YUNG SELECTS: Celebrating SWANA Talent with Morocco’s Salem Aya

Salem Aya's discerning ear and impeccable taste are on full display as she introduces us to the diverse sounds of the region.

YUNG SELECTS: Celebrating SWANA Talent with Morocco’s Salem Aya
Menna Shanab

Hailing from Casablanca, Moroccan-American rapper-guitarist Salem Aya highlights the multifaceted sounds from across MENA’s sonic landscape in this week’s YUNG Selects.

“These carefully selected tracks serve as reflections of my personal daily rotation, while also serving as testaments to the unparalleled creativity and versatility of SWANA artists from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt and Palestine,” says Aya.

Salem Aya

On her musical odyssey, Salem Aya has grappled with the various facets of her identity and creativity, seeking refuge in the harmonious amalgamation of hip-hop and metal’s contrasting elements. Her lyrical prowess and penchant for macabre themes have challenged and defied the conventional norms of Moroccan society, paving the way for a new wave of boundary-pushing music.

In her latest project, “Qandïsha”, which features fellow Moroccan rapper Lemhllwess, Aya merges her Maghrebi heritage with dark, dominant, drill-type 808s, seeking to showcase her most authentic self. The accompanying music video, featuring Aya as the mythical Qandïsha creature, serves as a tribute to Moroccan culture and mysticism.

Check out last week’s YUNG SELECTS by Egyptian producer Lil Baba here.