Tunisian Hip Hop artists Weld el 15 and Emino are currently on the run from their country’s government for their involvement in rhyming about social issues.
Bijan Mashhadi, an associate of the rappers who has collaborated with Pacewon, has explained the matter to HipHopDX. “We basically have dealt with [the] Tunisian Hip Hop scene since 2006,” said Mashhadi. “After doing the shows, we got lucky enough to also scout local talent and that’s where we came upon Weld el 15 around 2009 and we signed him in 2010.”
Masshadi continued, explaining that Weld el 15 collaborated with Tunisian producer KillahMuSick to record the track “Wakef E Tharb,” in which Weld el 15 asked police to stop hitting their own people:
The track resulted in a negative reaction from police, said Masshadi. “The cops got pissed and stormed a little get-together Weld el 15 was having with some other rappers and they caught them smoking hash joints… In Tunisia, getting caught with has is minimum one year in prison…but this was intentional to make a point to all other rappers.”
After his stint in prison, Masshadi explained that Weld el 15 was angry, and made another track titled “Boulicia Kleb,” which means “Cops are Dogs”:
“After that video and song got released, cops arrested [the video’s director and the actress in the video], who are both serving six months in jail,” explained Masshadi.
Now Weld el 15, and rapper Emino, who was simply thanked in the credits section at the end of the music video, have each been sentenced to two years in prison.
“Both rappers are in hiding and were still releasing songs and videos. Cops are looking for them and the interior ministry wants them to turn themselves in,” said Masshadi.
“Right now, the most wanted [men] in Tunisia are not rebels, not corrupt politicians, not murderers. They are rappers,” he added.
In response to the two-year sentence, the at-large Emino has released the “Wanted” freestyle: