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Guest Feature: Frenchy Says Relax
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Calling all writers! I wanted to share an opportunity with Liner Notes passed along by my friend Alex Siber for anyone looking to write more about music:
Liner Notes is a dedicated zone for music stories that extend bridges of solidarity, immortalize cultural moments, guide ears beyond their comfort zones, and fuel new trains of thought. Initial stories have included scene reports from Brazil, Tunisia, Cairo, and Zambia; critical essays about the state of music streaming; and an interview with the co-founder of Teenage Engineering. All stories are backed up via Arweave, a trustable storage network that aims to combat the mass erasure plaguing the internet. The Liner Notes team is accepting pitches for new stories. Learn more about their editorial program here.
If anyone is interested, let me know and I’d be happy to help make an introduction!
Okay friends, let’s get right into it. I am so excited to introduce this week’s guest feature: Frenchy Says Relax!
Frenchy Says Relax AKA Kareem AlFuwaires is a DJ and curator from Kuwait. With an innate talent for discovering unique sounds and an infectious love for music, his approach to music curation has helped him build an online platform with a substantial following on social media, captivating music enthusiasts around the globe.
Many of you may already follow Frenchy Says Relax on Instagram, so you know what I mean when I say it’s always such good vibes and energy from Kareem and his page. I mean truly, he does so much for music and music appreciation, and he’s made such a name for himself. Kareem is a big reason why something like Sa’alouni El Nas can exist. It’s an honor to have him share some of his go-to music, and let me tell y’all he did not disappoint:
1. What is your favorite song right now?
Has to be “Wana” by nour. Love when artists from the region are exploring different sounds, but stay authentic and true to their own persona. While the lyrics are quite sad and the production is very warm and cheerful, somehow nothing seems out of place. The music video is also super creative and shows us a glimpse of nour’s world. Also I can't stop listening to “Little Things” by Jorja Smith.
2. What’s your go-to song for all your feels?
“Out Getting Ribs” by King Krule will always be my go-to. That guitar riff is iconic and evokes so many emotions. Personally, there aren’t many songs that I can relate to that take you on a journey while exploring the despair and hardships of a relationship, and this one just hits home. King Krule is one of the great songwriters our time.
3. Name a song that reminds you of home.
Growing up in Kuwait, everyone here knows how legendary Miami Band is. There’s so many classic tracks to choose from and honestly you can’t go wrong with any choice, but my personal favorite is “Ya Helokum”. From the build-up of the intro to the high energy points, the feel-good lyrics, this song never fails to get everyone up and dancing. We need a Miami Band NPR Tiny Desk Concert immediately. For the culture. (Another honorable mention is “Ya Ghaly” by Guitarra!)
4. Name a song you know all the words to.
I have fond memories of being a kid on the way to school with my mom listening to “Kiss Of Life” by Sade. Forever grateful that I was raised up in a household with good music that has stuck with me to this day. Also one of my proudest achievements is being able to rap Kool G Rap’s “It’s A Shame”, which really tests my breath control.
5. Name a song that gets you really hype and ready to go.
I promise if you wake up every morning and the first song you listen to is “We Gonna Make It” by Jadakiss & Styles P, you can achieve anything. From The Alchemist’s production, to the back and forth bars by Jada and P, this track is a masterpiece.
Big shout out to Kareem for joining and sharing his song selections! All of Kareem’s songs will be included in this week’s playlist, so be sure to take a listen. Be sure to follow Frenchy Says Relax on Instagram IMMEDIATELY!
What I’m Listening To
🎧 Middle Eastern, North African, & Diaspora Flows 🎧
Stainless - Adamillion featuring Harib Sami
Meshwar - Sandy Henoud
Ayam - Soulja
Pour nous - Imen Es featuring Rsko
What A Fool - Meryem Saci & Akhenaton
3DABI - Draganov
Mel Awal - 3askalany
Bogayo - Iguidr
Héréditaire - Djalil Palermo
Lyam - Nessyou featuring Lina Guessoussi
Sun Goes Down (PPADR Remix) - HASNA
Folaar - Bu Kolthoum
WEN - Amaka Jaji
KUMBARA - Bu Nasser Touffar featuring Beatlalipos
Be My Summer - Snoh Aalegra
ili - Haykal featuring beñanu
CAP MERCEDES - ZIAD ZAZA
Keda Keda - Adam Nafea featuring Sadat
Walla Bansa - Ali Loka featuring Bigsam
Mrzmn - Shehab
🎤 Latinx & Hispanic Vibes 🎤
Easy - Sofía Valdés
Fiesta Loca - Justin Quiles featuring El Alfa
Caluroso - Pj Sin Suela
Cafe Malibú - Sech featuring Mora and Saiko
wiggy - Young Miko
Ojitos Rojos - Grupo Frontera featuring Ke Personajes
Ni Muerta - Chiquis featuring Snow Tha Product
Te Escogería a Ti - Tanatox
UY - Yvng Lvcas featuring Milo Mae
Baja Sube Sube - Wisin featuring Jowell y Randy
🎼 Other Good Music 🎼
K-POP - Travis Scott featuring Bad Bunny and The Weeknd
Qualité - Fresh La Douille featuring ElGrandeToto
No Way - Debbie
Huh - Haviah Mighty
Fake Friends (Iró Òre) - Yemi Alade
Tiny Garden - Jamila Woods featuring duendita
Office Hours - Nas featuring 50 Cent
Ngozi - Crayon featuring Ayra Starr
GoldLink Interlude - Rory featuring GoldLink
The Weekend - Stormzy featuring RAYE
What I’m Reading
🇱🇧 Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lebanon economic crisis means more work for craftsmen - Layal Abou Rahal, Agence France-Presse
Among meandering alleyways in the historic market of Lebanon's southern city of Sidon, cobblers and menders are doing brisk business, as an economic crisis revives demand for once-fading trades.
'The cancer could be quicker than saving the money' - Chadi Azar and Tessa Fox, Al Jazeera
In Lebanon, a son confronts the challenge of finding $7,000 every three weeks for his mother's cancer medication.
War and home in Beirut’s Club Sudan - Madeline Edwards, L’Orient Today
The Hamra neighborhood’s decades-old Sudanese Club tells a tale of civil war, Malcolm X, the roaring 1960s and homesick cooks from Sudan just looking for a space of their own.
‘I want to be part of the rebirth’: the artists bringing creation out of Beirut’s chaos - Joumana Haddad and Killian Fox, The Guardian
Decades of civil war and economic meltdowns left Lebanon’s people struggling for hope – and then three years ago came the devastating explosion in the capital’s port. But the country’s creatives are fighting back.
Lebanon is in a political deadlock as leaders struggle to declare the next president - Ruth Sherlock, NPR
People in Lebanon are pessimistic because their leaders haven't been able to agree on a president, which is an important step needed to address a long economic crisis.
🌍 Middle East, North Africa, & Diaspora 🌎
I was handcuffed and blindfolded for reporting on settler violence - Basel Adra, +972 Magazine
The Israeli army detained +972 reporter Basel Adra as he covered a settler attack in Masafer Yatta. Here, he recounts his ordeal.
Morocco's women are ready to take on the football world - John Duerden, Middle East Eye
The Women's World Cup begins in Australia and New Zealand this week. The Moroccan football team will be the first Arab side to appear in the tournament.
They fled Syria’s shattering civil war. Now, Syrian refugees in Jordan fear being forced to return - Isabel Debre, Associated Press
“I would rather die right here than go back to Syria,” said Dabdoob, 37, whose home was razed by airstrikes in the Syrian city of Homs.
Young Arab Americans in Michigan Find Home at the Hookah Lounge - Sara Aridi, The New York Times
“A spot like a hookah lounge, it’s sacred,” particularly for immigrants and refugees far from home, said Marrim (pronounced Mariam) Akashi Sani, 25, who is Iraqi-Iranian. “And it’s something you have to create for yourself when you’re displaced, and you might not ever be able to go back home because you don’t really know what home is anymore.”
Europe Pushed Tunisia to Keep Migrants Away. The Result Is Harsh. - Vivian Yee, The New York Times
Tunisia has pushed African migrants to scorching no-man’s lands along its borders with little food and water. Under a deal with the European Union, Tunisia agreed to tighten border controls in exchange for aid.
🎶 Music, Arts, & Culture 🎶
Bad Bunny Conquered the World. Now What? - Julyssa Lopez, Rolling Stone
For Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, global megastardom has come with tabloid attention, internet outrage, and all kinds of cabroneria. Now, he's trying to navigate it all while staying true to his roots and to his vision.
How the DMV and Virginia Beach made rap safe (and profitable!) for eccentrics - Sheldon Pearce, NPR
From one little resort town came some of weirdest, boldest changes to hip-hop's sound. A few hours away, flowery backpack raps and a splash of mambo sauce helped the nation's capital break through.
‘A lot of blood in the water.’ Why actors’ and writers’ strikes are a big blow to Hollywood studios - Meg James, Los Angeles Times
As SAG-AFTRA members join writers on picket lines, the fallout will disrupt Hollywood film and TV productions worldwide. ‘There’s going to be blood in the water,’ said one analyst. ‘This will not end well.’
How a Jay-Z Retrospective Took Over the Brooklyn Public Library - Joe Coscarelli, The New York Times
“The Book of Hov,” an elaborate summer exhibition at the borough’s main branch, was quietly conceived by his team as a surprise tribute that opens Friday.
As part of VICE's Hip Hop 50 series, VICE News spoke with Flippter about his upbringing, art, and the future of Sudan.
📚 Other Reads 📚
Carlos Alcaraz is the compelling rival both Novak Djokovic and men’s tennis needed - Charlie Eccleshare, The Athletic
On Sunday's evidence, men's tennis should now once again enjoy the elite battles it needs to elevate it to greater heights.
‘People treat us like the throwaway state’ - Tina Vásquez, Prism
Alabama has the strictest anti-abortion law in the U.S., but it doesn’t receive the same level of resources and support as other Southern states.
A gay couple ran a rural restaurant in peace. Then new neighbors arrived. - Tim Carman, The Washington Post
The conflict between a restaurant and conservative neighbors is tearing at the fabric of The Plains, VA, population 250.
‘We’re truly not valued’: In New Orleans, Black mothers are increasingly the victims of gun violence - Daja E. Henry, The 19th
The rise in the city’s violent crime has a double impact: the loss of a life and the enduring trauma of violently losing a parent.
Kenyans protest tax hikes as police respond with tear gas - Katharine Houreld and Rael Ombuor, The Washington Post
Many say the government of William Ruto should crack down on corruption in Kenya before reaching into the pockets of citizens hit hard by rising food prices.