Formerly known as ‘Nok from the future’, Nader Khalil, a US-Based artist of Egyptian and Iranian descent, whose work is synonymous to post-human aesthetics, as well as utilizing the online realm for an escape from his subjective reality. Since his debut, the rapper has been closely linked to a sea of renowned artists from the mumble-rap scene, with the likes of Brockhampton’s Kevin Abstract, hyperpop-superstar Dylan Brady and the legendary Cousin Stizz, which set him to be amongst the many pioneers of the Soundcloud rap scene. After a short hiatus, the rapper has finally decided to grace us with a new debut album ‘Nader Khalil 2’.
The spearhead has always been known for his forward-thinking, genre-defying approach in music making, however in 2017, Nader decided to terminate ‘Nok from the Future’, and stepped away from the public’s eye to carve out his new direction. Then in early 2022, Khalil resurfaced onto the scene with a self-titled debut EP, ‘Nader Khalil’, which was packaged in a different sonic direction as opposed to his prior work.
The EP was a short satirical piece on Arab culture, with a unique sound design approach of a lead synth that sounded as if a trance supersaw morphed into a khaleeji-pop strobing synth. This new direction in Nader’s music reflects the sound of his heritage, with a carefully curated sound design, thumping drums, and one-take vocals.
Further, the sonic powerhouse has announced the release of an all-new album ‘Nader Khalil 2’, an intangible masterpiece that will stir the plot of perception of rap in the region. The Album consists of 7 tracks that do not surpass three minutes each, yet irrespective of their short length, he managed to encapsulate a slew of emotionally enticing sounds that will cleanse your sonic palette.
Starting off with ‘Wahda Wahda’ which seems like a reflection of his entire previous release in one track, embodying satirical one-take VOX on a deconstructed trap beat. The second track ‘Dark Mawal’ touches on themes of melancholy and loneliness with hints of serenely auto-tuned vocals and the auditory presence of turbulent synths, which acts as a mellow break to prepare the listener for what’s to come. He follows it by ‘Wahda Wahda’, which lies on the harder end of the sonic spectrum with fat 808s that soar over the track, and aggressive vocals converging his unprecedented anguish.
However, in ‘War & Peace’, the album starts channeling a more serious tone, as the track sheds light on the struggles Arabs face in the West, as he highlights his own experiences with the sounds of rapid gun fire, and an eerie chord progression, to mirror his inevitable suffering.
On the fifth track ‘Masakeen’ the rapper manifests his mastery of sound-design and embeds it all in a one minute interlude. That leads us to ‘Pura Vida’ a tribal track with lusciously synthesized drums that serve a static-plasticy feel, giving us a glimpse of hyperpop, and ends it with a stellar early 90s-inspired house break. Finally, ‘hehe haha’, is the album's finale, which in our humble opinion, is the perfect outro for an album consisting of a smooth pad that blends harmoniously over a slow reese-bass.
Nader’s latest release is now widely accessible across all major streaming platforms, check it out below.