Music Monday: M.I.A. Shows ‘Bad Girls’ Drift as Well as the Lads

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Filmed in Morocco, M.I.A.’s vision brings Saudi drifting culture to life with BMWs, Alfas, and Benzes burning the desert sand.

Welcome Team Speed Music Monday, where we feature music videos from our jukebox where the cars steal the spotlight from the stars.

Back in the early New ’10s, one of hip hop’s most enduring artists brought Saudi drifting culture to “The Door of the Desert,” Ouarzazate, Morocco, turning the then-solely male driving scene on its head by placing women behind the wheel alongside the men, set against a backdrop straight out of the Persian Gulf.

That artist, of course, is M.I.A., whose video for the 2012 single “Bad Girls” proves women can have tons of bravado behind the wheel, and then some.

MIA - Bad Girls - BMW E36 3 Series

“The inspiration comes from… an image of an Iranian chick driving a truck,” M.I.A. told Noisey in a behind-the-scenes featurette for the video. “She was wearing this crazy outfit and layers of gold, amazing nails, super-feminine, but she was all covered-up and was a trucker.” Ever the badass, this was a perfect fit for the “Paper Planes” rapper.

MIA - Bad Girls - Alfa Romeo 156

“We stumbled upon this videos on YouTube,” director Romain Gavras told Noisey. “We were mesmerized. I must have watched all these videos of Saudis drifting on two wheels.”

M.I.A. learned about the drifting culture through these videos. And loved the craziness, adding that one video she and Gavras saw was of a group of men drifting a Toyota truck on two wheels, who then removed one of the wheels to use as a table for tea, as well as smoked some hookah on the still-two-wheelin’ Toyota. Thus was the birth of one of the coolest car-related music videos ever.

MIA - Bad Girls - BMW E36 3 Series

“Yeah back it, back it, yeah pull up to the bumper game / With a signal, cover me, cause I’m changing lanes / Had a handle on it, my life, but I broke it / When I get to where I’m going, gonna have you saying it,” raps M.I.A. amid scenes of BMW E36s, Alfa Romeo 156s, and Mercedes-Benz 190Es doing dusty donuts, two-wheel stands, and going at speed as a pair of passengers skate on the pavement with only their shoes. The night scenes add a translucent, neon-lit wagon built in Morocco after builders in India said it would take five months to ship it to the set.

MIA - Bad Girls - BMW E36 3 Series and Transparent Wagon

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Since launching her professional writing career nearly a decade ago as a fashion blogger, Cameron Aubernon has written for a handful of online and print publications on a wide variety of subjects, including expat issues, fashion, music, and, of course, the automotive industry. The automotive expert was even the editor-in-chief of a popular online lifestyle publication, where she reviewed luxury cars and interviewed fellow automotive enthusiasts.

A graduate of The Evergreen State College Class of 2005 with a bachelor's in liberal arts, Aubernon took a left turn from fashion writing into the automotive realm when she asked a fellow writer via Facebook if she could write for their site. Following an internship, stints with a couple of hyper-local online publications, and a move to Seattle, she made her then-biggest impact with The Truth About Cars, writing full-time for the publication from 2013 to 2015.

Currently, the highly-regarded automotive journalist is a frequent contributor to the high-traffic Internet Brands Auto Group websites Rennlist, Club Lexus, LS1Tech and Mustang Forums, among others.

Aubernon’s expert knowledge of all things Ford trucks has also made her a mainstay as one of the most prolific writers on Ford Truck Enthusiasts and F-150 Online.

Aubernon can be contacted via email at [email protected].

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