Narcy is a political activist/hip hop artist with a sound as intriguing as his message. His new album “World War Free Now” is a beautiful addition to the CKUT library that incorporates sophisticated political commentary, Middle-East influenced sounds, and fascinating vocal samples into a unique symphony of hip-hop that captures the listener from beginning to end.
The way in which an MC combines sounds into backing beats is very important in this day and age of hip hop. The great rappers of the modern era weave their verses into dense pieces of music to draw more interest and challenge the listener’s ear. With nuances such as guitar solos, violin interludes, and catchy vocal hooks, Narcy has truly established himself musically in “World War Free Now” by providing beautiful melodies in conjunction with his high intensity flow.
Lyrically, the album touches upon many different thematic elements all pertaining to the life of Yassin Alsalman (Narcy). Do to Alsalman’s complicated history as an immigrant with roots in the Middle East and North America, the album makes for a very interesting analysis of the world today. “World War Free Now” in itself is a very complex idea. I think World War Free is a comment on how the world is not currently involved in a clear global conflict (at least not quite as clear as World War One or Two), however, the people in charge still marginalize and take control in the same way they always have resulting in a war on freedom of sorts. With commentary on the use of drones and overbearing police force, Narcy calls out the actions of the United States and other world leaders in the Middle East as harmful despite their positive intentions. For Example, the United States entered Iraq with the intention of ending terrorism, but in reality the United States took control of the lives of the people of Iraq in a way that did not provide them with more rights or freedom, thus contradicting their heroic rhetoric. This type of political commentary is raised all over the album and the depth of it all adds a great sense of maturity.
One of the Particularly moving pieces on the album is “Tourist.” Framed by quotes from John Lennon and Angela Davis on the topic of violence, the song discusses the toll that a land “ruled by the gun” has on its people. The speaker feels that they have been forced out of their home and now they cannot find comfort in the world; they have become a “tourist on a star between the moon and the sun.” The intense nature of the words is matched by their presentation. Narcy elongates his lyrics in a droning fashion and the sound of it all bleeds the despair felt by the people of his homeland.
The only issue I have faced with this album is my inability to stop listening to it. It is a beautiful work of art on all levels that will both get stuck in your head and make you think.
-Review by Donovan Burtan