Deciphering Culture

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Updating the archive: article on Moroccan Alternative Music for MTV IGGY

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In Search of Alternative Music in Morocco

In Search of Alternative Music in Morocco


By MTV Iggy
September 27, 2012

Words by Jeffrey Callen, Ph. D.

In the late 1990s, an alternative music community came together in Casablanca that would dramatically change Moroccan popular music. Cultural outsiders, brought together by shared aesthetics and the support of a local community organization, hip-hop, rock, electronica, and “fusion” musicians joined together to make common cause to expand the boundaries of Moroccan music. Although it was their joining together in the late 1990s that would dramatically change the country’s musical landscape, each of these genres has its own separate history in Morocco.

The Prehistory— Genres on the Margins

Rock ‘n’ roll. The history of rock ‘n roll in Morocco goes back to the 1960s when young musicians formed hundreds of rock bands in cities throughout the country. By the 1970s, the first Moroccan rock explosion was over, eclipsed by a folk–revival that began in Casablanca and soon swept through North Africa, (to read the rest, click here)



Article on Moroccan rapper Don Bigg (

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Article on Bigg in the Moroccan press

Don Bigg Works the Room (February 2009 article on Moroccan rapper Don Bigg — published at  – I interviewed Don Bigg in 2008 in Casablanca and he told me about his work and gave me a primer in Moroccan rap styles. Steeped in the history of hip-hop, Don creates music that is firmly rooted in Morocco without using Moroccan musical material (an approach that hasn’t worked for many others) and is one of the most significant voices as Moroccan hip-hop comes of age.

Written by Jeffrey Callen

December 11, 2009 at 10:58 pm

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