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How Mohamed Fouad First Defined the ‘Egyptian Cool Kid’ With ‘Kamanana’

How Mohamed Fouad First Defined the ‘Egyptian Cool Kid’ With ‘Kamanana’

‘Kamanana’ cover art. 1997.

It can sometimes take a while — a decade or two — before we can look back and remember an  artist and see how much they defined a certain period.

Mohamed Fouad is the kind of artist whose name is often not heard or is on everyone’s lips, but his music – nevertheless – reflected quite perfectly the period he was in.

The 90s were a great time to be young. Technology, oversized jeans and popular culture were just thriving in Egypt as everywhere else, and there was no other way to define it than with a poppy song that talked about being the ‘cool kid’ – Kamanana

Though it faced criticism from other critics and journalists for its frivolous flair, the 1997 hit gained huge commercial success for its fresh, modern and upbeat sound. For the most part, it included lyrics referenced the ways of life of youth and their own way of conversing that was incomprehensible to others, using made-up words like ‘Kamanana’  and ‘Akatsh’. 

The most popular line was “And buy a satellite, mobile and a Cuban car,” which referred to the lifestyles of the middle and upper class youth that were more exposed to technology and foreign brands.

Antar Helal, the Egyptian poet and lyricist behind the song, said that the inspiration for the song came from the characters in the film “Ismailia Rayeh Gay” (1997) starring Mohamed Fouad and Mohamed Henedy, who would later achieve huge fame following the song and film’s popularity. Essentially, he wanted to reflect the neighborhoods these two characters came from and their different way in speaking.

Here is a look back to the 1997 timeless hit:

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