Thursday June 20th, 2024

The Boldest Masked Moments from MENA Artists: Ranked

Even with their faces partially or fully veiled, these artists use masks as a styling accessory and artistic expression of their raw styles and sounds.

Mai El Mokadem

In the world of music, image is just as important as the sound. But in the age of oversaturation, how can artists express themselves and stand out enough for their music to make noise? Enter the statement mask – a silent and subdued declaration of style and a dynamic prelude to the music itself. Rappers, producers and singers alike have taken it upon themselves to use masks as a symbol of self-expression and artistic creation, adding fashion to their syncopated equation.

Our curated list explores the MENA region's most striking masked looks, showcasing a unique collision of fashion and music, all infused with individualistic styling. Here, we unveil the artists who are not only shaping the soundscape, but also redefining the forgotten art of the mask.


Tul8te’s Crochet Mask | ‘Layalina’ Music Video

Tul8te's white wool mask showcases the power of minimalism. Its clean lines and monochromatic palette create a statement piece that leaves his music to speak for itself.


Abyusif’s Devil Mask | Bred Abu Dhabi ‘24 Performance

The Egyptian rapper transforms his stark white mask into a haunting visage. A pair of menacing horns, crafted from the same textured thread, crown the mask. Ruby red stitching, intentionally applied, bleeds across its length, mimicking the raw vulnerability of weeping eyes.


Turk’s Diamond ‘Turk’ Balaclava | Redbull Sada Soot ‘24 Concert

Turk certainly loves his masks. However, this one is the clear winner. A halo of glinting diamonds spell his name above the stark black of the balaclava, juxtaposing Turk’s signature, rugged style.


Rafiek Photographed by Eyad Essam

Red leather screams danger, and that’s the vibe Rafiek went for. A visceral declaration of anarchy, the tight-fitting material clings to his face, a second skin radiating a sense of potent power.


Arabian Panther’s Keffiyeh

The French-Lebanese artist chooses to let his music tell the stories, rather than his appearance. Opting for a black keffiyeh as his perpetual mask, he fades into the background, allowing the fictional character he's created to take centre stage and his call for humanity and resistance.


Snor’s Cow-Disco Mask | ‘Hkaya’ Music Video

This rapper sports a cow-print mask, a bold statement at odds with the dazzling disco-ball accents that flank it. Shunning the expected, the rapper breaks the mould with a mask crafted from plush white wool, offering a surprising contrast to his usual bravado. Yet, closer inspection reveals a glint of defiance– a constellation of rhinestones scattered across the surface, catching the light with each movement.


Thing’s Shakhalil Mask

In Saudi Arabia's burgeoning psychedelic rock scene, the masked drummer of the all-female band Seera, Thing, is one of the few audacious females who rocks a masked look. Always concealed by it, this mask is woven with yellow and red geometric shapes, decorated with ‘shakhalil’ for that extra oomph.


Sulisizer’s Steampunk Mask

The Egyptian producer takes the definition of anonymous wholeheartedly, shrouded behind his steampunk mask. The dust angel skull helmet forms the base, its intricate gears and rivets evoking a dystopian atmosphere reminiscent of his psychedelic music.


Tageel’s Paperclips Mask | ‘Kitab’ Album Photoshoot

Tageel didn’t just stop at a blood-red mask, dripping with crimson intrigue. He took it one step further; modifying the mask to precisely place and arrange silver pins. The glinting metal elevates the mask from disguise to a curated artistic expression of his personal musical sound.


Zahed Sultan’s Hindu Braided Mask | ‘Hindi Majnoon’ Photoshoot

The undisputed sovereign of the masked spectacle. His creativity manifests in a seemingly endless repertoire of cool masks, each one an art in its own right. But this particular mask deserves a crown. Inspired by Hindu culture that reflects his single, the mask features two braided ropes that snake out from the eyes, embellished with gold and silver adornments.