The Music of Intik

Intik is a well-known Algerian rap group made up of Youssef (Youss for short), Reda, Nabil and Samir. Their music is a blend of rap, reggae and Algerian melodies, with Algeria’s political unrest featured as a major theme in their lyrics.

Times were turbulent in Algeria in 1988. The young future members of Intik were amongst a crowd of Algerians when the military opened fire on the people on 5 October that year. It was from that moment that Youssef decided to begin rapping about the government and political issues. Interestingly, Youss was chiefly interested in reggae and ragga. Nabil, Samir and Reda were already experimenting with Arabic rap. They decided to form the group Intik and move to France, turning their anger and outrage into rhythms and words.

The group went straight to work, rapping in Arabic and French. Intik was discovered at a festival by IAM, a group of French rappers. In time, as the group became better known, other artists wanted to collaborate with Intik, but they decided to focus on creating their own music and not piggy-back off the success of others.

Intik was signed with Saint George/Sony records. They released their self-titled album in 1999 and then the album ‘Victoire’ in 2001. Youss maintains that the group’s message to people is essentially a call for peace. The name Intik in fact means “no problem” in Algerian slang. Because of the political nature of their lyrics, Intik did face some opposition from the Algerian government. In some cases certain songs were left off the albums released in Algeria so as not to cause too much of a stir.

If a fusion of chaabi, reggae and rap sounds interesting to you, why not look out for some recordings of Intik’s music.