Deciphering Culture

Moroccan rapper Don Bigg “crosses over”

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When I interviewed Don Bigg in Casablanca in 2008, he told me that his goal was for his albums to be in the rap bins at Virgin and FNAC, not the World Music bin. Steeped in the hip-hop tradition, there was no place other than the rap category where his music belonged — still, as a non-Western artist (rapping in Moroccan Arabic), there was always a chance he’d end up in the World Music bin. His new album Byad ou K7al (Black & White), released 24 Dec. 2009, reached #10 on the Amazon (France) list of best-selling album downloads. A chart without genre breakdowns (no bins, virtual or otherwise) creates another kind of reality. If you search “musique du monde” on Amazon (France) Bigg is nowhere to be found but search in the “hip-hop/rap” category and, voila, there are the tracks from his new album.

Here’s “Itoub” from Bigg’s new album:

TRANSLATION OF ITOUB courtesy of Don Bigg (much respect to the big man)

GOD BLESS (ITOUB)

Yeah
That’s what’s up
I see you man
Thank you thank you thank you
God bless God bless God bless God bless
That’s what’s up that’s what’s up
God bless God bless God bless God bless

HOOK 1
Those who held me down since day one man
Today I wanna sing about them man
I wanna stand up, salute them and say
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man

VERSE 1
To all those who held me down since the beginning, God bless, god bless and thank you
I ain’t never gon’ forget where I came from and thorns are
Erect at home and come see that
Bigg ain’t never gon’ recover from the rap music sickness
I ain’t never gon’ forget y’all no matter what happens
In front of my parents, moms and pops happy
See me in the papers remember all
The rehearsing and chilling in the hallway
Aah yeah, that’s what’s up man
I won’t forget Masta Flow back in the days of “lblan bayn”
Yo Bigg, rap in Arabic
What you crazy, you trynna make a fool of me?
If I hadn’t followed Masta Flow’s advice in that room
You would’ve never bought the cd I wanted
You would’ve never heard Bigg on the beat
And I would’ve never stood in front of you and sang

HOOK 2
Those who held me down since day one man
Today I wanna sing about them man
I wanna stand up, salute them and say
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man

VERSE 2
Yo Imam Malik, you where I put my head up at
That’s where I learned to rap when I used to cut class
They used to call me a hard-headed shorty
I used to pass the year, fighting with my teeth
Whether they wanted or not, I used to pass
Even though the whole year I be in the school yard kissing
Since a kid my intention was making madd loot
Don’t believe me? Ask 7ershawy
College saw me on the road to Jdida
It was the school bus, I ain’t had a whip
Mobb Deep in class, not the lollipop
God bless the copy center
When we graduated, they were to thank for our grades
It’s raining, and the nigga in the jaguar just slammed the door
God bless, now the niggaz with the sticks is here
They left those who started shit and fucked up those they wanted

HOOK 3
Those who held me down since day one man
Today I wanna sing about them man
I wanna stand up, salute them and say
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man

VERSE 3
God bless, God bless the fans
Ladies and niggaz
I see y’all, keep pushing up the country with us
All those who bought my cd and didn’t regret it
God bless those who dissed me, the nerve of them! They got no shame
God bless all y’all brothers
Thank you thank you thank you man
Black and White, Black and White, and Moroccans Till Death
God bless the streets that showed me
The bad from the good and got me addicted to rap music
God bless the media that forgot me, that put me on, and that dirtied at my name
God bless the rappers that diss me
Get your ticket, tell them let me in the line
God bless belqas Hisham
Put two fingers up in the sky, staright

HOOK 4
Those who held me down since day one man
Today I wanna sing about them man
I wanna stand up, salute them and say
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man

Those who held me down since day one man
Today I wanna sing about them man
I wanna stand up, salute them and say
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man
God bless God bless God bless God bless
Thank you thank you thank you man

Don Bigg’s MySpace page

Don Bigg Works the Room (from Afropop.org)

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Written by Jeffrey Callen

December 28, 2009 at 9:48 am

Posted in Genre, Rap/Hip-Hop

Tagged with , ,

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