The wealth of rap talent bubbling up in Morocco is far from a secret. The North African country has been churning out some of the finest in Arab-speaking rap for quite some time now, but the West is unforgivably slow at catching on.
One man patiently working away to correct that is Hassan Hajjaj, the Moroccan-born, London-raised, multidisciplinary artist and local hero who’s been a tireless champion of Morocco’s cultural cache. Earlier this month, Hassan and his Jajjah space (a cafe/venue in Marrakech’s blossoming creative district) played host to The Mbari House, an ever-evolving project helmed by Marjana Jaidi of Cultivora—the team behind Oasis Festival—to showcase the arts in Marrakech.
Names like ElGrandeToto, Dizzy DROS, Draganov and Smallx are titans on their home turf. Their deep cuts effortlessly rack up streaming figures some of our biggest stars could only dream of. And that’s on Spotify, a platform most people in the MENA region don’t even use. Combined with the numbers they hit on Anghami—a streaming service that is favoured above Spotify—these local legends consistently hit seven, eight, even nine-figure streams for every single song they put out.