Songs for the Atlas Lions of Morocco

What music do young Moroccans listen to at home and in the diaspora right now?

Street football in Marrakech, Morocco (Neil Faz, via Flickr CC).

Despite high hopes, Morocco’s Atlas Lions crashed out of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, but that didn’t prevent young Moroccans from bumping and grooving to radio pop. It also gives a sense of what young Moroccans are listening to at home and in the diaspora.

First up is the internationally renowned and veteran Algerian crooner Khaled, known for hits like “Aicha” and “Didi.” In late 2012, Khaled released a new album with a new single, “Hiya Hiya,” which features American rapper Pit Bull.

Then there’s Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” We hoped our national team would “shine bright like a diamond” at this year’s AFCON tournament. Rihanna’s melancholic song reflects our dashed hopes of football glory. Alas, Morocco may be more successful at next year’s World Cup.

Tombée pour elle” (English: Fell for her), is an R&B song by Booba, a Half Senegalese and half French artist who has been rapping since the mid-1990s.

Yes, Britney Spears & Will.i.am’s “Scream and Shout.” Moroccan music fans have not given up on Britney Spears despite her troubles. She is teaming up with Will. I.Am (from the Black Eyed Peas), this Gangnam Style-like hit is ruling Morocco’s airwaves and club scene.

Moroccan rap artists Fnaire and Soprano hail from the city of Marrakesh. Together, they perform what they coin as “traditional rap.” They mix traditional music (like Chaabi music) with hip-hop, infusing it with lyrics about social and political issues that resonate among Moroccan youth.

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