My young friend Yassine and I have been discussing Moroccan hip-hop music for the last couple of years. This summer he and I have exchanged e-mail, mostly written in "3aransiya" (transliterated Moroccan colloquial Arabic, darija) and have sent each other several audio messages. I hope we can edit these conversations and link them from my podcast site, so others may hear how we have been trying to work across boundaries of language and geography with some of the best of recent Moroccan hip-hop. At my suggestion, Yassine and I have been focusing in particular on "Bladi Blad," one of the cuts from Moroccan rapper Bigg's latest album, Mgharba Tal Moute ("Moroccans Until Death"). I hope to provide a readable text in 3aransiya with clarifying links to people and issues mentioned in the lyrics, and then to work with Yassine and other Moroccan friends on an English translation. If others are interested in this topic (I noticed that one of the YouTube links to a performance of the song has had a quarter of a million viewings), we can discuss favorite lyrics and how they affect us as we listen to the song. Then perhaps we can move on to other Moroccan examples.
I'm 64, Yassine is 15. For us older folks, one of the pleasures of Moroccan hip-hop is its appreciative references to the best of 1980s Mproccan rock and popular music, and in particular to Nass El Ghiwane. Let's compare the Ghiwane and the Bigg, the 1980s and the post-9/11 scenes. What do, for example, the widely varied comments on YouTube and in blogs tell us about the ways darija-speakers understand Moroccan rap culture?
Here are some useful links:
Bladi Blad YouTube music videos with
- Bigg Wikipedia entries: English, Français, العربية
- Bigg interviewed in Magharebia, May 30, 2007 Français عربي
- Bigg interview in darija on Dailymotion, July, 2006
- Bigg: "Bladi Blad" lyrics (3aransiya)
- a fine blog posting on "Moroccans Until Death" by eatbees
- d2 thinking aloud in darija about questions to ask youth about hip-hop
- Nass El Ghiwane: "Lebtana" lyrics (Arabic) (English translation)
- YouTube link to a Nass El Ghiwane performance of Lebetana (quoted in "Bladi Blad")
- d2 blog on 3awd-lil's "mess3aoud"
- d2 blog on Tanmia's آصوات الشباب project