The release of this mixtape came as a surprise to me. Arabian Knightz did not make any official statement in regards to releasing it, or even regarding working on a mixtape for that matter, up until two weeks prior to the release date. And indeed the mixtape, “Desert Saga Vol 1” , was released by the end of 2008, on the 25th of December to be precise.
I think that Arabian Knightz had many reasons for which they decided to make this mixtape; inter alia, AK intended to keep in touch with the hip-hop scene and maintain constant presence. Another reason might be wanting to provide the ever starving fans with something to taste and digest until the release of AK’s long awaited album, “Unknighted States of Arabia”. Another intention behind the release may be supporting local rappers within the Egyptian hip hop scene like Wighit Nazar and Mc Amin. And I think Amin was the one who profited the most from releasing this mixtape as he proved his mastery and skillfulness, and he added a special flavor to the mixtape. I feel like it’s even safe to say that Mc Amin shines brighter than AK themselves on this mixtape especially with him being featured on more than half of the tracks.
Despite the slightly low sound quality, the quality’s still plausible. The track themes vary from love and betrayal as seen in “Edeeny” and “Betrayl”, to political subjects like in “Electric Chair”, social subjects as in “Ghaza” and religious ones like in “La Ilaha Illa Allah”; and there are several bragging tracks as well.
We shall go over the hot tracks on the mixtape, and one of which is “Da Knightz”, the first song after the intro. If you don’t care much for Sphinx’s, Hoss’ and Rush’s lyrics, you will probably be impressed by the beat. And if it weren’t for the drum sounds (Tabla) in the chorus the beat would have been PERFECT. It should be noted that the Alladinish beat is by Palestinian rapper and producer Rami GB.
Next is “The one” by E Money, Rush, Mc Amin and Sphinx. Each of whom does a perfect job rocking this song. Tuning in to Amin’s verse on this track is a must! I should add that the tight beat is by Nimrod (a producer of whom I have not heard before, my guess is he’s not an Arab).
Next is “Electric Chair”, featuring the same bunch from the previous track, and produced by Nimrod as well. I personally enjoy this style, and to give you a hint of what I’m talking about I’ll suggest that you listen to Sphinx’s verse and I’ll leave it at that.
Now we address “Efham Rakkez Esma3”, which I consider to be one of the most distinguished tracks on the mixtape. Mc Amin, E Money, Yasser of Wighit Nazar and Gad of Asfalt all rap proficiently on this track, and both Mc Amin and E Money are just too hot to come close to in terms of flow. Both rappers are distinctive throughout the mixtape’s tracks especially in “Efham Rakkez Esma3”, “Follow me” and “Wa7ed”.
Spectacular and smooth beats were manifestly chosen for this mixtape… beats that represent real hip-hop at its best. But, unfortunately for Arabian Knightz, a lot of those beats aren’t their own. The beat for “Efham Rakkez Esma3” for example is actually Necro’s, and the one used in “Follow Me” belongs to an American rapper named Ahmad.
In the end, a couple of small notes should be added: Rush’s voice can be annoying in some tones, but not as much as that of 4Fifth. Also, Iron Curtain produced two tracks for this album, but I think that he is somewhat overrated. And finally, the artwork for the Mixtape is really incredible; Solo (the cover designer) is obviously very gifted.
The mixtape includes a lot of great tracks, and is certainly worth more than 6 lousy bucks.
Arabic Hip Hop Headz