6 May 2014

Morocco: Rap, Politics Converge in Rabat

Rabat — A recent Rabat seminar focused on the growing interplay between politics and rap music.

Moroccan rappers Masta Flow, Mobydick and Shayfeen, along with scholars from Europe and North Africa, were guests at an April 23rd conference hosted by the International University of Rabat (UIR).

"Rap music has started creating futuristic political ideas," said Éric Yvonnet executive director of the political sciences department at the UIR. "For singers, music is a philosophy based on discourse and behaviour; this is the basis of the political sphere," he added.

According to the academic, "Singers contribute to the development of social intelligence through the removal of prejudices, and through the analysis of the present, the reality and the truth."

"They also help analyse the status of the community and improve ideas," he added.

This indicates that "futuristic thought will not be limited to university classes, but also includes the activity of these artists".

"Co-operation between this art and the university will help progress and development," he added.

Since most rappers hail from poor backgrounds, they live under the same economic and social imbalances suffered by their surroundings, Masta Flow said.

"I think that the rapper is a spontaneous politician," he added.

Chouaib Ribati from Shayfeen said, "We don't care about politics in its broadest sense. We are not qualified for that. Nor are we anti-regime."

"We report the reality of the family, streets, neighbourhood and the city in which we live," he said.

"By the end, we find ourselves addressing political issues," he told Magharebia.

But according to fellow rapper Mobydick, "Rappers should not just think about politics; they should also deal with normal subjects."

"Yet, when I address political topics I do it fiercely," he said.

"We live in Morocco a new beginning of the freedom of expression," he said. "We will not get far if we condemn everything that crosses your path."

Music agent Noufissa Bennani explained to Magharebia that art was born in the street, stems from society, reflects the concerns of people and proposes solutions.

"The rapper is thus the voice of the people and has to transmit messages that enable politicians to know the problems and demands of citizens," she said.

Bennani added, "Politics and rap developed in tandem with rap being in the service of politics while in general, committed art should remain non-politicised."

"Rap is a haven for young people that allows them to positively change their reality," student Youssef El-Amrani said.

"It is also a mechanism to move away from extremism," he added. "That's the important risk faced by young people".


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