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Guest Feature: Elia Mssawir
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Guess what, y’all? We have brand new guest feature questions!!!!!
CUE THE AIRHORN!!!!!!
That’s right, friends! We are switching things up a little bit moving forward with some new musical questions for our guests each week. So be sure to check them out and pay extra attention!
P.S. It’s absolutely terrifying, infuriating, and sickening to see the LGBTQIA+ community in Lebanon be targeted and attacked. I stand wholeheartedly with the community and with people who just want to live and exist as themselves peacefully.
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Elia Mssawir!
Elia, a Lebanese music industry veteran, has worked with industry giants like Snoop Dogg and Tinie Tempah while also nurturing emerging Middle Eastern talents. He founded a UK-based music company, booked tours for Middle Eastern artists, and later established Big Beards Entertainment in the UAE. Elia’s exceptional contributions earned him the title of Entertainment Manager of the Year in 2019. He led the music for Expo 2020’s opening ceremony and launched GXR Records in 2022, where he currently serves as CEO. Elia’s journey showcases his passion, expertise, and dedication to talent development.
This is a dude who is out here changing the game in the emerging music scene in the Middle East and North Africa. Elia’s been at this for a long time, always willing to lend support and advice to anyone around him. So obviously we had to get Elia to come through for the newsletter and share some of his go-to music:
1. What song do you have on repeat right now?
Ever since the new NF album was released, this track has been a constant presence on my daily playlist. It provides me with the motivation to kickstart a "happy" day.
2. Tell me a song that makes you cry.
This one hits hard... It reminds me of my best friend who left us last year. Because of him, I began my career, and this was our favorite song.
3. What song reminds you of your childhood?
I wasn't much of a Nirvana listener, but the story is funny. When I was 10-11 years old, I used to run around the house singing "Rape Me" until my mom realized the meaning of the words - the rest is history, along with a flip flop on my back.
4. Name a song that you sing in the shower or in the car.
It's not just a song; it’s a late 90s anthem! It has been stuck in my head since its release and will remain so forever.
5. Tell me a song that everyone should listen to.
The way NF expresses himself through his lyrics is truly captivating and takes the art of music writing to another, more "complicated" level.
If you're into rap/metal, this song is simply the best! Every 30-40 seconds, the genre changes, transitioning from rap to metal. Be sure to watch the music video!
Big shout out to Elia for joining and sharing his song selections! All of Elia’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to follow Elia on Twitter and Instagram and keep up with all of his money moves!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
SEM! - BLUD77
Mennak Lellah - Klinsh featuring Riff
Denya Dwara - Kenza Blanka featuring Ktyb
Ya Ghazal - Dina El Wedidi
Dawsha - Hana Ghoneim
Khalas - Lil Baba featuring Abo El Anwar
El Rogola - G. Oka
3al Hady - Wezza featuring NOVO and Issa & Assouad
TOKO - Vargas
21 - Young Rz
El Khalta - 3ab3az
Fattaht - Jadal
Sawt El Madini - Adonis & Ghaliaa
Rayq - 404 Band
DJ 6/8 - Daffy
Social Life - Xena Elshazlii
Atubu - Rotana featuring Superposition
Fat L’Fout - Oualid featuring Tawsen
Maganeen - Wingii featuring FL EX and Shikago
Underdogz - Big Hass featuring Mosalem, Mared, R3, and Big Moe
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
El Rio - Loyal Lobos
Ojos Azules - Blessd featuring Peso Pluma and SOG
FERXXO 151 - Feid featuring ICON
Trofeo - Maluma featuring Yandel
Single Soon - Selena Gomez
SI TÚ ME LLAMAS - Yng Lvcas featuring Santa Fe Klan and Jowell y Randy
La Tortura - Judeline
AVENTURA - ZABDIEL featuring Ana Mena
Lovelove U - Kenia OS
Madrid - Paty B
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Boomerang - Jamila Woods
Show & Tell - Mick Jenkins featuring Freddie Gibbs
Truth Hurts - Katori Walker
Forever - Charlotte Day Wilson featuring Snoh Aalegra
On Form - Burna Boy
Moment Of Your Life - Brent Faiyaz featuring Coco Jones
Heaven - Mitski
Waiting - Korede Bello
Alright - Victoria Monét
Definition of Love - Naomi Sharon
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
'We are not afraid of them': LGBTQ+ community anger following attack - Raphaël Abdelnour, L’Orient Today
A source close to the "Soldiers of God" claimed responsibility for the attack on the Beirut bar where a drag show was taking place.
Four years into crisis, Lebanon’s leaders hope tourism boom will help bypass reforms in IMF bailout - Kareem Chehayeb, Associated Press
Lebanon’s political elites, masters at survival, are pushing for a recovery that would sidestep tough reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund.
‘The magician’: Riad Salameh and the plundering of Lebanon - Raya Jalabi, Financial Times
The rise and fall of the discredited central banker mirrors that of a country blighted by hubris, deceit and corruption.
Lebanon’s FIBA World Cup journey is about much more than basketball - Nadim El Kak, Al Jazeera
Basketball fans in crisis-hit Lebanon find much-needed joy and hope through the national team’s journey to this month’s FIBA World Cup.
An Arabic Adaptation of ‘Chicago’ Razzle Dazzles Lebanon - Sara Aridi, The New York Times
Reimagining the Broadway musical for audiences near Beirut meant new character names, choreography and lyrics.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
Medical exodus: Morocco's healthcare system bleeds medical professionals - AbdelMoumen Maho, Raseef22
Healthcare facilities and hospitals across Morocco are grappling with a substantial loss of doctors, nurses, and health technicians who are opting to emigrate to the West.
As Saied entrenches himself in power, police brutality grows in Tunisia - Simon Speakman Cordall, Al Jazeera
The sense that Tunisia’s police are now largely defining what is and what is not acceptable in public is growing, according to observers.
10 years after deadly chemical attack, Syria’s survivors seek justice - Joby Warrick, The Washington Post
The sarin-filled rockets that fell on suburban Damascus in August 2013 killed over 1,400 people. A mountain of evidence implicating Syria’s government continues to grow.
At least 500 Bahraini prisoners on hunger strike over conditions - Ruth Michaelson, The Guardian
Detainees at Jau prison that mainly houses prisoners of conscience began refusing food on 7 August.
The scale: The unexpected barrier to becoming a teacher in Egypt - Maryam Mohamad Abdullah, Raseef22
After excluding countless teachers from the assessment due to health conditions such as excess weight or pregnancy, many Egyptians argued that these conditions weren't stated beforehand and that such requirements contradict the constitution and education laws.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Meet KTYB, the Artist Breaking Tunisian Rap Norms - Amina Kaabi, GQ Middle East
You always have to bet on yourself to win. In Tunis, it’s the only way — especially if you’re from Kabaria.
Inside the Unmistakable Madness of Milwaukee’s Rap Scene - Alphonse Pierre, Pitchfork
In Wisconsin, an overlooked rap community is trying to navigate big dreams and harsh realities.
Shaq Is Dead Serious About Dubstep - Andre Gee, Rolling Stone
The NBA legend, a.k.a. DIESEL, a.k.a. 'Dubstep Dad,' talks about his new album and the rush he gets from collaborating with up-and-coming electronic artists.
“People Move Into Tribes”: How Myspace Revolutionized Social Media—and the Music Industry - Michael Tedder, The Ringer
An excerpt from Michael Tedder’s new book, ‘Top Eight: How Myspace Changed Music,’ about the website that changed music—and fandom—forever.
Olivia Rodrigo, Pop’s Brightest New Hope, Just May Be a Rock Star - Caryn Ganz, The New York Times
After the blockbuster success of her debut LP, “Sour,” and its smash “Drivers License,” the 20-year-old cranks up the volume and digs deep for its powerful follow-up, “Guts.”
📚 Other Reads 📚
The Burning of Maui - Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker
The governor called the fires Hawaii’s “largest natural disaster” ever. They would more accurately be labelled an “unnatural disaster.”
Ysabel Garcia knows the danger of a mental health crisis. She has a lifesaving message. - Anna Guaracao, The Boston Globe
The suicide rate has spiked in Latino communities in Massachusetts in recent years. Mental health advocates are showing more effective ways to help.
Why a stranger's hello can do more than just brighten your day - Rhitu Chatterjee, NPR
Researchers are exploring the impact of interactions with strangers and casual acquaintances. Their findings shed light on how seemingly fleeting conversations affect your happiness and well-being.
Maui’s Latino community contends with destruction, grief and immigration fears after fires - Isa Farfan, NBC News
Lahaina has long been home to a vibrant Latino community made up of Mexicans, Salvadorans, Hondurans and other immigrant groups.
The CD finds new life among Gen Z collectors - Zoe Glasser, The Washington Post
Buying discs is an affordable extension of fandom — and comes wrapped in a Y2K aesthetic.