Reupped at a reader's request here. I have seen the future and it is Abou El Leef. I say this not because the poster for his 2012 hit album Super Leefa is plastered in every other shopfront window along Steinway Street from Astoria Boulevard to 30th Ave. Nor because one now hears his music more often than Hakim's scratching its way out of early February frozen halal cart speakers as one makes one's way to his or her meaningless midtown temp assignment. No. I say this because Abou El Leef's music sounds like what happens when one's culture's pop music has exhausted every possible trope, has stumbled blindly down every possible dead-end alley, but refuses to give up, refuses to lie down, refuses to become irrelevant, refuses to die. I say this because there is not a single music video by Abou El Leef online, anywhere, and yet there is not a single Egyptian who does not have an opinion--positive or negative--about what he does. I say this because Abou El Leef is, simply, the future.
Soon after I moved to New York City in 1997 I began to notice that bodegas run by people from around the world sometimes stocked CDs and DVDs of music and film from the countries they had come from.
The music I've collected from these bodegas can almost never be found in the "World Music" sections of the few remaining places to buy CDs in the U.S.; nor, for that matter on iTunes (or cheapo MP3 sites like Soundike).
If you are an artist or publisher and do not want your music here, just let me know and I'll remove it.