Moroccan rapper ElGrande Toto says sorry for cannabis comments

AFP , Sunday 23 Oct 2022

Star Moroccan rapper ElGrande Toto on Sunday apologised for causing offence through recent public statements in which he acknowledged using cannabis.

ElGrande Toto
Moroccan rapper ElGrande Toto, also known as Taha Fahssi, holds a press conference with his lawyer Abdelfattah Zahrach in Rabat, on 23 October 2022. (Photo: AFP)

 

His original comments had sparked an outcry in the country.

"I offer my apologies to anyone offended by my words, starting with the authorities and my public," ElGrande Toto, whose real name is Taha Fahssi, told a packed press conference.

"Rap is a particular language -- perhaps I did not make good use of it at the right time," the 26-year-old Casablancan rap star said.

In late September, ElGrande Toto had told reporters who gathered after one of his concerts "I smoke hash -- so what?

"It does not mean I set a bad example," he added at the time.

These comments, circulated widely on social media, provoked an outcry in the North African country.

Morocco is ranked the biggest producer of cannabis in the world by the UN. Use of the plant is banned at home, but the country is seeking to enter the global medicinal market.

The controversy "became too big and it is a valuable lesson for me," added the rapper, who was on Thursday forbidden from leaving Moroccan territory by the authorities and was also summoned by the police in Casablanca.

"We do not know the purpose of this summons," his lawyer, Abdelfattah Zahrach, said on Sunday.

A Belgium-based journalist has lodged a complaint against Fahssi, accusing him of "incitement to consume drugs" in the wake of his September comments, according to the journalist's lawyer, Mohamed Karrout.

ElGrande Toto was the most in demand Arab artist in the Maghreb in 2021 on Spotify, with more than 50 million downloads. His YouTube channel meanwhile maintains 2.7 million subscribers.

This year, ElGrande Toto collaborated with Egyptian top rapper Wegz in Msh Khalsa that gained over 5.2 million YouTube views in almost ten months.

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