back to top

5 Ways This Iraqi Hip-Hop Artist Is Changing The Narrative Around Arabs

Narcy = Neo-Arab Rebel Called Yassin

Posted on

Yassin Alsalman, artistically known as Narcy, formerly The Narcicyst, is a hip-hop and multimedia artist of Iraqi origin, who grew up in the UAE and Montreal.

Hassan Hajjaj

His goal is "to humanize our experience as Arabs, as Muslims, or as Others... because a lot of times when people present us, they present us in an extreme, polarized version."

Tamara Abdul Hadi for The Medium

Here are five powerful ways he's doing just that:

1. Through hip-hop (or as he defines it: "Highly Intelligent People Hovering Over Politics").

His music reflects his reality as an Arab and Muslim growing up between cultures, in a post-9/11 world. He just released his new album, World War Free, which he described as a "narrative-based record, best listened to in its entirety."

View this video on YouTube

His song, "Hamdulillah," was featured in Fast and Furious 7.

He also has an all-Arabic album.

This is a beautiful track for the children of Iraq (featuring his grandfather reciting poetry).

2. By producing a short film.

View this video on YouTube

He told BuzzFeed that the message behind the film, Rise, released earlier this month, is to remember to not put your financial gain above your creative gain, or "your money before your soul."

3. Through prose.

He wrote a book called The Diatribes of a Dying Tribe. Jadaliyya called it "a manifesto of sorts: on bicultural identity, on globalization, on hip-hop, on hip-hop culture, on politics, on poetics, on resistance, on peace, on war, on frustration, on calm, on family, on adolescence, on Arabs in the West."

The book received praise from Talib Kweli.

Reading this Diatribes of a Dying Tribe by @TheNarcicyst it's fantastic. Now where can I get that Fear of An Arab Planet

4. By expressing himself through fashion.

In his own words: "One of the elements of hip-hop is how you present yourself. I like mixing cultures, because that's how I grew up."

5. By co-founding an art collective.

The Medium is an art collective for artists to pool resources and help each other with projects. In the past year, they have curated two art shows and did three festivals, with more to come.

His message to readers: "Don't believe the hype and take time to listen to people of different backgrounds. The thing we have the most in common is our differences, and if we embrace that I think the world would be a better place."

The best things at three price points