Like the Deserts Missed M.I.A.

Published February 3, 2012

 

 

Sandy vistas, bombed-out baked brick housing, Arabic graffiti, AK-47s, burning oil wells, gold-encrusted, holographic chains. Ah, the wonders of Middle Eastern life—at least as viewed by London-bred rapper/singer M.I.A., who today released the video for her latest single, “Bad Girls.” Shot in Morocco and directed by Romain Gavras, the video is yet another take on the uber-politicized, possibly somewhat offensive baller-culture we’ve all come to associate with the controversial emcee.

One part “Can’t Hold Me Down” and one part The Fast and the Furious, “Bad Girls” features a boastful M.I.A., as she and a band of headscarf-clad BMW enthusiasts cruise the desert sands, looking to redefine the phrase “ghost-ride the whip.” (M.I.A. can file her nails while ghost-riding, forever upping the ante on pale YouTube competitors.) After a few cinematic establishing shots, the synths kick in, the neon starts to buzz, and M.I.A commences her usual swagged-out wordplay—a surprisingly fresh addition to the rapper’s growing catalog of striking videos.