And Now Let Us Critique Al Qaeda's Hip Hop Singles

National security journalists don their music critic caps to assess artistic merit

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Wait, Al-Qaeda has a new hip hop album out? Well it's more like an EP. American-born Al Qaeda operative Omar Hammami (stage name Abu Mansoor al-Amriki) has released two new jihadist hip hop tracks called "Make Jihad With Me" and "Send Me a Cruise" (as in cruise missile). Perhaps even more amusing than the recordings themselves—which are amateurish and reverb-heavy—is observing national security journalists don their music critic caps and assess the tracks' aesthetic merits.
Winner for the most staid assessment goes to ABC News' Jason Ryan and Mark Schone who describe Hammami's voice as a "deep Barry White growl" that's "recorded in a style more muzzein than gangsta." Over at Wired, Adam Rawnsley eviscerates Hammami's vocal chops saying he "sounds more like Somalia’s Vanilla Ice, mumbling his way through hokey lyrics with too many syllables inartfullly crammed into too few beats." Offering some constructive criticism, Jefff Schogol at Stars and Stripes, a quasi-independent newspaper for the military, gives Hammami some pointers:
1. Wear your pants backward. It worked for Kriss Kross.
2. Gain street cred by getting shot. Then you will be a “thug.”
3. If you’re going to write about getting booty, listen to Nate Dogg to see how it’s done.
4. Come up with a catchy album name like, “The Boyz in Jihad.”
5. If you’re still around and really want to get taken out by a cruise missile, e-mail us your location. We know people who can make it happen.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.