Khaled album cover



This was the first album after Khaled dropped the “Cheb” from his name, and symbolized the beginning of a new era for the trailblazing Raï artist. For his self-titled record he enlisted Don Was and Michael Brook as producers, and worked with a host of musicians from Algeria, the UK, the US, and Belgium (Khaled himself plays keyboards, accordion, oud, and bendir on several tracks), incorporating soul, reggae, and funk into his Raï. “Didi” was a huge hit, with its smattering of Algerian percussion, earwormy synth, and funk groove; “El Arbi” is smooth and soulful, while “Ragda” has an unmistakable reggae bounce to it; Flamenco guitar and accordion work their way into songs like “Wahrane,” while songs like “Harai Harai” go back to a more traditional sound.

Megan Iacobini de Fazio

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