable pronunciation and all.

American-Iraqi YouTube star FaZeRug wrote: “Drake speaking Arabic in his latest freestyle tho.”

This comes after Drake joined DJ Khaled earlier this week on a pair of new songs in which he raps in French.

The “Hotline Bling” rapper in 2015 took to Instagram and, during a visit to Dubai, said he looked like Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum and joked that he was his “long lost brother”.

The 33-year-old rapper has a penchant for using Arabic in his songs, and rapped “This is a blessing mashallah wallahi” in the remix of his song “Sweeterman”.

You can listen to the track, which features the Arabic at 0.40 seconds in, below:

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