“Welcome to Fikirtepe!” A young man yells out when he notices us passing by. He has correctly identified our motley crew as ‘not from around here’,here being the Fikirtepe neighborhood in Istanbul, and our crew composed of Al Nather, Makimakkuk, Oddz, Ayed of Jazar Crew, and Ahmed (founder of Root Music Istanbul) all Palestinian producers, MCs and DJs featured in the recent Boiler Room documentary ‘Palestine Underground’.
We are also accompanied by Year Zero photographers and our art director. Such a large group of people loudly speaking English and simultaneously location scouting around the streets - a couple of them sneaking sips of beer on occasion is bound to attract attention. Fikirtepe is a strange point of urbanization and gentrification in Istanbul, with tall industrial office buildings conveniently lining the highway so as to obscure the many ‘gecekondus’ hiding behind them. ‘Gecekondu’ is the Turkish word for unauthorized constructions, the expression literally translating to ‘it landed in the night’ due to the speedy, often overnight appearances of these buildings.