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Guest Feature: Mazz
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I cannot believe we are already halfway through 2023! I hope everyone takes some time to reflect on the year so far and here’s to happiness, good health, and love for the rest of 2023.
Time truly flies!
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Mazz!
Mazz is a Jordan-based artist and producer dedicated to expanding the MENA region in the global music stage. With involvement in numerous singles, EPs, and albums, he’s collaborated with some of the region's finest creators. Mazz’s music fuses traditional Middle Eastern influences with global sounds, captivating listeners worldwide. With over 11 million views and streams, he leaves a lasting impact, showcasing the rich musical heritage of the MENA region to a global audience.
Y’all, Mazz is not just a hell of a creative, he’s also a hell of a person. I had the pleasure of connecting with him and he’s always incredibly supportive and pushing his musical boundaries further and further in such an innovative way. Mazz cares so much about the future of Arabic music and artists in the region, and his go-to songs reflect his immense love for his home, Jordan:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
Get ready for some shameless self-promotion as I introduce my latest release with the amazing artist Illiam, our latest song "Fifa". I treat my beats like my precious babies, and this one was no exception. It was an absolute blast infusing drill with Arabic percussion and flipping an Arabic sample to create the beat for this track. I'm thrilled that people are loving it so far and even putting it in their graduation ceremonies and parties. It was really refreshing for me as I am a big fan of both Arabic and drill music.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
Maaaan it's almost always going to be "Psycho" by Dave. The raw emotions conveyed in this track just amazes me how he fearlessly delves into a profound self-awareness, showcasing the intricate workings of his thoughts and feelings. With lyrics effortlessly transition from moments of unabashed confidence where he flexes his strengths and accomplishments and what he wants in life to poignant discussions about his mental well being, it covers everything he had in mind from the terrain of insecurities—only to ascend to the pinnacle of being the fearless greatest in a sense. This IS the song.. Dave is HIM.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
And again it's a song that I was the producer for butttt let me finish, it has to be the "Jordan Cypher" by Big Hass. This track holds immense significance for me, as I not only produced it but also had the honor of collaborating with Jordan's finest hip-hop artists. These artists have been a constant source of inspiration for me even before I started even considering making music. This track will always hit home because it reflects a lot of emotions and times that I went through in my life that these artists creations helped me go through.
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
This one goes to "Nonchalant" by 6LACK. This artist, to me, is the epitome of what it means to be a true creative. In this track, he exudes an aura of unshakable confidence and sheer “badassery” all without relying on an extensive vocal range. Instead, he masterfully crafts every single damn line with unmatched delivery as he navigates the highs and lows of his personal journey his demeanor becomes an integral part of his identity—a trait that resonates deeply with me.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
This goes to my brother El Faouri with his incredible track called "Shobbeek Lobbeek". Faouri possesses a powerful presence that is truly essential in the world of drill rap. What sets him apart is his unmatched uniqueness, the way he fearlessly incorporates the raw, gritty Jordanian Bedouin dialect into his music. This infusion adds an entirely new dimension to the genre, making it ten times more captivating for me. Whenever this song starts playing, you can bet that I'll be on my feet.
Big shout out to Mazz for joining and sharing his song selections! All of Mazz’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to check out Mazz on Instagram and Twitter and stream all of his music!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
lazim alshams - nabeel
Solo Squad - Hleem Taj Alser
Shabal - Jantra
Jayeb Khbari - RYM
IRAQ FOREVER - Narcy & Sandhill
Arbi Aalay - siilawy
Awanta - Wezza Montasser
Catch Your Drift - Kali-B
El Dunya Eh - Wegz
Ameen - Tamer Nafar featuring Yacoub AlAtrash
STEADY - Zahraa
Wili - Roukss featuring Yxng Le
S3ib - A.L.A.
CULTURE - Nadine El Roubi & Thanks Joey
Ghariba - NORDO
Mesket Edaya - Azwed
Heartbreak Fever - Mougleta & Besomorph
Next - Rima Youssef
Floos - Hala
Electro Chobi - Tribe of Monsters & Alnashea
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
I Try For You - Greeicy
CORAZÓN VACÍO - Maria Becerra
mañana - Tainy featuring The Marías and Young Miko
Copa Vacía - Shakira featuring Manuel Turizo
La Nena - Becky G featuring Gabito Ballesteros
KIKI - Myke Towers
Hora De Salir - Chencho Corleone
Rojo Rubí - Rompiendo La Cadera - Letón Pé
Yo Esperaré - Daniel & Me Estás Matando
TULUM - Peso Pluma featuring Grupo Frontera
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
Amaphutha - Nkosazana Daughter featuring Master KG, Lowsheen, and Murumba Pitch
Neighbourhood Hero - M24
vampire - Olivia Rodrigo
Girlfriend - Äyanna
On The Run - Kelela
Terrified - Juls featuring Ami Faku
Autumn in Paris - Kota the Friend featuring Braxton Cook
Tumbling Dice - Little Dragon
La Pio Pio - Mohbad
Real - AMARIA BB
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Rights organizations say Lebanon made no progress in enforcing anti-torture law - Sally Abou AlJoud, L’Orient Today
Lebanon's judiciary should "be on the front lines for protecting against torture in the country but it’s never been properly set up," Lama Fakih, Middle East and North Africa Director at HRW, told L'Orient Today.
Lebanon considers way to fight an invasive species ruining the pine nut harvest - Ruth Sherlock, NPR
Workers in Lebanon climb high up pine trees for a valuable export: pine nuts. But the important source of revenue is being choked off by an invasive pest.
The Bank Robbers Who Are Stealing Their Own Money - Ruth Michaelson, Bloomberg
Lebanon’s central bank has plunged the country into a financial crisis that’s left millions of depositors without access to their savings. Some are turning to extreme measures—and becoming folk heroes in the process.
Sumac, chickpeas and olive oil: How one food truck brings the taste of Lebanon to Colorado - Elaine Tassy, Colorado Public Radio
“Like I'm talking about okra, I'm talking about the lima beans with really big meats, chunk meats, tomato sauce,” recalled Halime, 57, a Lebanese transplant who now has a food truck. “We cook zucchini, we stuff zucchini, we stuff green pepper. We stuff eggplant. We do a lot of things. We pretty much cook every day.”
Nassim Haddad has seen his share of disaster and loss. At 79, he says of his philosophy: "I start again from the beginning. I start from zero. I [am not] afraid from anything."
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
What remains of New York's Little Syria? - Zeyn Joukhadar, The New Arab
Once a bustling congregation of Arabs in the heart of New York, the city's Syrian quarter has now all but vanished, save for a few relics. But what do these last remaining mementoes tell us about the community, and what can we learn from them?
Egyptian chefs are revolutionizing their cuisine — one meal at a time - Siobhán O’Grady, The Washington Post
Young chefs in Cairo are trying to reinvent the local food culture and expand the Egyptian palate, in part by bringing high-end cooking into customers’ homes.
Tunisia struggles to progress under cumbersome bureaucracy - Simon Speakman Cordall, Al Jazeera
Analysts say successive governments have opted to kick the can down the road rather than take serious action to address the issue.
Sudan braces for rainy season as humanitarian disaster looms - Darshan Dalal, The New Arab
Sudan's insecurity is set to deteriorate further with the onset of the rainy season. Having endured heightened clashes between Sudan's two warring generals, the Sudanese people must now find a way to survive the natural threat of rainfall.
‘How would you survive?’: Desperation grows in Iraq water crisis - Alannah Travers and Abdulrahman Zeyad, Al Jazeera
Parched communities, once displaced by the ravages of ISIL, can barely survive the decimation of their water supplies.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Elyanna Is Forging Her Own Path - Boutayna Chokrane, Rolling Stone
The Palestinian Chilean singer has created her unique sound by blending hypnotic cumbia rhythms, Arabic folk music, and Western pop.
Hollywood has stereotyped Arabs for decades. Is it finally changing? - Hannan Adely, NorthJersey.com
Hollywood has long depicted Middle Eastern and North African characters in simplistic and offensive ways, often as terrorists, informants, oil sheiks or women in need of saving. The portrayals are as old as Hollywood itself, but those narratives are finally starting to change and broaden with the emergence of new television programs showing them as richer characters with varied storylines.
Houston rapper Big Pokey's freestyling was the stuff of legend - Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle
Milton Powell, a member of DJ Screw’s Screwed Up Click, has died.
Is the song of the summer a thing of the past? - Justin Tinsley, Andscape
Summer anthems still exist, but much has changed in how we discuss them.
Netflix turns to South Korean writers and crews as Hollywood strikes. But they feel exploited too - Max Kim, Los Angeles Times
South Korean content is likely to become even more important to Netflix it seeks to weather the Hollywood writers’ strike. But many writers and producers in the country feel exploited by the streaming giant.
📚 Other Reads 📚
The Guardian view on unrest in France: the language of the unheard - Editorial Board, The Guardian
A police officer shot dead a teenager at point blank range. People want to know what will change.
How Review-Bombing Can Tank a Book Before It’s Published - Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris, The New York Times
The website Goodreads has become an essential avenue for building readership, but the same features that help generate excitement can also backfire.
The limits of therapy-speak - Allie Volpe, Vox
Why it’s so appealing to use pop psychology terms — and when to stop.
How Exxon Captured a Country Without Firing a Shot - Amy Westervelt, The Intercept
Guyana is poised to become Exxon’s top global oil producer. Where the company ends and the government begins is increasingly unclear.
Money, Sex and Rumors: Tanzania Faces Challenges to Protect Girls From HPV - Stephanie Nolen, The New York Times
Almost all cervical cancer deaths now occur in developing countries. Tanzania is trying to inoculate girls against the virus that causes the disease — nearly 20 years after rich countries began offering the shot.