Nour Rakha has an ear for subtlety. His newest single, Poet Turned Rapper, may sound like a standard piece of braggadocio, but there’s a lot to be unpacked.
The American-Egyptian rapper used to release music under the alias Tut the King, but as he beckons a new era of musical creation, Poet Turned Rapper sees Rakha releasing under his birth name with an impressively mature single.
There should be something for all hip-hop fans in Rakha’s cartoonish lyrics (Eminem), his chopped beats (MF DOOM), and his conversational flow (Del The Funky Homosapien). He’s perhaps not quite defined his own sound separate from these influences, but by all accounts, Poet Turned Rapper is a brilliant oddball hip hop track.
The beat is underpinned by a series of staccato-plucked synths with a neo-psychedelic flair. It’s the soundtrack to a twisted circus performance and Rakha is the unhinged ringmaster, conducting a cavalcade of chaos fuelled by marijuana.
His flows are more constrained but still have a wacky edge. It’s not the most technically proficient performance but his attitude and charisma abound.
Then finally Rakha’s lyrics – arrogantly self-aggrandising but in a way that calls back to hip-hop’s classic eras. Rakha delivers by striking the balance between confident and cocky in a series of confrontational but honest bars that thoughtfully document humanity’s ability to be as creative as it can be anodyne.