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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Iraq2Chile (Martyrs of Hope)’ By Lowkey Featuring Mai Khalil

The following post was originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Songs.

Lowkey is a rapper and activist of English and Iraqi descent, who recently released “Soundtrack to the Struggle 2,” the long-awaited follow-up to his 2011 album, “Soundtrack to the Struggle.”

Part of the reason for Lowkey’s eight-year hiatus was his decision to focus on activism.

Lowkey recently released, “Iraq2Chile (Martyrs of Hope),” which features vocals from Mai Khalil. Both the video and song highlight the political upheaval and protests that have taken place in Iraq and Chile. It also provides historical context in how neoliberalism has led to these issues while celebrating those who sacrifice their lives for freedom.

Concerning his return to the music, Lowkey made the following statement in an interview for Vice: “First, I had to ask myself: what is my greatest tool to point out responsibility for things that are
happening in the world? I could always feel power operating over me, but I couldn’t always identify
where that power was situated.”

“Now that I understand that more clearly—understand that neoliberalism, the dominant economic philosophy of our time, leads to decisions being made on paper which cause huge numbers of deaths, I know my best medium to communicate with people it affects most is music.”

He continued, “There is a broader disenchantment with political orthodoxy than ever before right now. A process of widening democratic participation, of redistributing political power, and economic power, is happening. And if my greatest tool to participate in that process is music, I will use it.”

Lowkey’s music has always been political but his increased awareness that music is an important
extension of his activism has given Lowkey greater motivation to create new music. He plans to release a new album, “Soundtrack to the Struggle 3,” in 2020 (that will include “Iraq2Chile”).

Listen to “Iraq2Chile (Martyrs of Hope)” by Lowkey featuring Mai Khalil:


CJ Baker

CJ Baker

CJ Baker is a lifelong music fan and published writer. He recently started a website chronicling the historical developments of protest music: ongoinghistoryofprotestsongs.com, and can be found on Twitter @tunesofprotest