Thursday, April 3, 2008


First and foremost, my apologies for a lack of updates since my arrival to Morocco: my internet access has been inconsistent as of late. Furthermore, due to slow connection speeds, I have been unable to upload any videos. Moving on…

Last week, in Rabat, I met Younes Boumehdi, one of the directors at Hit Radio, the first hip-hop and R&B radio station in Morocco. Founded in July 2006, Hit Radio strives to expose up-and-coming Moroccan artists.

Like hip-hop in other parts of the world, the music reflects the urban struggles of the younger generations. Some artists, like Hakim from Rabat and Fnaire from Marrakesh, incorporate traditional elements of Moroccan music into the beats of their contemporary music. The marriage of rap and “classical” Moroccan music is an intriguing enterprise. That being said, throughout American hip hop, it is very common for the beat (music, that is) to sample Western classical music – just think of all of the string sections employed in a beat by Dr. Dre or RZA.

(An interesting side note, Fnaire, a trio of rappers, has recorded with several members of the Wu-Tang Clan. Here is a link if you would like to stream some of their music).

Although Hit Radio only broadcasts contemporary music, Younes does know many traditional musicians, most of whom are based in Marrakesh. Younes asserted that many young Moroccans were “fed up” with the traditional music scene, and thus, had a greater interest in genres of music like hip-hop. The Moroccan government had been hesitant to approve a hip-hop radio station – deeming it to be a potentially bad influence on the youth of Morocco. Nonetheless, since Hit Radio was inaugurated, it has flourished and fostered the growth of the Moroccan music scene.

Aside from establishing several contacts for me, Younes generously offered to provide a pass for the “Mawazine, Rhythms of the World Festival,” which is from May 16th to 24th in Rabat. I am really looking forward to attending that festival; I will write more about it as it approaches.

Two days ago, I went back to Hit Radio and met a man named Dominique, who is French. Dominique works to promote and develop contemporary Moroccan music; and also, helps form the weekly play lists for Hit Radio. Dominique also provided me with several potential contacts for my research.

So a big thanks to everyone at Hit Radio! I forgot to take pictures at the station; but here is one of me wearing traditional Moroccan clothing, the jellaba. I am attending a wedding this weekend and need to have a Moroccan "tux"!

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