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The Avenger Strikes (Morocco)

October 6, 2013 Leave a comment

From World Hip Hop Market

IMPRISONED MOROCCAN RAPPER EL-HAQED BEGINS HUNGER STRIKE

Published On March 12, 2013 | By Greg | MoroccoNews

mouad_belghouat_sliderMoroccan rapper Mouad Belghouat recently started a hunger strike from his Casablanca prison cell.

Belghouat, known as “El-Haqed” (the Vengeful One, in Arabic), has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of the monarchy and has spent the better part of the last year in prison.

Police arrested him on March 29, 2012, because of a YouTube video of his song “Kilab ed-Dowla” (Dogs of the State), with a photo of a policeman whose head has been replaced with a donkey’s. The song denounces police corruption with lines like, “You are paid to protect the citizens, not to collect people’s money and take it to your chief.”

In his statement to the police, Belghouat denied any connection to the video, saying unknown people made it, set it to Belghouat’s music, and posted it. A separate recording of Belghouat rapping “Kilab ed-Dowla,” but without any of the controversial visuals, is on YouTube.

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Halal Rap vs. Propaganda Rap (Morocco)

October 6, 2013 Leave a comment

‘Halal rap’: Morocco’s MC’s preach politics and conservatism

Published November 11th, 2012 . Albawaba.com

Bigg has been accused of turning to pro-government propaganda (Photo: planetmoroccanrap.blogspot.com)
Bigg has been accused of turning to pro-government propaganda (Photo: planetmoroccanrap.blogspot.com)

Some of Morocco’s young rappers are using their music to show support for the country’s ruling party, espouse family values, and encourage female modesty. It’s called “Halal rap,” but can it even be considered rap at all?

Sheikh Sar (known as Chekh Sar in Morocco) is a rising star among religious youth here.

But Chekh Sar isn’t an upcoming Salafi preacher on one of the religious satellite channels proliferating throughout the Arab world. He is just a young rapper from the city of al-Rashidiya in east Morocco who used to be called Elias Lakhrifi.

His mix of religious advice and conservative values has turned Chekh Sar into a symbol of “halal” music for an Islamist audience. Chekh Sar is credited with inventing a new style of Moroccan rap called “Halal rap.” He uses it to defend the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) and call for building a conservative society.

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The cauldron: Islam and Hip-Hop in Europe

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

A comprehensive overview of the state of Hip Hop Diplomacy across the pond from one of my most admired mentors, Dr. Hisham Aidi (via one of my favorite observers of the Arab street, Jackson Allers & World Hip Hop Market)

The cauldron: Islam and Hip-Hop in Europe

The debate over Islam and hip hop in Europe is heating up as governments wade in.

Farah Pandith, the US State Department special representative to Muslim communities, has argued that hip hop can convey a ‘different narrative’ to counter the foreign ‘violent ideology’ [GALLO/GETTY]

By Hishaam Aidi (published first on Al Jazeera.com)

New York, NY – Three months ago, just as the French presidential campaign was heating up, the rapper Kery James uploaded a track titled “Letter to the Republic” (“Lettre à la République“) explaining what he and youth in the banlieues thought of the republic’s political class, or as he described them, “Pillagers of wealth, murderers of Africans, torturers of Algerians / The colonial past is yours, you chose to link your history to ours.”

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El-Haqed (Morocco) freed

January 12, 2012 1 comment

From Reuters

RABAT (Reuters) – A Moroccan rapper who has become one of the monarchy’s boldest critics was freed on Thursday, activists said, after he served a four-month sentence for assault, a charge which his lawyers say was a ploy to muzzle the popular singer.

“El-Haqed walked out of prison a little while ago shouting ‘long live the people’,” said activist Omar Radi, near Casablanca’s main Oukacha prison.

Earlier on Thursday, a court in Casablanca sentenced 24-year-old Mouad Belrhouat, better known as El-Haqed (“The Sullen One”), to four months and three days in jail and fined him 500 dirhams, sources in the court said.

Belrhouat was arrested in September after a brawl with a monarchist. Bail requests by his lawyers were rejected and the trial was adjourned six times.

“It’s a bittersweet victory for us,” said activist Maria Karim.

El-Haqed has become the singing voice of the protest movement, inspired by Arab world uprisings, demanding a constitutional monarchy, an independent judiciary and a crackdown on corruption.

Morocco’s main human rights group, AMDH, considers him to have been a prisoner of conscience.

His lyrics telling Moroccans to “wise up” have angered many monarchists. In one song, he says the king spends so much time giving orders that he has little time to count his money in Switzerland.

Belrhouat has struck a chord with young Moroccans who are disenchanted with the lack of jobs and one song “Bite just as much as you can chew” has had more than 600,000 hits on Youtube.

 

Categories: Morocco, North Africa Tags: ,

The Hip-Hop Rhythm of Arab Revolt

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The Arab Spring is widely known as a Twitter rebellion, but underground hip-hop artists also played a very important role. Robin Wright, author of “Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World,” talks with Jerry Seib about the phenomenon.

In November 2010, a young Tunisian rapper who called himself El General posted a song on his Facebook page and YouTube. He had no alternative.

The government of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had virtually banned hip-hop. Its musicians were not on government-approved playlists for state-controlled television or radio. They were rarely able to get permits to perform in public. And most were barred from recording CDs.

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Salah Edin goes to Mali for Islamic Relief

In case anyone out there ever doubted the deep huminatarian commitment of Dutch-Moroccan rapper Salah Edin, here’s a 2-part video covering his recent trip to Mali on behalf of the Islamic Relief Project, during which he visited different development projects, from water wells to schools, milk factories to widows creating small businesses with micro credit loans. This is the same dude who pissed off a whole country of Dutch Islamophobes by turning the mirror on their ugly fear in his debut single “Het Land Van [This Country Of]” and then later by using a faux mugshot for his album cover, which a major newspaper and right-wing politician both mistook for the convicted Muslim killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.

I guess Salah is growing up and mellowing out, though his recent video for “Tfoe/Fuck” would suggest otherwise. Nevertheless, the man showed love and support last month for his fellow Africans, under the aegis of an Islamic NGO, and I would like to formally recognize his efforts. We need more artists, especially in Hip Hop, standing up publicly for the causes that matter to them, not to mention challenging the stereotypes that politicians and the media perpetuate for their own profit. Did someone say SalahShadia collabo…???

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Promo video for Don Bigg “Byad ou K7al”

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

The wait is over: “Byad ou K7al/Black & White” now in stores and on Amazon. I’ve already listened to it 4 times and it just keeps getting better. Beats by the usual suspects and a few tracks by legendary producer FredWreck.

Translations and reviews coming soon…