Lowkey retires from hip-hop


A Palestinian protester, wearing a t-shirt bearing a portrait of Che Guevara, carries stones during clashes with Israeli troops outside Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 1, 2012.


Abbas Momani

This happened a couple weeks ago but I wanted to write about it anyway because I love this guy. And chances are, despite his global popularity, most Americans have no idea who Lowkey is.

Lowkey is a British rapper, born in London to an Iraqi mother and an English father. His real name is Kareem Dennis and to my eternal depression, Kareem has hung up the mic to go back to school.

I'm not going to say that school isn't important. It may well be. But I am certain that the music Lowkey has made since 2009 is important. If rap in the United States is credited with raising the social consiencence about violence and poverty in the America ghetto, Lowkey should take some credit for raising awareness of the plight of Palestinians and others across the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not to mention the hypocrisy of American foreign policy.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Lowkey represents a voice and an opinion rarely heard in the United States.

A hip-hop artist, of course, can have little impact on the public if he's no good. Lowkey is good, really good. Am I editorializing? I can't help it.

Here, see for yourself:

"I have the heart to say what all the other rappers aren't

Words like Iraq, Palestine - Afghanistan

The wars on, and you morons were all wrong

I call Obama a bomber

Cause those are your bombs"

While rhyming "Obama" with "bomber" is hardly groundbreaking, the message is, and it's one rarely attempted in pop culture. And so it goes unheard by most young people.

Anyway, whatever your politics, his music is worth exploring.

And I, for one, hope that after school, Lowkey makes more music.

Here's a live performance from Lowkey on BBC Radio. It's 10 minutes of amazing: