Artivist rapper Lowkey returns to the stage

Artivist rapper Lowkey returns to the stage
Blog: Taking the power of hiphop to speak as a global citizen against injustice.
3 min read
26 Sep, 2016
Lowkey is known as 'artivist' for being an original anti-establishment artist [Facebook]

British-Iraqi rapper and political activist Lowkey is back.

After a four-year break from the stage, the engaged hip-hop artist finally announced his long-awaited return to the music scene this summer. This September, he has been touring the UK, presenting some amazing new work, alongside well-known songs from his acclaimed back catalogue.

Since his comeback announcement, Lowkey has released Ahmed, a powerful new single - accompanied by a moving video- in which he addresses the refugee crisis, denouncing the death of innocent people who drown in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to escape the war and horror destroying their homeland in the Middle East.

In particular, the song recalls the death of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old whose drowning shocked the world. Through his sound lyrics and smooth flow, Lowkey calls for greater humanity in our collective response to this crisis.

New engaged songs

Lowkey has also announced the release of two more new songs: Children of Diaspora and Heroes of Human History.

Check out Lowkey's latest track, Ahmed [GlobalFaction]

In the first, he rhymes: "Lost in a city of fog rarely seen by the sun/Just because you're both but neither doesn't mean that you're none."

In Heroes he reminds us of the significant contribution Arabs have made to the history of humanity, stressing "civilisations build on each other not each to their own", sending a message of hope to the Arab world: "your future's bigger than the pain of your present and your past, just shine".

Born in London, where he began to rap at the age of 12, Lowkey got noticed after putting out a series of mixtapes.

With the release of his first album, 2009's Dear Listener, he won broader coverage and appeared at concerts and festivals across the UK, going on to tour the world. In 2011, he released his second solo album Soundtrack to the Struggle.

Lowkey made a mark taking brave stands. In songs such as Tears to Laughter and Long Live Palestine, he condemned the occupation Palestinians are suffering under daily. In Terrorist? and Obama nation, he criticised America's imperialist foreign policy.

A true 'artivist'

What's more, Lowkey not only uses his songs to speak out about political issues that personally matter to him, he takes action to advance the causes he stands for.

He has participated in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and joined the Stop the War Coalition against the invasion of Iraq.

Lowkey is both a sharp rapper and an anti-establishment spokesperson - in short, an artivist. He uses the power of hiphop to speak as a world citizen for all the voiceless around the globe suffering from injustice, while fiercely condemning the neo-liberal capitalist order.

This is precisely why he has been so missed in the past few years. And this is why his fans across the UK were so enthused about his latest tour, while fans from all over the world are urging him to visit their countries to perform his songs, some of which have become international anthems for freedom.

Dr. Amina Boubia is a research associate affiliated with the Centre for International Studies (CERI)/SciencesPo Paris. Follow her on Twitter: @AminaBoubia