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Chaabi Update!

In case anyone forgot, Afropop Worldwide ❤ electro chaabi. Lucky for us, there have been a few major developments in the EC world (or at least the ever increasing part of the EC world that makes it to Brooklyn).  SO- here’s our  Comprehensive Afropop Worldwide Electro Chaabi Update:

Islam Chipsy’s got a new record coming out on the Egyptian/Algerian record label Nashazphone. If there is a general consensus on what electro chaabi should sound like, then Chipsy has both become something of a figurehead for the style while managing to exist outside of its norms. Part of that is certainly due to the difficulty of his music- Chipsy is a keyboard virtuoso who has developed a technique so unique that it’s tempting to claim that he has pushed (or punished) his instrument into brand new terrain. Best yet, the record features EEK, Chipsy’s powerhouse percussion duo of Khaled Mando and Islam Tata. On stage, the drummers two trap kits straddle Chipsy’s keyboard as they hit harder, faster, and tighter than you’d believe. To see Chipsy shred a synth’s keys into a blur on his own is mesmerizing, but to watch the ensemble perform live for an audience is simply something else. The record’s out sometime in January, and Nashazphone is only pressing 500 copies, so we’ll be sure to get you more info on the release just as soon as we order a few dozen copies for ourselves the office.

Cairo Liberation Front made their name by curating killer cuts from the nascent genre on their top notch, expertly titled mixtapes. The Dutch DJ group are champions of the electro chaabi sound, having traveled around Egypt meeting its top practitioners and then distributing the cream of that crop to the rest of the world, working tirelessly to raise the young scene’s international profile. You can read all about their previous work in both our words and their own. Last week, CLF and Spain’s PlayGround Magazine released the Mashing Up Mahragranat mixtape, the group’s first foray into blending chaabi with contemporary Western music. Perhaps not as explosive as its Egyptian source material, but it is very interesting to see the chaabi sound begin to morph into something new and different.

And while it may be slightly harder to call this one news, Sadat and Alaa Fifty Cent put out a record on Generation Bass back in September (er, we were a little distracted at the time putting this whole gala deal together). Talking to the DJ’s behind CLF, Sadat and Alaa’s names just kept coming up, but that’s no surprise- they’re personal favorites of CLF, and therefore much more visible on the global stage than some of their contemporaries. Furthermore, these dudes (including their producer, Amr Haha) are making some serious music. Their sound exemplifies the hypnotic, propulsive, and surreal production style chaabi is known for. While a bit more single-minded than the wide-ranging mixes that we are used to hearing, it’s definitely exciting to see such notable names releasing full albums- now if we could only get them over here to tour!

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