Moroccan rapper, Issam, first landed on the global radar through his 2018 single 'Trap Beldi', which seamlessly blended an authentic local Moroccan aesthetic with hard-hitting trap production, and became one of the first Moroccan trap songs to hit over 10 million views on YouTube alone. After signing a record deal with Universal Records earlier this year, it was announced yesterday that Issam has since been transferred to the French wing of UMG subsidiary Def Jam Island Records - home of such global rap heavyweights as Kanye West, Pusha T, Nas, Rihanna, Teyana Taylor, Q-Tip and YG, amongst many others.
Issam's move to Def Jam is an incredibly apparent marker of the increasing international recognition of the MENA rap scene and the rising pools of talent that had previously been disregarded by the western major labels like UMG, Sony, and Warner Music.
Alongside this announcement, Issam released 'Wjahna Deep', the first single off his upcoming debut LP 'Crystal'. Produced by Adam K Beats and Achraf Baati, 'Wjahna Deep' is a melancholic and atmospheric guitar-based trap tune that channels Rai-influenced tonalities over speaker-thumping trap percussion. The single see's Issam lyrically tackle the massive recent changes in his life, touching on a dark past and pushing forward into an unknown future.
The album art for 'Wjahna Deep' sees a rather flamboyantly dressed Issam (styled by MAISON ARTC MOROCCO and photographed by Ham Robati) gazing intensely into the distance, channeling a new, futuristic aesthetic through both the costume design and trippy typographics courtesy of Egyptian multidisciplinary artist Kareem Lotfy (who's ambient works have were sampled by Kanye West on his 2018 album ye)
In a press release about the single, Issam compared 'Wjahna Deep' to "cross cultural perspectives like the moon and sun that never meet but controls Earth's energy, and life could not exist without it."
Though 'Wjahna Deep' is only the first single to emerge from 'Crystal', we already foresee an exciting shift in direction for the young artist.
Check out our previous in-depth article on the art and artistry of Issam.
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