If you have been wondering what Narcy formerly known as the Narcyist has been doing since the release of his last album World War Free Now! three years ago, we can fill you in. Besides being on tour and collaborating, the artist lately got into video direction and has already worked on videos for A Tribe Called Red, Talib Kweli, Anderson Paak and Niko, along with his own. Furthermore, he is employed at the Fine Arts Department of the Concordia University in Montréal, where he teaches two classes of 200 students a semester. One is called Beats, Rhymes and Life and the other one is called It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop, and while one class covers production, the other one tackles the topic of social and race studies vis-a-vis hip-hop culture. A university class led by the Middle Eastern hip hop star? Makes us want to re-enroll in college immediately.
Despite this academic schedule, he managed to celebrate the release of his fifth studio album, under the moniker Narcy, just over a week ago. SpaceTime includes a number of collaborations with famed Middle Eastern artists, including Lebanese icons, indie-rock band Mashrou’ Leila and Yasmine Hamdan. “Yasmine and Mashrou' Leila are my friends. Through my journey with music, I’ve performed with them around the world and they are a huge inspiration for me” says Narcy, giving us some insights into the background of this killer cooperation with some of the biggest influences of the contemporary Middle Eastern music scene. For the hip-hop artist, his latest album is all about self-actualization, as he told us. “It’s about putting out into the universe what you want in your life, dreaming your dreams into reality but also, it’s about taking the time to carve your own space in society and strengthen your life and soul’s work” he explains further. Make sure you pay extra attention to the tracks 'Animal', 'Yemenade', 'Space' and 'Shlonak' when checking out the album - Narcy's personal favorites from the album.
If you have been following his video releases from SpaceTime in October and November this year, you might remember that they were full of hints for the upcoming album. Though to an extent he was always involved in the creation of his videos, he now took over the direction himself, following his latest passion.In the past, the hip-hop MC has also been active as The Narcicyst, releasing four albums under the alias between 2007 and 2010. When we asked what distinguishes the two, he offers the simple but deep explanation that “Narcy is the guy you talk to, it’s me. Narcicyst would be the untouchable side of the artist”. Furthermore the multi-media artist is known for combining music with strong political messages, as can be seen in his latest album on the track 'Yemenade' or in older publications such as P.H.A.T.W.A or Tourist. In fact Narcy strongly believes that music and politics go hand in hand, stating that “music brings people together. Politics divide. I use my musical platform to really bring light to injustices that people don't speak on, or to create a documentation of the messed up realities of life, amidst the beauty and greatness around us. As an Arab in the Western world, I feel it is my duty to speak on these issues, because no one does it for us. If we don't do it, then who will?” While his style effortlessly varies within classical hip-hop elements and sounds of traditional Arab music, he takes his inspiration from a diversity of artists like Abdel Wahab, Dr. Dre, Nirvana or even Mozart. “My style is shape shifting because I grew up listening to and reading so many different voices and sounds” he explains.