(Milan, 1993 -)

(By Rachel Grasso, University of Toronto)

Ghali Amdouni, stage name Ghali, was born in Milan on May 21, 1993, to Tunisian immigrant parents and was raised in the Baggio neighborhood of Milan. His mother worked as a school custodian and his father, who was incarcerated when Ghali was a child, later returned to Tunisia and stopped contact with his family in Italy. Despite the lack of communication with his father, Ghali has “an incredible friendship” with his mother who has always supported him both personally and in his music career, something he mentions often in his songs. As the journalist and author Roberto Saviano noted, Ghali’s songs are characterized by his distinctive language: “Ghali sings in Italian with a Milanese accent, in French with a Maghrebi accent and in Tunisian [Arabic] with an Italian accent…a single bolus that passes from sentence to sentence, from language to language, naturally.” The plurilingualism in Ghali’s music that Saviano describes also includes English, Spanish, and German. Thanks to his multicultural identity (Tunisian, Italian, Muslim, POC), Ghali narrates a new and contemporary Italy, giving it a voice and representation in Italian music that it did not previously have. Regarding his identity, as he says in his song “Cara Italia” (translation: Dear Italy), Ghali defines himself as “a little bit Italian, a little bit Tunisian” and is sure that what he sings about “is the story of many kids born and/or raised in Italy, or of those who have just arrived in this country.” While Ghali is an important figure for second-generation Italians, compared to other G2 rappers, his lyrics contain more subtle political messages, which has allowed him to reach a high level of commercial success.

            Ghali became active in the music/trap scene of Milan in 2011 and performed with the stage names “Fobia” and “Ghali Foh.” However, he still does not define his music as “trap” because “trap comes from a certain urban context, from a certain lifestyle that doesn’t have anything to do with ours.” In addition, he does not try to imitate American or French rappers, but rather prefers to create his own style. Also in 2011, he signed a contract with Tanta Roba, Gué Pequeno’s label, and went on tour with Fedez. In 2013, he published an independent mixtape, titled Leader Mixtape, in which he collaborated with Maruego (another second-generation Italian artist), Sfera Ebbasta, and the producer Charlie Charles. His frequent activity on YouTube and Instagram helped his popularity grow, and later in 2017 he released two albums, titled Album and Lunga vita a Sto. “Sto” is the name of his label that he founded also in 2017. These albums contain various songs with themes of immigration, such as “Wily Wily,” “Ora d’aria,” and “Mamma.” In 2018, he released a very important single “Cara Italia” in which he speaks about his love for Italy despite the racism and xenophobia he has experienced. Also in 2018, he released the single “Zingarello” as well as the single “Peace & Love” with Charle Charles and Sfera Ebbasta. In 2019, he released additional singles like “I love you,” “Turbococco,” “Hasta la vista,” and “Flashback.” In January of 2020, he released the single “Boogieman (feat. Salmo)” and in February of 2020, he released his most recent album DNA. During the summer of 2020, Ghali spoke and performed at the Black Lives Matter protests in Milan as well as spoke out on social media regarding the racially motivated murder of Willy Monteiro Duarte [1] in September of 2020. In June of 2021, he released his most recent single “Chiagne Ancora (feat. LIBERATO [2] & J Lord [3]), which represents an important collaboration between Milanese, Neapolitan, and second-generation Italian artists who utilize the languages and dialects that represent their various cultures. Ghali’s fans eagerly await his next album and may stay up to date on his upcoming projects by checking his Instagram that is updated daily. 


1. Willy Monteiro Duarte was a 21-year-old black Italian who was born in Rome to parents from the African island nation of Cape Verde. He was killed during a fight in Colleferro, a city on the outskirts of Rome, on September 6, 2021, after intervening to rescue a friend who was being beaten up. He was then beaten fatally himself. Following his murder, four white Italians were arrested, including two brothers with police records and a martial arts background (Gabriele and Marco Bianchi, ages 26 and 24; Mario Pincarelli, age 22; Francesco Belleggia, age 23).

2. LIBERATO is an anonymous singer-songwriter from Naples whose music combines the neomelodic tradition of the Neapolitan song with R&B and electronica. At any public performance, he wears a blue bomber jacket over a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled up to cover his head and a handkerchief to cover his face.
3. J Lord is a black Italian rapper who was born and raised in Afragola (near Naples) to Ghanaian immigrant parents. His mastery of the Neapolitan dialect, authentic lyrics that describe life in the periphery of Naples, and powerful beats, combined with his strategic use of social media, have catapulted him to fame and led to collaborations with important artists, like Ghali and Gué Pequeno.


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Winfeld, Nicole. “Italy shaken by brutal beating death of young Black man.” Associated Press, 12 September 2020.

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