Palestinian rapper, singer team up on cover of Adele’s ‘Hello’

Kareem Ibrahim and Waheeb Nasan are Palestinian-American artists who teamed up on a cover of Adele’s hit single “Hello.” Their version of the song and the video they released has been viewed more than 90,000 times because of the powerful lyrics and great vocals from the duo.

Nasan and Ibrahim are both natives from Chicago who grew up in the same community and are now utilizing music to spread awareness about Palestinian. Palestine in America had a chance to interview Nasan and Ibrahim about making the remix and their passion for music.

Palestine in America (PiA): How did the idea of making a cover of Adele’s song come about?

Waheeb Nasan (WN): I really liked the original song by Adele. Her song was very well put together, as far as the meaning she was portraying. But I realized it could also have a powerful meaning for Palestine. Kareem was the perfect fit for the song, due to his amazing voice, MashAllah. It emphasizes the lyrics with pain and pride.

PiA: Have you always had a fascination with music?

WN: I’ve been writing music for five years now, and finally found a way to present it. Music is a powerful tool in our generation and can always be based on feelings and expressions.

Kareem Ibrahim (KI): I have always had a fascination with music but my fascination shifted within the last few years. I remember I would turn on the radio and constantly be disappointed with the messages that were being portrayed in mainstream music. I realized that the most important part of a song is the message that it gives. Music can be used to spread awareness about certain issues and spread positivity and that is the kind of music that I want to listen to for myself as well as the kind of music that I want to create. 

PiA: The song has become an Internet hit, did you expect it to get this much attention?

WN:To be honest, we were hoping it would get the attention it got, and that’s only for the right reasons. We just wanted everyone to not only hear, but to also understand what’s going on. We want it to spread across the world since Palestine is very unspoken about. We want the people that don’t know what’s happening to know what’s happening.

PiA: Do you think music can be used as an outlet to express resistance and give a voice to Palestinians living under occupation?

WN: I don’t know what will happen in the future, that’s in Allah’s hands. But I do know, that I was given a talent by God as a writer, or as a speaker. I want to take advantage of my talent and use it to spread the awareness and ask for peace, and love, for everyone across the world.

KI: I absolutely do believe that it can be used to give a voice for the Palestinian people. Music can easily grab people’s attention, especially through the internet and social media. It should be used as a tool for educating and opening people’s eyes about the current situation in Palestine. I think it is beneficial to take something that many people already love, such as Adele’s “Hello,” and turn it into something that can enlighten its listeners through its message. With today’s technology, it is much easier to spread awareness.

Carlos Khalil Guzman

Carlos Khalil Guzman is a photographer, writer and organizer based in NYC. He has been involved in Palestine solidarity organizing for the past 5 years primarily with Students for Justice in Palestine both locally and nationally. He is currently working on a photo essay that focuses on the growing and incredibly diverse Muslim communities in the United States.

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