Hip Hop in Morocco–A Challenge to Traditional Culture?

In the article, Morocco’s Hip Hop Revolution, Latifa al-Arousni writes about the emergence of hip hop in Morocco and how it has affected identity and culture. In the city of Rabat, bands gather for the annual ‘Mawazine Rythmes du Monde’ and perform in front of large crowds. Most of the music played is hip hop, rap and reggae. The author of the article admits that many of the bands are unskilled and perform simple songs but they draw a large crowd mainly beause they embrace this Western type of music and “Moroccan-ize” it by adding in rhythms and instruments from their own culture. She notes also that the people at the concerts are sporting baggy jeans, loose cotton T-shirts, earrings and gold chains–which are commonly worn in the West by hip hop artists and fans. But these artists are not merely copying Western styles of hip hop. Their lyrics are written in colloquial Moroccan Arabic and they address a variety of issues such as unemployment, prostitution, poverty and war. Many of these artists are very patriotic and nationalist, but they still garner an intense amount of disapproval from most Moroccans. Many Moroccans believe that hip hop is just a fad that will soon be forgotten. Others speculate that the reasons young people are drawn to hip hop are because it is loud and often talks about topics that are not normally discussed out in the open (such as politics, etc). People that attended the festival argued that the event allowed a wide variety of artists to perform, fusing contemporary and traditional music. As rap has become more widespread, there are more people urging artists to stay away from vulgar lyrics since they have noted that rap can have a significant impact on the social and political lives of Moroccans.

The article can be accessed through this link.

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