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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Typical American Rapper-Drawing on His Tough Guy Roots

So… you wanna be a rapper….
Bassam Khalaf is 21, an amateur rapper. He records and performs under the name “Arabic Assassin” Sometime just after the Independence Day holiday Khalaf lost his job as a baggage screener at the George (H.W.) Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.

Khalaf was born in the United States. He is of Palestinian heritage. In his words:
"Controversy sells...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."

I suppose his former employer, the Transportation Security Administration, thought his avocation
was counterproductive to their mission and his vocation.

His unreleased CD titled “Terror Alert”, according to news stories, features lyrics which describe the rapper flying airplanes into skyscrapers.

Khalaf, 21, was hired on Jan. 16 and fired July 7, according to a TSA termination letter that cited his "authorship of songs which applaud the efforts of the terrorists on September 11th, encourage and warn of future acts of terrorism by you, discuss at length and in grave and alarming detail various criminal acts you intend to commit, state your belief that the U.S. government should be overthrown, and finally warn that others will die on September 11, 2005." Khalaf, who was born in Houston and is of Palestinian descent, said working as a baggage screener was the best paying job he's ever had. He said he hoped to use any extra money he earned to produce his CD.

News stories told of how the regional Transportation Security Administration office in Dallas, checks criminal records before hiring screeners. The agency does not investigate what people do in their spare time.

"We have eyes and ears in the workplace," a spokeswoman said. "Once we discovered these Web sites, we fired him."

"I've been screening your bags for the past six months, and you don't even know it," said Khalaf, who also said he is not really a terrorist and his rhymes are exaggerations meant to gain publicity.

I visited his website to listen to his compositions. The writer uses the usual rappers devices, profanity, and posturing and plain talk. Khalaf has a nice flow, as they say in the world of rap. Khalaf’s way of keepin’ it real turned into something unreal. I wish him success.