Tunisian hip-hop artist is headlining a music concert in Tripoli

Sanfara's explicit lyrics and risque performances often take center stage

Tunisian hip-hop artist Sanfara

On Friday, Tunisian hip-hop artist, singer and songwriter goes by the name Sanfara performed some of his top hits to a crowd at Abu Salim district, Tripoli, celeberating the 10th anniversary of the liberation of the city from the authoritarian regime of Gaddafi.

Thousands gathered Friday for the first concert in the capital Tripoli since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to watch performance by Tunsian Sanfara, the masses secured by the Stabilisation Support Authority’s forces.

“I am shocked by the acceptance and euphoria this has caused. I have years of working on this and I don’t remember anything similar. There has not been an artist, band or concert that has raised this interest and passion,” said Sami Badwai, from the firm coordinating the Abu Salim show.

The concert was free and open to the public. The event was livestreamed via internet and some local TV Channels.

Rap became popular in Libya in the late 1990s with the smuggling of cassettes and CDs of American artists like Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and Snoop Dogg.

What made Libyans latch on to rap were lyrics against police brutality, persecution, and substance abuse – real-life issues facing Libyans under the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, but never discussed or reported in the news.

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