Friday, July 15, 2005


All in all, Bassam Khalaf sounds like a rap Marilyn Manson - in other words, a bit of a prat who covers his scanty musical talent by using some fairly lame shock tactics. In Khalaf's case, he raps as the Arabic Assassin - all threats to fly planes into buildings and being equipped with bombs. So far, so thick. Trouble is, he was also working as a baggage handler at Dallas Airport.

And like Marilyn, now he's been caught out, he's backpedaling furiously:

"I kept my music and my job separate. I told a couple of people who I thought was cool with me at work that I rapped, but I never sat there and told them lyrics or anything," said Khalaf. "I guess somebody probably told them that I had a Web site."

Khalaf said his terrorist-themed rhymes are more about marketing. He called his songs art and pointed to other rappers who have rhymed about terrorism. He specifically cites Eminem's song, "My Dad's Gone Crazy," which discusses blowing everything on the map up except Afghanistan and says: "There's no tower too high, no plane that I can't learn how to fly."

"Controversy sells," Khalaf said. "It brings a lot of attention. Everybody wants to label all Arabics terrorists just because a couple of people messed up. Well, I'm going to play along with that character. I'm going to let you think I'm one."

And we're sure that all other Americans with Arabic heritage will be really thrilled that he's playing up to tinder-dry stereotypes as a "marketing campaign". The question is not how they had someone rapping about flying planes into buildings working as a baggage screener, but how they gave someone so stupid the job in the first place.