Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Manal ft. Shayfeen – Nah

Finishing up the day with some Moroccan trap…


Jonathan Bogart: Torrid-zone pop continues to merge into a techno-sinewy singularity. This Moroccan track has a dancehall or even Afrobeats riddim, and Manal’s voice, AutoTuned to to as tuff a sheen as any Caribe urbano artist’s, sings plaintively about being young and directionless. Shayfeen trade off verses with their best come-ons, but she’s not invested: “Nah” works just as well in English (particularly Southern Black English) as in Arabic to represent her attitude.

Iain Mew: I’m now so used to hearing similar sounds to this tightened up for the UK charts that hearing them left to stretch out in the sun is a pleasant novelty. Even better that it sets up the finality in Manal’s “na-ah” as its own forceful twist. 

Claire Biddles: A fun but samey trap-influenced track, with an unfortunate lack of personality from its cast of characters. It’s been a while since I heard the record scratch sound effect on a summer jam.

Will Adams: Dancehall this sparse usually requires some weight elsewhere to compensate. “Nah” has a brief glimpse of that with Shayfeen’s first entrance midway through, where the beat flips into trap, but overall neither the hook nor Manal’s laid-back vocal leave much impact.

Juana Giaimo: In “Nah” (but definitely not in “Taj“), Manal’s voice reminds me of Anitta’s: both are delicate but still fun, and know how to emphasize the distinctive sounds of their language. Shayfeen adds another texture to an otherwise too smooth song, but I wish the collaboration were more dynamic.

Ryo Miyauchi: Manal’s low-key, effortlessly cool vocals remind me first of Cassie’s. Though they don’t quite provide the impact that she wishes for, they still hold up in adaptability and malleability. And the dusky, moonlit R&B beat allures in a similar way with its modesty exuding mystique.

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