SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 7 May 2021, Friday | النسخة العربية

Rapper Issam Harris wants to showcase Moroccan youth culture to the world with debut album ‘Crystal’

If you are an up-and-coming hip-hop artist, getting the attention of Travis Scott should be a cause for celebration.

Unless, that is, you felt the superstar took too keen an interest in your work.

It was a dilemma Moroccan rapper Issam Harris, 27, experienced when listening to Scott’s single Franchise.

Released in September 2020, the lurching rhythms and dark synths are more than similar to Harris’s Babylon, which he claims was recorded three months before Franchise.

While the idea that the Los Angeles star had the promising Moroccan on his radar seems unlikely, linking the two is Harris’s claim that both Franchise and Babylon shared members of the production crew.

Harris caused a regional stir when he went on his Instagram Live recently and displayed snippets of both songs, the production dates and personnel involved.

Neither Scott nor his management responded to the allegations.

Seemingly making his point, Harris now intends to move on.

“I would say that Travis probably heard the beat and obviously liked it and wanted to use it, but he wasn’t told by certain people that it was already mine,” he tells The National.

“But it was a good lesson for me in not trusting people and only believing in myself and my team.”

Fans of both artists can make up their minds when Harris drops Babylon as part of his debut album Crystal on Friday.

However, the song will only serve as a footnote and won’t be released as a single.

The bopping 2018 breakout single Trap Beldi amassed more than 18 million YouTube hits, while the witty and evocative videos for Hasni and Nike showcase the former photographer’s visual flair.

Now signed to major label Universal Music France, Harris aims to take his insights on Moroccan youth culture and quirks abroad.

“This is really what the album is for me, in that I can only rap about what I know and what I lived,” he says.

“I am trying to keep it as authentic as I can and while I know not many people will understand the words, they will at least feel it.”