Every few years, a new genre takes over the music industry, and in 2020, rap and hip/hop
are all the rage. In Egypt, especially, the rap scene is trending at an all-time high, with a whole
new wave of young artists and rappers dominating the music game on radio stations. One of
these fresh faces gaining attention is Shahyn, a rapper who has been making music in his
hometown of Alexandria since 2008. eniGma’s Ezz Al-Turkey sat with the rapper to talk about
music, how he stays sane in a crazy world and his thoughts on possibly venturing into acting.
As a young high school student, Shahyn felt a calling to hip/hop. His mind was set on
creating music, even as his parents were against him making a career out of it. While admitting
that once he took the decision to pursue music, his school grades declined, Shahyn insists he had
no regrets. While music remained his great passion, he humored his parents and went on to study
Computer and Information Systems at the King Mariout Academy. Eventually, however, his
parents came around to the idea of having a career in music. “My mother and my late father were
actually stage actors, and that’s even how they met. But because of their own parents’
expectations, they quit their passion and led a conventional life instead. After I graduated from
school, my parents started paying more attention to my music and attending my concerts. They
realized how serious I was, and that’s when they became supportive. They insisted that I
continue chasing my dream and not give up like they had done,” explains Shahyn.
Shahyn was never into following the trend or doing the type of music that’s most-listened
to. He has a flair for experimenting with different sounds and genres that aren’t necessarily the
most popular in Egypt, and it seems like this has paid off in the long run. Now, more than ever in
Egypt, rap is dominating the music scene and the once underground Egyptian rappers have
become mainstream. Their music is streamed daily by the general public, not just by rap fans.
Shahyn admits that social media was a huge help in establishing the genre in Egypt, since before
that, underground rappers didn’t have a platform on which to share their music and reach crowds.
People didn’t know where to look for rap music in Egypt until platforms like Facebook came in
to save the day. “We used to sit at home and play around, making videos and deciding on what to
upload. Facebook wasn’t up yet so we used the website 4shareit. We uploaded the track and
people downloaded it directly without streaming. So that was how we started,” he recalls.
Eventually, the scene started to pick up, and what was once a dream for Shahyn, became
closer to reality. The rapper started to see a glimmer of hope that he could make it. Slowly but
surely, he started booking concerts and events at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and other cultural
centers. Although he describes them as ‘unentertaining’, he explains that they were still really
great opportunities for him to improve his live performing skills and gain new fans.