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Think "Algerian music" and most people come up with the giants of rai: Cheb Khaled, Cheb Mami, Faudel, Chaba Zahounia, etc. But Mbs, aka Le Micro Brise Le Silence, are looking to change all that with their 2005 self-titled debut. Redone, Med, Rabah and Yacine know how to rap, channeling the best of American rap, from Biggie to underground artists, and filtering it through Arabic and French influences. The result is more sonically mature than much American hip-hop -- gorgeous Algerian traditional influences mingle with seriously strong flows. Mbs take on Algerian political and social problems, and while their critique is strong, they're also consistent peace advocates. Ones to watch.

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