There is a tradition of music videos that you cannot tell whether they are short films or, in this case, musical promotional videos. Among them, one can list the epic videos made by M.I.A., The Blaze and PNL. Now DJ Snake will have to be added to this prestigious list. Indeed, the most listened-to French artist in the world, who has worked with Lady Gaga and Kanye West, has just released a music video that is more of a short film than a simple YouTube product – the video has already reached over 23 million views since it was uploaded on the platform on May 31st.
Titled Disco Maghreb, the track and video pay tribute to the DJ Snake’s Algerian roots – he was born in Paris to a French father and an Algerian mother. On Twitter, the 35-year-old producer explained that he imagined Disco Maghreb “as a bridge between different generations and origins, linking North Africa, the Arab world and beyond... This is a love letter to my people”. In a press release, the artist claims that he wanted to witness “the energy of globalized youth, traditional dances, and the spirit of jubilation on screen. At the same time, [this video] captures the angst and desire for freedom manifested by a hyperconnected generation of young women and men from the Middle East, North Africa, and everywhere else”.
The video was shot in Oran and Algiers in Climat de France, a working-class neighborhood known for its rich colonial history, by French director Elias Belkeddar along with filmmaker and videographer Romain Gavras (M.I.A., Jay-Z, Kanye West...) as creative supervisor. Oscillating between tradition and modernity, the video invites us into an Algerian cassette shop before taking us on a trip to a lively wedding, steep rocks, a camel race or even on the road, among young Algerians wearing Nike TN sneakers and Adidas flip-flops while riding mopeds.
Raï music is at the heart of this hit, which mixes electronic music and oriental sounds in the manner of the French duo Acid Arab and the Syrian singer Omar Souleyman. The title “Disco Maghreb” refers to the Oran-based record company and shop of the same name run by the legendary Boualem Disco Maghreb. This latter contributed to the popularity of Raï in the 1980s by producing “Cheb” artists. At the end of DJ Snake's music video, Cheb Khaled's voice resonates in what remains the most poetic part of the video. To see his tribute to the bitter end, the DJ and producer who will perform at the Parc des Princes on June 11th has unveiled the cover of his single, which rewrites the codes of raï cassette tapes of the 1980s and 1990s. An aesthetic and human approach that is very appealing. Already shared by actor Omar Sy and singer Elli Medeiros on their respective social media, Disco Maghreb seems to have already become a unifying visual and musical work in just a few days.
Disco Maghreb (2022) by DJ Snake, available on every streaming platform. Live at the Parc des Princes in Paris on June 11th, 2022.