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From Morocco to Sudan, NorfAfrica Reveals the Hottest North African Rappers

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Anyone with their finger on the pulse of North Africa’s music scene can testify that 2023 was a stellar year for hip hop. From Morocco and Algeria to Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan, the region is a rising powerhouse in the international rap scene. And if the past 12-months are any indication, the once-underground genre has surged forwards, taking giant strides towards achieving mainstream levels of success.

Dominating both local and global soundscapes in a relatively short period of time, Maghrebi streets found its voice aptly embodied by those who know it best. In between chart-topping singles, lyrical prowess, and infectious beats shelled daily, a new generation of local rappers have managed to simultaneously conquer the hearts and charts of a part of the world that is finally making itself heard.

Even those who aren’t fans of rap would be hard-pressed to not stumble across this pocket of music that carries a treasure trove of competing artists who can all stake their claim to the title of legend. But as their respective discographies get longer and their influence continues to spread, cutting through the generated noise can be more challenging than expected.

As we usher in the new year, we sat down with digital cultural collective NorfAfrica to gain insight into the dynamics that took place in 2023. According to the platform’s founder— who has managed to build one of the most vital hubs for North African creatives online with 148,000 Instagram followers— despite the ongoing political and economic plaguing of the Arab World, the region is “experiencing a renaissance that is all the richer for the contributions of brilliant individuals.”


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Asked to compile a list of the 10 best artists of the past year, Norf revealed that the task was no easy feat due to the abundance of promising and established talent while also having to recognize artists who might not have achieved commercial success yet took part in the artistic evolution of the genre. On that topic, the founder explained that the shortlisted artists were selected for a range of diverse reasons with the commonality of all having created some kind of momentum “that is impossible to ignore.”

“Each artist listed has a career path and body of work worth examining,” NorfAfrica told MILLE. “Some artists have pushed the envelope with their sound and brought along their way a sonic contribution that is new to music on a global level, while others were chosen for their prolific runs and domination across borders regionally,” he added, emphasizing on the wealth of good music there is to tune into.

From the seasoned veterans who continue to push to the emerging talents keen on toppling the established order, below, the 10 hottest North African rappers, according to NorfAfrica.


If this was a numbered list, Samara would sit at the top. Having released over 36 singles over the past 12-months, his journey to the top of the rap game has been felt across North Africa and the Middle East. A one-man army, his output was unmatched in 2023, with every track easily generating well over a million views. His personality and authenticity are the driving force behind his music as most rappers who broach a fraction of the fame Samara has typically regress into a corny pop sound. Remaining true to his artistry, his accomplishments over the last few years deserve to be studied as he is undoubtedly the most significant artist in the Tunisian rap scene since Balti.”


“A leading figure in the region’s rap scene, ElGrandeToto’s hit-making skills haven’t been left to rest in 2023 as the Moroccan artist kept on his path towards sonic dominance. Invited to tease his sophomore album on COLORS in October 2023, the Casablanca native’s second full-length project 27 further cemented his position as a force in North Africa’s soundscape. It even claimed a third position on Spotify’s Top Albums Debut Global chart. Marking a seamless and successful continuation from Cameleon through introspection and ego-trip, Toto’s past 12-months were nothing short of outstanding. Boasting features from European megastars including Hamza, Morad, Beny Jr, Unknown T, Oxlande, and Rododasosoa, we are only left wondering how he will outdo himself in 2024.”

Hady Moamer

“As both a vocalist and producer, Hady Moamer arguably holds the title of most talented musician in North Africa. Grammy-nominated under the moniker “Jean Bleu,” he has produced a slew of tracks for some of the industry’s most esteemed artists including Drake, J.Cole, and Conway the Machine amongst others. This year, the Cairo-based multihyphenate released his second project, ZEKRAYAT EL MOSTABAL, a groundbreaking offering that blends Egyptian folkloric art with contemporary UK genres from Garage to 2Step. If we had to bet, our money would be on Hady Moamer to become one of the most influential figures in the region’s music scene.”


“Regularly featured on NORF over the past two years, KTYB embodies everything we value in an artist. While others have attempted to break into Western markets by hopping on drill, Jersey club, house, or garage instrumentals, Ktyb has for years braved his own path through relentless experimentation. He had a breakout year in 2023, finding a listenership amongst music lovers abroad and dominating within Tunisia with his breakout songs NESSI ENNOUM and MESTWI. The veteran artist is getting his flowers, and has been raising the bar with every song and visual released over the last four years.”

Hleem Taj Alser

“Sudan is North Africa’s sleeping giant, and at the helm of its music scene sits Hleem Taj Alser. Beyond the popularity he enjoys in his homeland, his praises are sung out of several more countries from the region. Given his background (Egypt, where he is now based, and Libya, where he spent a significant portion of his life) and current trajectory, the young star is primed for a takeover. We predict him to become a favorite across North Africa as his songs possess a deep realism that makes you feel his music with an immediacy that is rare to find.”

Didine Canon 16

“The anti-hero of North African rap, Didine Canon 16 has had the streets of Algeria in a headlock for many years now. A lone wolf, he has won over the public by sheer willpower, rap prowess, and musical output, boasting a streak only comparable to his Tunisian counterpart and frequent collaborator, Samara.”

Mansor Uknown

“Mansor Unknown is a legend in Benghazi. Hailing from the Al Kish neighborhood, he started his career as part of the Bermuda Gz rap duo with childhood friend KA7LA. This year, he released one of the best albums in Libyan rap history with DARI. The project showcases his versatility and what we think is one of the strongest pens in the game. He enjoys a cult following in Libya, with his coarse vocals and unique lyrical style being the closest thing we have seen to the bedouin poetry Eastern Libya is famous for. The linguistic tradition in Libya has great potential as it bridges the Maghreb and the Mashreq, and is understandable by those who speak classical Arabic as well as Darija.”


“Over the past two years, Bo9al has consistently upheld the principles of hard work and dedication. Culminating in the release of his debut EP, Sbitar in December, the 23-year-old Moroccan artist cruised through different genres and styles. Surprising both fans and followers, he effortlessly sped past contemporaries in boom-bap, trap, and drill. He’s a unique persona in the North African rap scene. He embodies a different strain in the region–one that runs counter to the cleaner aesthetic that dominated for years. Special mention to Poufa, an ethereal drug ballad that we believe is one of the best video clips of 2023.”

Dizzy Dros

“Over 10-years into his career, and Moroccan rap legend Dizzy DROS is more popular than he has ever been. For Dizzy, every release is an event. While he dropped only one song this year, it caused such an uproar that he had to make our list. The video for M3a L3echrane was viewed over 66 million times on YouTube. These are Bad Bunny numbers.”

Junior Hassen

“The story of Junior Hassen is larger than life. Speaking the language of the streets, he emerged as a lightning rod in 2023. The Sousse native struck a nerve in the region that was impossible to ignore, by both listeners and local authorities. Following the release of his second track Ramallah, in which the artist touched on everything from the Tunisian government to Saddam Hussein and Palestine, he became wanted for being a “gang leader.” Shortly after, Junior Hassen illegally immigrated to Italy by boat while documenting it on social media. Upon arrival in Italy, he continued to release music, collaborating with stars like Daly Taliany and growing his legend. In one year, he gained half a million YouTube subscribers and hasn’t lost steam since his debut.”

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