At a time of internationalization of information, it seems that some things, paradoxically, have difficulty crossing borders. This is the surprising case of Moroccan rap, a movement that was not born from the last rain and that has developed independently, with millions of views on YouTube, in a country where the record market (traditional and legal) does not exist. How did we miss such talented rappers? Maybe it’s because we look too much to the United States, Canada, or other famous worldwide music countries. This is probably also due to the language barrier, since very few Moroccan rappers adopt English or French as their language of expression, preferring Darija, the local dialect.
Who are the top 10 Moroccan rap singers to discover Moroccan rap?
Making a selection in this teeming with trends and influences was not an easy task, so it seemed necessary to us to separate our selection into two blocks. The first is composed of those who made this movement possible in Morocco. They come from the first generation of Moroccan rappers. They fought to make Moroccan rap what it is today, even if it means encountering some problems with the local police and sometimes long stays in prison. The second part of our selection presents the new generation, the one that lights up festivals all over the country and that we often find featuring with French artists who want to promote them. Far from being exhaustive, this selection aims, above all, to introduce you to little-known artists from a rap scene that is constantly evolving in a country that has been undergoing social and political change for more than ten years. Here are the top 10 best Moroccan rap singers below!
The pillars of Moroccan rap
Now a legendary group, founded in 1996, H-Kayne (literally in English “what’s the matter?”) is THE group to know when it comes to rap in the kingdom of Morocco. Their second album HK-1426 will be the first Moroccan rap album to be sold outside the country and to be notably present on Fnac shelves (a large French retail chain selling cultural and electronic product).
The group then performed throughout Europe and has been awarded the National Award Medal by the Moroccan King, Mohamed VI. The members of the group have each started a solo career, but still continues to this day releasing new songs as a group.
From the Casablanca middle class, Taoufik Hazeb AKA Don Bigg is considered as one of the pioneers of Moroccan rap. He started playing music at the age of 14 and spoke only in English. He later realized that the best way to be heard by the greatest number of people was with the Moroccan dialect called Darija.
Don Bigg expresses in his lyrics the uneasiness of a society full of paradoxes and does not hesitate to fire red bullets at the corrupt Moroccan system. One of his powerful albums named “BYAD ou K7AL” (in English Black and White, an album on which we find La Fouine but especially Fredwreck, the beatmaker of Tha Dogg Pound and Snoop Dogg) make Don Bigg one of the most famous flag carriers of Moroccan rap.
It was in the early 1980s that Saad AkA H-Name was born in Casablanca. In 2004 he made his first demo “Just Style”. He was noticed for his flow and his atypical voice. He then multiplies singles and collaborations and in 2006 with the Moroccan Rap movement which begins to invade the streets of Morocco that H-name started to work seriously.
He formed a group “Casa-System” with the rapper Pirate, and together they quickly climb to the top of the Moroccan Rap. They played several songs and release a few clips such as “L’Feeling Dayz”, “M’ansina” or “Casa-System” that created a buzz on the web. But despite this success, which will be a great experience for our artist, too many disagreements within the group will make him decide to continue solo.
H-Name quickly became noticed by his flow and voice, he was described at first, even if this label didn’t stick to him for long, as “The Moroccan Eminem” (listen at 1:06 the song L’feeling Dayz below)!
Since he went solo, H-Name has been busy. He released a lot of track that some ranked at the top of several charts. This shows the talent and diversity of this artist who has much more than one string to his bow. Below is one of his more recent music clip videos featuring Barry Maroc.
Originally from Casablanca and created in 2003, the Casa Crew group is composed of the legendary Masta Flow, Chaht Man, Jocker, and Caprice. This is one of the major groups of the first Moroccan rap scene. The success of the song “Men Zanka L’zanka” will push them to perform on all stages of the Moroccan kingdom and in many countries in Europe and Africa. They made only two albums before Masta Flow took off to pursue his solo career with equal success.
A pioneer of Moroccan rap, this rapper from a popular neighborhood in Tangier and a member of the mythical group Zanka Flow, is a reference throughout the Maghreb. His cavernous voice, his militant texts, and his will to always evolve independently make him a real pillar that contributed to the development of rap in Morocco.
Originally from the city of Casablanca, L7a9ed started to rap in 2004 with two friends. Three years later, he released his first album L7a9ed Men Oukacha (in English L7a9ed from Oukacha, his hometown in Casablanca), which was a real success. The ultra-prolific rapper has released many albums since then but has also made himself infamous for his trips to prison, including one of more than a year because of his many texts pointing fingers at the corruption plaguing the country. It should be noted that L7a9ed received in 2015, the prize for freedom of expression from the NGO Index.
Some Moroccan rap examples of the new generation today
Originally from Casablanca, 7liwa can be considered a more “recent” artist of this selection but with a very important success first of all thanks to a 10-minute anthology piece without chorus (!) delivered on ASAP Rocky’s “One Train” instrument. Then came a Ktabi Baki mixtape and above all an impressive number of videos, each one crazier than the other (some of them are even forbidden to minors) that allow 7liwa to sit back on his universe (long hair, tattoos, and excessive apology for drug use), totally out of step with the rest of the Moroccan rap scene. An artistic universe that could definitely become international if they would not only rap in Darija.
This young Casablanca native has been revolutionizing the Moroccan scene since his debut with mad energy and well-assumed American influences. With many national and international collaborations to his credit, Dizzy Dros is a real rising value in Moroccan rap. In May 2016, he and rapper Komy remixed Fat Joe’s song “All The Way Up” by changing the lyrics and singing in the Moroccan dialect. It has since become one of the most viewed Moroccan rap songs on YouTube.
Originally from the Moroccan city of Safi, the two rappers from Morocco form a unique duo and impose their art with their own style thanks to goodwill.
Over time, Shayfeen has acquired a phenomenal reputation and enrich the Moroccan rap scene by reaching a very large audience. Formed in 2012, they are a real success with listeners from the Moroccan kingdom and throughout the Maghreb. It is a very well known duo who have an EP and several cool music videos like the one below.
Taha Fassi AKA El Grande Toto is a young Moroccan rapper from Casablanca born in 1995. After releasing 2 projects, BNJ City Block and Caméléon, in 2017, he reached a real milestone in 2018 with the release of the excellent EP llicit, becoming one of the headliners of a Moroccan rap in full expansion.
His most viewed hits are SLAY a collab he did with a Manal BK (a well known Moroccan singer), Pablo, HORS SÉRIE another collab with other Moroccan rappers: Don Bigg, Draganov, and Khtek.
We tried our best to compile only the top best Moroccan Rappers. Of course, there are several other talented Moroccan rappers known today but this is in our opinion the best of the best.