Arab Rappers Are Landing in Jail for Lyrics -- Kind of Like American Rappers


No nation has a richer history of prosecuting hip hop than the genre's birth country does. From our perch in the U.S., the birthplace of hip hop and home of the First Amendment, the travails of hip-hop artists in the Middle East and North Africa may seem surprising, archaic, and far removed from anything we might experience here. But if the last three and a half decades have shown anything about hip hop, it's that the movement has rarely enjoyed the freedoms afforded to other forms of artistic expression.

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Copyright © 2013 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. This article first appeared in The Atlantic, July 2013.