Two Turkish rap songs and their video clips released early on Friday have become instant hits, attracting unrivaled attention for their commentary on Turkey’s ongoing political, social, and environmental problems.
Within 24 hours of their release on YouTube, the two videos had been viewed more than 11 million times.
Rapper Sarp Palan, known by his stage name “Saniser,” released “Susamam” (I cannot stay silent,) a 15-minute epic, recorded featuring 17 other Turkish rappers Flat, Ados, Hayki, Server Uraz, Beta, Tahribad-i Isyan, Sokrat St, Ozbi, Deniz Tekin, Sehabe, Yeis Sensura, Aspova, Defkhan, Aga B, Mirac, Mert Senel and Kamufle.
“Susamam” touches on Turkey’s greatest sources of problems, such as corruption, political oppression, normalization of violence, violence against women, and unplanned urbanization.
“I grew up apolitical, never voted, I spent my time thinking of holidays and debt. Then justice died, and until it touched me, I stayed quiet and became complicit. Now I am afraid to even tweet,” one rapper says in one verse regarding the law at “Susamam” clip.
“If they unjustly throw you in jail one night, you will not even find a journalist to make news about it. They are all locked up!” another rapper says.
Shortly after, Omer Sercan Ipekcioglu, stage name “Ezhel”, released “Olay” (event or incident) in which he sings repetitively and in slightly muffled tones that is the rapper’s trademark style.
Ezhel’s clip, a collection of fast-edited documentary footage, provides a swift display of recent events that have shaped the country in recent times, such as the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, the protesters killed in the nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, the mining accidents, and the bomb attacks.
“There is no reason not to be a psychopath – so steal. I have coins, you have wads of money,” Ezhel raps while the video zooms in on the presidential palace of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Susamam” was viewed on YouTube more than 8.5 million times, while “Olay” stood at more than 3 million views nearly 24 hours after their release.