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The Soundtrack to Algeria’s Liberation

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Thirty-year-old Algerian rapper Soolking was just hitting his stride before the world was put on lockdown. His commercially appealing blend of pop, reggaeton and Algerian raï (think Arabic and then add Auto-Tune) has generated a dizzying one billion streams on YouTube, with millions of them generated in the UK; hailing from the small coastal neighbourhood of Staouéli in Algiers and now living in Paris after time spent there as an undocumented migrant, his story crosses borders and generations. But Soolking is not just another rapper with big numbers on streaming platforms. His music has come to be a source of pride for a nation who up until just a few weeks ago had been taking to the streets every week to protest since early last year, when Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth presidential term.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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