After a year since his last release, Palestinian Algerian artist, Saint Levant, has dropped his newest album DEIRA on June 7. DEIRA imagines a return to a liberated and free Palestine, across eight tracks including the eponymous single,”Deira.”


DEIRA opens with the somber track, “On This land” featuring the Gazan band, Sol Band. Over a guitar and gentle percussion, Sol Band begins the track with a promise to stay in Palestine until the pain — from displacement and violence — ends. The instrumental morphs into a simple hip-hop beat as Levant raps candidly about the importance of using his linguistic ability for advocacy. “On This land” is a call to action and a cry for help to pay attention to the horrors occurring on Palestinian land. This fervent desire for others to hear him is topped off with the chilling declaration that “Even if they block the square,  Even if they steal the address, The soil of Jerusalem, precious land […] Oh, my country, we won’t forget you.” 

Levant switches the vibe up with the deceivingly upbeat hip-hop track “Forgive Me” featuring Algerian, Paris-based artist, TIF. “Forgive Me” features bold lyrics that speak of great determination in the face of any obstacle coupled with a smooth instrumental rooted in Algerian influence. The track is about Levant’s unwavering work ethic as he admits “I’m determined to death, but I need to do better / Because I’m only half of the man I could be / But growth doesn’t scare me.” Levant attributes his humility and persistence to do better to his heritage and the praise of his mother. 

With “Galbi,” Saint Levant, in true lover boy fashion, dedicates this third track to his girlfriend and Haitian French artist, Naïka, who also features in the visualizer for the track. Characterized by a wistful instrumental, “Galbi” touches on Levant’s love for his girlfriend, whom he would do anything to have. The lyrics are sweet, bordering on melancholic, coupled with the hazy imagery from the music videos as shots of Levant and Naika, blissfully in love, flash by. “Galbi” is a song for the romantics, for those who wear their hearts on their sleeves and this couldn’t be more apparent as Levant confesses, “I want you forever, girl you’ll always be mine […] I swear my heart won’t forget.”

Many fans would recognize the fourth track of the album, “5am in Paris,” which was released just two months prior. “5am in Paris” is a moody club track with Arab influence that slows down the tone of the album. The track tunes listeners into the unrest Saint Levant feels as he muses on the multifaceted aspects of his identity. With ties in Algeria, his heart in Gaza, and his girlfriend in LA, although Saint Levant aches to go home and has a place everywhere, he never truly feels at home. The fourth track of the album dives deep into the never-ending quest for identity and the intricacies of displacement and it can be felt in the way Levant weaves together his three native languages on this atmospheric song.

The fifth track, “Let Her Go,” features Algerian Raï singer Cheb Bilal and is a somber track with elements of house and Algerian folk music. The song speaks to the age-old saying “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be,” however, Levant refuses to let go. As the instrumental builds and wanes, so does the intensity of the lyrics. Levant begs her –“her” being his homeland or an old lover–to stay, alongside the desperate cries of Cheb Bilal, because he’s tried to let her go but couldn’t. His desperation is felt as he reveals “I look at you and I’m with you […] I sacrifice my life for you.”

An Ode to Roots and Resilience

Saint Levant teamed up with American singer-songwriter Kehlani for the sixth song on the album, “Allah Yihmeeki.” The title is taken from the Arabic phrase translating to “May God protect you,” which speaks to the overall message of the track. Levant grieves over not being able to return to his homeland, stating how no matter where he goes, he’ll never find “someone like you.” Kehlani takes over the second verse, adding a sweet yet ominous tone to the track that pairs seamlessly with Levant’s deep and gentle vocals. Kehlani shares Levant’s sentiment in fighting for the liberation of Palestine, promising not to back down as Levant concludes the track wishing for God to protect his people back home in Gaza.

Comme C’est Beau” is a track with a modern twist on traditional Algerian music with echoes of hip-hop and pop. With this nostalgic track, Levant reminisces on the wishes he had from his childhood to sing for the world. The lyrics are wistful, over soft percussive instruments, violins and guitars Levant sings about wishing to see Gaza once again. The singer hones in on his Algerian roots, singing the song predominantly in Arabic and French, as he sorrowfully sings “I come from the land that gives life to olives but our land is dry […] why aren’t you close to me I would give everything to see you / Oh Gaza.” 

The album concludes with the track, “Deira” featuring 15-year-old Gazan rapper, MC Abdul.  “Deira” is a poignant track that speaks of the affection Levant and Abdul have for Palestine over an Algerian-inspired instrumental. The track itself translates to “the old city” and is named after the hotel DEIRA in Gaza built by Levant’s father, Rashid. The hotel was tragically destroyed by bombs and claimed the lives of four Palestinian children. The album closes on a somber yet hopeful note in a song that celebrates Palestinian culture, the resilience of their people, and their firm desire for freedom as MC Abdul so lovingly raps, “And even though I traveled the world / I won’t find anything like Palestine.” 

Who is Saint Levant?

Marwan Abdelhamid, better known as Saint Levant is a 23-year-old rapper born in Jerusalem during the second Intifada. After spending most of his childhood in the Gaza Strip, his family fled toJordan in 2007 before eventually moving to California. Levant went viral after the release of his debut EP, From Gaza, With Love. Ranging from fearless activism to the antics of a self-proclaimed loverboy, Saint Levant is known for his trilingual music, melding together English, French, and Arabic to create genre-bending music that is sexy, political, and addictive. His repertoire is predominantly R&B and is made for those who cannot bear music without purpose.

Keep up with Saint Levant by following him on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Interested in more West Asian artists? Check out our playlist EnVi Rotation: West Asian Wave here!