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Sameer Ahmad

Rap artist, musician, speaker
June 16 - July 16, 2022

Dorian Cusy

Hector De La Vallée

  • Music
  • Miami

“I don’t set out to create oppositions and I don’t do black and white; I unite, I assemble.”

I am a teacher, often working with refugee children, and I’m also an artist. I have been rapping since the 2000s, when I discovered the genre through skateboarding videos. The two practices are very similar, particularly in how they both value technique. Rap is often associated with combat sports, yet it’s a completely standalone practice, as is skateboarding. It’s not just sheer confrontation; it’s also about style. That’s really what got me hooked from the beginning: the playful performance aspect of rap in contrast with the dominant trend at the time which focused more on vindication than on esthetics.

I am known for my writing style, but in reality I don’t really write. For me, it’s all pure spoken word, which is most certainly tied to my Iraqi heritage. I go through phases induced by different moods that come to me like bright flashes. When something doesn’t feel natural enough, I scrap it. It all has to stay very instinctive and jazz-like. When working with the French language, I am more concerned with sound than substance. If I had to compare it to something, I’d say my art is closer to Tarantino than the Parnassian poetic movement. When I start to compose, I keep five or six cult scenes in mind and develop everything around them. Once I have the backing track, I can see what kind of setting I want the scenes to take place in. In the case of my latest song, Bleu Delta (from the original soundtrack of the graphic novel Bayou Bastardise), it was Louisiana.

Based in Montpellier, rap artist Sameer Ahmad has written five albums: “Justin Herman Plaza,” “Perdants Magnifiques,” “Apaches,” the diptych “Un Amour Suprême : Jovontae & Ezekiel” and “Effendi.” As a child, he emigrated from France to Iraq then to Algeria, along with his father, a political refugee, and moved to France in 1985. He first got into rap after discovering the world of skateboarding in the city of Flers, in the Orne department (northwestern France).

A Miami property developer has said that “the whole city will be underwater” a hundred years from now. It’s already too late to go back, so we are all rushing to make the most of the little time we have left and enjoy life’s splendor and luxury without feeling too guilty. Time is money and there’s not much time left. It’s like a new golden calf. All of this produces a sense of urgency in this megalopolis, where everything is fleeting, is important; where precious moments are rare and often short-lived. In embracing this unique energy drawn right from the source, I will begin writing in the hopes of working on a potential production after I return to France.

Alongside Arnaud Vvolf, the head of the record label, Bad Cop, Bad Cop, who has been involved in the artistic direction of all my projects, I want to meet with as many local people as possible in order to fully grasp the reality of life in Miami. By collaborating with Miami residents, musicians, academics, cultural operators, social partners and so forth, we hope to create as many connections with local artists as possible. We would also like to film a video and/or photo essay while on location, as a backdrop for one of the songs that will be composed during this residency. We hope to turn this experience into something tangible once we return home, which will hopefully take the form of a 7-inch vinyl recording, accompanied by a live performance.

The water keeps on rising in Miami. The same goes for housing prices, especially for residences located above sea level, where all of the most affluent people go to live. This is causing the brand-new phenomenon of “climate gentrification.” Film stars and politicians are buying up private islands at extortionate prices, knowing full well that they will ultimately disappear. Meanwhile, the poorer classes are being relentlessly pushed out towards the fringes of the city. I want to examine the different questions related to these issues. How can we live on grounds that are doomed to disappear in the not-too-distant future? What does this actually mean for us? How will we deal with the sewage flooding the streets for days on end? Miami is a point of entry to the United States for the Caribbean and Latino Diasporas but, surprisingly, the vast majority of those who fled socialism in their home countries vote Republican. This is not at all what one would expect, at least from an outside perspective. As the son of a refugee, these issues are of great importance to me. I would like to explore them further, by examining the interactions between environment, politics, and culture.

In partnership with

La Place

La Place, a place of expression dedicated to hip hop music, has for mission to promote all the aesthetics and artistic practices of the hip hop cultural movement, as well as its extensions in the visual arts or cinema, through actions of diffusion, transmission, support to creation and accompaniment. Located in the heart of Paris, under Les Halles’ « Canopée », La Place is equipped with a concert hall, a broadcasting and creation studio, an exhibition space, a bar and has 8 creation spaces, adaptable to all practices (recording, rehearsal, video editing, graphic arts, dance…)


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