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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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Senegal, stand up!

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

From The New York Times

September 18, 2011
 In Blunt and Sometimes Crude Rap, a Strong Political Voice Emerges
By 

DAKAR, Senegal — A revolution led by rappers says something about a country’s politics or its music, or maybe both.

In Senegal, the political mainstream appears stagnant and the musicians anything but, which explains why laid-back musicians with stage names like Fou Malade (“Crazy Sick Guy”) and Thiat (“Junior”) are leading a vigorous demonstration movement against the country’s octogenarian president, who does not want to leave office.

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When State comes up short, Chen Lo makes it happen

May 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Lebanon’s Brooklyn, NYC Peeps: The Lo Frequency make good in Beirut

In late October, the Brooklyn-based live hip-hop outfit Chen Lo and the Liberation Family – known now as The Lo Frequency -came to Beirut for a two-month residency in order to establish a Hip-Hop Academy and to perform with local talent (MCs, DJs, and producers). The US embassy initiative was not exactly what they expected. Beats and Breath linked up with the Lo Frequency in Brooklyn to discuss what ultimately became a two-month blessing for the Arab hip-hop movement.

OG members of The Lo Frequency fam (L to R: BAASIK, Chen Lo, Ken White, DJ Scandales) Read more…

Arab Rappers in Solidarity

April 22, 2011 3 comments

Great new piece by raptivist and scholar Aisha Fukushima on New America Media:

Arab Rappers in Solidarity With Uprisings in Middle East & North Africa

 Arab Rappers in Solidarity With Uprisings in Middle East & North Africa

New America Media, News Report, Aisha Fukushima, Posted: Apr 16, 2011

Many prominent Arab hip-hop artists inspired by uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have released music in solidarity with protesters in the region. Though the messages of these new songs are not necessarily new to Arab hip-hop, the urgency and relevance of this new music has gained these artists increasing international attention.While Arab hip-hop started to gain its recognition in the ‘90s, tracing back the history can be difficult in light of the fact that it stems from such a complex fusion of diasporic communities, people, art and culture. In North America, for instance, artists such as Fredwreck and The Narcicyst are cited as pioneers of Arab hip-hop, while groups such as DAM are credited with jump-starting the movement in Palestine.In a conversation with Excentrik, an East Bay music producer, “actionist” (action activist and oud player), he explained, “Yeah, there’s an Arab hip-hop scene, but it’s a global scene, it’s not like a localized scene. Unfortunately, there’s not enough cats doing quality shit that have like a [single] place to go in any of these cities… It’s an esoteric scene, it’s random because it’s so big and so spread apart.” While there are certainly active indigenous Arab hip-hop scenes throughout much of North Africa and the Middle East, the majority of the most celebrated emcees in the global scene are based in North America and Europe, where hip-hop has had a longer history and faces less challenges in terms of censorship.

The Narcicyst x Shadia Mansour: “Hamdulillah”

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

After long last, and not a moment too soon or late, the much-anticipated music video for the first collaboration between Iraqi-Canadian MC The Narcicyst and Palestinian-British singer Shadia Mansour, “Hamdulillah”. Kudos to director Ridwan Adhami for a beautiful portrayal of contemporary Islam through the simplest montage of faces. It comes as a relief for one living in not one but two islamophobic societies, the Netherlands and the US. Nevertheless, al-hamduli’llah.

Lyrics and commentary coming soon..

Logic x Shadia Mansour: So Serious

June 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Brand new video from South London’s Logic (co-founder with Lowkey of the youth mobilization group, The People’s Army), and the great Shadia Mansour.

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