Last year, following what felt like an uptick in the decontextualized appropriation of Arab aesthetics, Mohamed Sqalli and Ilyes Griyeb created NAAR, a "post-cultural" collective among whose ambitions is to "advise, produce and promote projects carried out with artists who struggle to make their voices heard in Western countries."
Among the first of NAAR's projects is work with a crew of Moroccan 'trap' artists — artists whose work is wildly popular locally but only on the outskirts of mainstream culture. Premiering today on The FADER is the Griyeb-directed video for "Money Call," by Shayfeen, Madd, and French artist Laylow. It's taken from a full-length album due out soon and produced during a NAAR residency in Casablanca this past October.
"Shayfeen, Madd and Laylow discovered they were on the same page artistically and their featuring turned out to be natural. In early January, the artists flew from Paris or drove from Casablanca to gather in the city of Meknes to shoot the music video," explained Sqalli.
"It immerses the viewer in unusual scenes and landscapes, in a half-rural Morocco where business is at a standstill and where eyes, as the satellite dishes that abound on the roofs, are turned towards Europe. That Europe from where people import damaged cars to spruce them up and gain an added value. That Europe that comes back in everyday conversations: what's the latest trick to get the visa? How is the cousin who followed his luck there doing? When is the long-awaited Western Union transfer due?"
Watch the clip above, and read more about NAAR here.