I Love Hip Hop In Morocco

I Love Hip Hop In Morocco is a documentary about the first major hip hop festival in Morocco.  While the overarching theme is the creation and performance of the festival, it also focuses on individual artists and allows the viewer access to their thoughts. I found a couple aspects of the film surprising.  First, I thought it was interesting how self-aware many of the artists were.  In American rap, much of the music and the discourse between rappers seems to be very self centered, as the artists tend to focus on themselves – their positive attributes and worldly goods.  There is little to no mention of other people (save for insults) and other places in the world.  However, the Moroccan artists seemed very aware of their place in a global hip hop scene (relative to their American influences) as well as their linkage to Hip Hop as a music of resistance.  Most mainstream American artists no longer link rap to the struggles experienced by African Americans, but the Moroccan rappers link their music with both their daily struggles and the historical precedent.

Another aspect I found interesting was that a lot of the artists in the movie were in groups, such as H-Kayne.  While this is reminiscent of earlier American rap, as there were groups such as the Sugarhill Gang and Run-DMC, it is not really reflective of modern day US hip hop, where most artists perform solo.  Since Moroccan hip hop was still in its early stages, I wonder if it will follow the path of American rap and morph into a more solo scene, or if there is a cultural difference that encourages group collaboration.

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3 Responses to I Love Hip Hop In Morocco

  1. Interesting! Perhaps it is easier to be self-aware from the periphery as opposed to the center…

  2. Perhaps group dynamics are more appealing when hip hop is concentrated on controversial topics such as criticizing the government. For example, when hip hop in America featured more groups, it was primarily a genre of struggle- as you mentioned. Now, however, hip hop is less focused on the struggle and instead focuses on money, sex, and cars. Although these topics can be controversial, they’re generally less so– and aren’t really critiquing the government as earlier hip hop did. Because of this, I think the desire of being in a group is lost; the support and “power in numbers” provided by a group is no longer as strong. Maybe if Moroccan musicians move to discussing less-controversial topics, we’ll see more single artists– although I think that’d be fairly far down the road, considering the current state of affairs..

  3. Sam C. Sager says:

    Charles, I really enjoyed your thoughts on groups vs. solo artists and how much it has changed it America over the last decades. I never really thought about it before, but it is really fascinating to consider possible explanations.

    That said, I think you and Avery are being a little hard on all American Hip Hop. I think it is unfair to say that it is now entirely self-centered with only references to others being insults or that it is just about money, sex, and cars. Sure there are rap songs about these subjects but they by no means capture the full spectrum of the current state of the genre. For every one of these songs that becomes popular there are other songs, both popular and less well known that address real issues.

    I spent some time trying to find a really good one to share with everyone and though it has a ton of expletives, it is too pertinent not to share. This recent song released by immortal technique is very interesting comment on current hot issue of the disparity of wealth in America. It is called “Rich Man’s World (1%)” and is so interesting because Immortal Technique acknowledges that he is actual a part of this rich culture, but does so in a way that critiques the system as a whole. Thus while he is talking about himself and money, it is not in neither a conceited nor a glamorous way.

    The song can be heard on youtube here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzrnxeFxyBU&feature=related

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