By Riad Beladi
In the vibrant landscape of the Arab world’s music scene, one name has risen to the forefront, captivating audiences with a unique blend of raï, pop, rap, R&B, soul, and reggaeton. Abderraouf Derradji, better known by his stage name Soolking, has not only established himself as a versatile artist but has also become a symbol of success, resilience, and artistic innovation. Born in El Hammamet and raised in Staoueli, this Kabyle-origin artist has left an indelible mark on the global stage.
Early Life and Musical Roots:
Soolking’s journey into the world of music began at a young age, influenced by his father, a percussionist, who ignited his passion for music and dance. Growing up in the northern suburb of Algiers and later relocating to France in 2008 to pursue his dedication to dance, Soolking’s artistic evolution reflects a fusion of cultural influences and a commitment to self-expression.
The Africa Jungle Chapter:
Facing limited opportunities in France, Soolking returned to Algeria and found his artistic home within the rap group Africa Jungle. Adopting the stage name MC Sool, he contributed to the release of two albums, showcasing his versatility within the realm of rap. However, it was only a matter of time before Soolking’s talent would be discovered on a larger scale.
Solo Career and Affranchis Music:
In 2014, a Marseille producer recognized Soolking’s potential, prompting his return to France. The year 2016 marked the beginning of his solo career as he joined the Affranchis Music label, owned by rapper Sofiane. This transition proved to be a pivotal moment, setting the stage for a series of chart-topping successes that would follow.
Chart-Topping Singles and National Recognition:
Soolking’s rise to national recognition can be attributed to hit singles like “Milano,” “Guérilla,” and the emotionally charged “Dalida.” The latter, a tribute to the iconic French-Italian singer Dalida, not only showcases Soolking’s musical prowess but also pays homage to a legendary figure in the world of music. Both “Guérilla” and “Dalida” achieved remarkable success, earning diamond and platinum certifications from the Syndicat National de l’Édition Phonographique.
Fruit du démon and Gold Certification:
Soolking’s debut solo studio album, “Fruit du démon,” released on November 2, 2018, further solidified his position in the music industry. The album received a gold certification in France, a testament to the artist’s ability to connect with audiences on a profound level.