Rapper Drake is known to shop around for different accents and languages for his songs — and his latest victim has been the Arabic language.
On his new Headie One collaboration ‘Only You Freestyle’, which dropped on July 20, the Canadian rapper makes an attempt to spit bars in Arabic, but mispronounces a couple of his words, introducing the “kh” sound into words where it does not belong.
“Arabic ting told me I look like Youssef, look like Hamza. Habibti please, ana akeed, inti w ana ahla,” sings Drake.
The Arabic portion roughly translates to: “My love, please, I’m sure, you and I are better.”
The rapper then drops a reference to Palestine, rapping: “With Pop Skull in Gaza but not that Gaza, but still it’s a mazza.”
According to lyric decoding website Genius, the rapper is referring to Jamaican artist Popcaan, signed to his label OVO Sound, whose nickname is Pop Skull.
Meanwhile, Gaza can be slang for a southern city in Jamaica called Portmore. It also refers to a movement that started with Jamaican DJ Vybz Kartel, which features artists such as Popcaan.
Drake is no stranger to the Middle East. He performed a sold-out show in Dubai in 2015. He previously sang “It’s all Habibis ting, ya?” in his song ‘Portland’, and sang on ‘Free Smoke’: “I wanna move to Dubai, so I don’t never have to kick it with none of you guys.”
The memes and reactions quickly rolled in. One user wrote: “Drake went from Greece to Palestine in one week.”
Another speculated that DJ Khaled, originally Palestinian, was the one to teach Drake Arabic; their tweet included a video of Khaled mispronouncing baklava.