Middleeast

Casablanca's urban rage

Updated 2:51 PM ET, Thu October 18, 2012
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Young Moroccan at the yearly Casa Music festival in Casablanca, on the country's western coast. The likes of 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, and Kanye West have headlined in recent years, reflecting a growing appetite for hip-hop music across the largely Arab nation. AFP/Getty Images
Rap's popularity has inspired a new generation of Moroccan hip-hop artists to emerge on the national music scene, such as the Devil Skulls, pictured here performing at the Mawazine music festival in Rabat in 2011. AFP/Getty Images
Particularly popular in the poorer suburbs, Moroccan hip-hop tends to focus on social issues such as poverty and inequality. Casablanca-born rapper Si Simo, aka 28-year-old Mohammed Hoummas (pictured), has become notorious for lyrics that rail against poverty. Courtesy Si Simo
According a World Bank report, nearly half of all Moroccans between the age of 15 and 25 are unemployed and sprawling suburban slums, such as the Derb Lakhlifa area of Casablanca (pictured), contain high levels poverty. AFP/Getty Images
Traffic passes outside the Morocco Mall during the inauguration ceremony for the 200 million Euro complex in Casablanca last year. The U.N. Development Index says that Morocco suffers from serious economic inequality -- a subject at the heart of many of the country's most popular homespun rap songs. AFP/Getty Images
With a shared interest in social and political reform, Morocco's rappers and young pro-reform activists have become closely aligned. Here, activists from Morocco's student-led February 20 protest movement, responsible for protests held just before the king announced plans to change the constitution, demonstrate in Rabat, the country's capital, in 2011. AFP/Getty Images
Rapper Mouad Belghouat, better known as "Al Haqed" ("The Enraged One"), became a figurehead for the pro-reform February 20 Movement when he was arrested in March 2011 for his song "Kilab Al Dawla" or "Dogs of the State," in which criticizes the police for brutality and corruption. Here, a protestor is pictured demanding the release of Belghouat, days after his arrest. AFP/Getty Images
Belghouat celebrates his release from the Oukacha prison in Casablanca on January 12, 2012, having been convicted of showing contempt toward public servants in the exercise of their duty. AFP/Getty Images