Friday, January 16, 2009

Why Cheb Khaled's "Didi" Is Flyer Than Your Moms

It's the early 90's, and Timbs, booty shorts, and stretch body suits that barely reach...the thighs are permeating youth culture through popular music videos.  Scantily clad teens are gyrating to electronic rhythms and funky baselines, and to the chagrin of conservative elders nationwide, young male artists are talking more and more about their love lives with curvaceous visual aid for days. And while these problems may ring a few western bells, they were similar to the conditions under which Algerian-born Cheb Khaled, the man dubbed the "King of Rai" music, wrote and recorded the classic "Didi," produced in 1992 by Detroit native Don Was (not to be confused with Donwill, har har. yeah i know...). The genre was known for addressing cultural taboos, with Khaled's songs at the forefront during the eighties.

I first heard "Didi" a few months ago on a CD with no track information whatsoever. But I bugged anyone I knew that spoke Arabic to give me the story on the song, and finally got what I needed.  I don't know what I like most about "Didi," the borderless instrumentation, Khaled's pleading delivery, the cat with the blue du-rag in the circle of musicians, or the fact that the video reminds me of this. Whatever it is, it's most definitely flyer than your moms.

(Sorry this is the best version I could find.)

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