Salah Edin (Amsterdam/Morocco)

Born Abid Tounssi in South Holland, this Dutch-Moroccan rapper took the name of Salah Edin, the Muslim warrior who defeated Richard the Lion Heart in the Crusades and conquered back Jerusalem. He began rapping in Dutch and, in 2003, met Wu-Tang-affiliated Moroccan rapper/producer Cilvaringz, who took Salah under his wing and out on tour. performing in over 37 countries, including Chile, Indonesia, Russia, Malaysia, France. Romania, and opening for Hip Hop legends such as IAM [France], Outlandish [Denmark], Black Eyed Peas, and the Wu-Tang Clan.

In 2006, Salah began working on his would-be debut album, “Horr/Pure“, which touched on a variety of topics experienced “in every day life in the Arabic world. From domestic violence to street poverty, from dramatic love stories to the hatred sparked by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, from politics to religion, to westernized youth culture and global migration.” The album, however, would not come out until 2009. In between, he released a Dutch-language album, “Nederlands Grootste Nachtmerrie/The Netherlands’ Worst Nightmare“, produced by Dr. Dre’s apprentice, Focus. The first single from the album, “Het Land Van [This Country Of]”, caused a good deal of controversy over its lyrics which “bluntly explained life as a Muslim in an increasingly conservative Holland.” Even more controversy ensued with the powerful music video portraying Salah at the center of a paranoid, Islamophobic Dutch society. But the kicker is that the video project was funded entirely by a cultural initiative of the Dutch government (only further outraging critics who immediately accused Salah of using taxpayer money to endorse radical Islamist views). See for yourself.

Chorus: The land that doesn’t leave a lion without his orange cape,

is the land that sells women behind window panes.

Salah seems to have enjoyed the controversy because he invited even more by leaking his next album cover, which depicted Salah, who bears a close resemblance to Mohamed Bouyeri, the convicted killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, in a mugshot.

The message of the portrait, that all young Muslims look alike to the Islamophobic Dutch public would prove frighteningly accurate in later years. In 2007, a Dutch newspaper inadvertently included Salah’s picture in an article about Bouyeri, for which Salah sued for libel and received an out of court settlement. In 2008. ultra-right wing politician Geert Wilders released an anti-“Islamism” shock-doc and included the same photo when discussing the Van Gogh murder. Salah sued again, and won again, this time over 11000 Euros in damages and a public apology from Geert Wilders.

In 2009, Salah signed with Universal Music, as well as several endorsement deals with clothing companies such as Nike and Ecko, and was featured in a  TV series about young musicians. Most importantly, however, was the release of his first album, “”Horr/Pure“, which became Salah’s first album in his native tongue of Moroccan Arabic. Here’s a glimpse at the release party, which I’m proud to say I attended as a friend and coleague (some Salah’s earliest Arabic tracks were featured in “I Love Hip Hop in Morocco“):


  1. December 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    asalam allikum from Afghanistan Music Tv Call
    my name is Bezhan alzafarmal boern an Afghanistan an more 20 year an germnay Frankfurt I like to talk about some think .about afghanistan frist rapper an I’m a Muslim soucker allmdulla .But,Not an Arab.I respect their Big Culture and succesful past.But we have another past from Middle Asia.The Afghan People come from there,so from Mongolians,Khazaks,Uzbeks,Azer baijan and Turkmens but not Arabs so i wouldn’t say to a German “You’re American because of you’re Christian” so we are one nation one boold please helphip an afghanisatan we have only one Rapper BezhanKunduzi kingbesho.we like to make a song togher an 7 languge .please support us if please can give us email or tele nummer from Mr Salah Edin .

    for more information on Face book or google .bezhan zafarmal PLS Think again! RESPECT & PEACE FOREVER!

  1. May 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm

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