When he’s not on the air, Go 95.3’s midday host DJ Bonics is the tour DJ for rapper Wiz Khalifa. Here is his second entry for GoMN.com documenting life on the road. (His last entry was from Korea.)
I never really thought about going to Morocco before.So when it showed up on the Wiz show schedule, I was surprised. I didn’t have any knowledge of the country except that it lies in Northern Africa.
Leading up to the trip, I purposely didn’t do any research just to see what I would take away from the quick 36-hour excursion. We were set to perform at one of the biggest music festivals in the world, the Mawazine Festival.Here are a few things I learned pretty quickly when getting to Morocco.
- Morocco is officially known as “The Kingdom of Morocco.”
- Morocco's monarch has put people to jail for publicly insulting him.
- Arabic and French are the main languages used in Morocco.
- Morocco is heavily influenced by France because of prior colonization.
- Morocco is a majority Islamic country.
Even if we are only in a country for a small amount of time, I find any opportunity to explore.I was hooked up with a local student in Rabat named Nadia who showed me around the capital city.I was tempted to head to Marrakech or Casablanca for a quick trip, but I was told about a lesser-known city that was not as “touristy” named Fes.So I got up early in the morning on the day of the show to take a quick visit.I wanted to see the older, more-traditional side of Morocco.
Upon arriving in Fes, I visited the “Medina quarter,” aka “old city.” Picture walled, narrow and car-free streets packed with markets, vendors, food, clothing, and Moroccan goods. Walking through the Medina gave me sensory overload.There were so many colors, smells, and all types of people. Locals in their daily routine mixed with tourists trying to take it all in. I tried some local fare, including boiled snails and a camel burger.Let’s just say that both were unique.
Perhaps the most memorable part was a leather tannery where the hides of cows, sheep, goats and camels are cleaned and dyed. In Fes, this is without any modern machinery.Picture huge stone vessels, which look like giant pots or tubs, filled with different dyes and liquids.They literally soak each hide for days to clean and color each hide, and cow urine and pigeon poop are natural cleaning and softening agents.
The colors in each stone vessel are all natural. Soak in henna to turn the leather orange, indigo to blue, poppy flower to red, saffron to yellow, so on and so forth. It's a 1,000-year-old process. The smell is pretty rank, so we were given mint leaves to shove up our nostrils. I’ve never seen or smelled anything like this.
After a two-hour drive back to Rabat, I prepared to hit the stage with Wiz. The crowd was massive, – more than double the turnout for the previous night's headliner, Ellie Goulding.It was sea of people getting a full experience of something that normally you would not see in Rabat, an American rapper.Wiz and I gave it our all. He censored himself a little bit and definitely did not light up on stage. But the crowd loved it. I was surprised by how many songs they sang. "Black and Yellow," "See You Again," and "Young, Wild and Free" really made the audience holler.It was an amazing night, a incredible trip (recap here). And a stunning country… well… Kingdom.