A rapper arrested in Morocco earlier this week on accusations of incitement to drug consumption, violence, and defamation was released on bail Wednesday pending a trial, according to his lawyer.
Taha Fahssi, known as ElGrandeToto, was detained late Monday after legal complaints were filed against him by musicians, a journalist, and a police officer.
The Casablanca-based rapper, 26, became a household figure in the Moroccan rap scene when he released his debut album, “Caméléon,” in 2021. The 17-song album garnered mixed reviews but achieved significant popularity on Spotify, making him the most searched Arab artist in the Middle East-North Africa region on the streaming platform.
Over the years, Toto has pushed boundaries. He appeared on Instagram while smoking hashish and flaunting his numerous tattoos. He filmed himself drunkenly carrying a bottle of alcohol at one of his gigs. This caused widespread criticism and condemnation among Moroccans, with many believing that his actions set a bad example for his audience, mainly children.
Then, speaking at a press conference last month during a music festival held in honor of the city of Rabat being named the capital of African culture, the rapper bragged publicly about his hashish use.
“I smoke hashish, so what?” he replied defiantly to a question asked by a journalist. “Do I get it from somewhere else? “No!” he added. It’s just around the corner. We are barely 300 kilometers away from the source of cannabis, and it’s well known worldwide. People come here from all around the world to smoke it. ”
A few hours later, Toto used profanity at his show in Rabat, drawing more criticism.
Cannabis has been cultivated in Morocco for centuries and the country is one of the world’s biggest cannabis producers, but cannabis use is illegal in Morocco and across the region.
The rapper later expressed regret during a press conference. He said that his comments about hashish and his use of coarse language onstage had been misinterpreted.