Born Kareem Dennis to an Iraqi mother and an English father, rapper Lowkey is among the most eloquent and outspoken resistance rappers of our time. Lowkey first started rapping at 12 years old, competing at open-mic sessions. He’s collaborated with other resistance rappers such as Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, Shadia Mansour, and Logic. After a brief hiatus to pursue his education, he returned in 2009 with his album, “Dear Listener”. His album went to No. 1 on the iTunes hoop-hop chart in the UK.
His lyrics deal with racism, classism, Islamophobia, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In February 2009, Lowkey travelled to the West Bank on a humanitarian mission towards rebuilding Gaza, but was detained for 9 hours by the Israeli Police. He was interrogated, searched, and had his passport confiscated:
“As soon as I stepped off the plane with my AA guide to Israel tucked under my arm, I was pulled away to the side and interrogated as to why I was in Israel, by a man who wore no uniform identifying himself as any type of security but was clearly heavily armed,” Lowkey explained.
“After this I carried on through to passport control. After giving over my British passport it was confiscated. I was then detained for nine hours. During this time I was interrogated about many aspects of my life, what the purpose of my trip was, where my parents are from and where I planned to go in Israel.
“Eventually I was told my story was a lie and was subjected to a bout of the Israeli polices paranoid mind games. I was eventually released, knowing that no matter how frustrating what I just went through was, I knew that it was not even a miniscule fraction of the degradation Palestinian people are subjected to on a daily basis.”
Later in 2009, he travelled with M-1 of Dead Prez to carry out a humanitarian aid mission and bring medical aid to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip; this led to a collaboration between the two on Soundtrack to the Struggle.
Lowkey was detained once again in July 2010, en route to a number of concerts and musical workshops in refugee camps in the West Bank. After detaining him for twelve hours and an online petition was started, he was released.
Lowkey is a prominent member of the Stop The War Coalition, staunchly opposing the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. He speaks against U.S. and U.K. foreign policy.
Fox News host Glenn Beck mocked Lowkey on his radio show, poking fun at the lyrics of his song “‘Terrorist?”, and recorded himself dancing to the song and showing gang signs in an effort to ridicule the content.
Lowkey has written for The Guardian, Ceasefire magazine, and has appeared on RT to discuss the Israeli occupation of Palestine.