11 Iraqi Rappers You Need To Listen to in 2023
Updated: Nov 15
As the global hip-hop scene continues to expand and diversify, it's essential to recognize and celebrate artists from all corners of the world. In recent years, Iraqi rappers have been making their mark, using their artistry to share stories of resilience, challenge stereotypes, and provide a fresh perspective on life in Iraq. In this article, we present eleven talented Iraqi rappers who are making waves in 2023 and deserve recognition for their unique contributions to the genre.
Yassin 'Narcy' Al--Salman, formerly known as the Narcicyst, is an accomplished musician, actor, professor, and multimedia artist based in Montreal, Canada. He played a vital role in the development of the Arab Hip-Hop movement as a member of the Iraqi trio Euphrates in the early 2000s, establishing himself as a prominent voice in the public sphere.
Presently, Narcy teaches one of Canada's few Hip-Hop courses at Concordia University in Montreal. His philosophy revolves around merging performance and education, media and literacy, and creativity with cultural heritage. Additionally, Yassin leads an international collective of artists called WeAreTheMedium, a community of independent creatives who collaborate on curation, performance, consultation, and product-based creations.
Alongside his musical endeavors, Narcy has ventured into acting, lending his voice to video games such as Civilization 5 and The Secret World. He has also taken on significant roles in feature films like CITY OF LIFE and various short films. Notably, he recently starred in and directed the Much Music Video Awards' Video of The Year-winning music video for Indigenous Supergroup A Tribe Called Red, sharing the screen and microphone with Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def in R.E.D.
Through his music, Narcy conveys his message, and The Medium serves as the collective under which all his creative endeavors as an international group of independent artists, known as New World Citizens, come together.
Lowkey, whose birth name is Kareem Dennis, was born on May 23, 1986. He is a talented poet, playwright, political activist, and acclaimed hip-hop artist of mixed British and Arab heritage. Lowkey's music has gained significant recognition and airplay on major radio stations, including BBC Radio 1, 95.8 Capital FM, Kiss 100, Choice FM, BBC 1Xtra, and BBC Asian Network. His talent has taken him on international tours, where he has performed to enthusiastic crowds at renowned venues such as Glastonbury and Trafalgar Square, as well as in countries like Germany and Amsterdam.
Lowkey's diverse heritage includes a British father from Dover and an Iraqi mother born in Baghdad. His journey into the music scene began when he started attending open mic sessions held at the Deal Real record shop on Carnaby Street in Central London. During his first visit, he introduced himself as Lowkey, only to discover that there was already a regular performer using that name. The two engaged in a battle rap to settle the dispute, with Lowkey emerging as the victor.
During his time at Deal Real, he crossed paths with Doc Brown, a fellow artist who extended an invitation for Lowkey to feature on his notable single, 'Donnie's Lament.' The song drew inspiration from the film Donnie Darko, and this collaboration marked an important milestone in Lowkey's career.
Nayomi, a talented rapper born in Iraq and currently based in Sweden, significantly impacted the regional rap scene with her remarkable skills. Even before entering the regional rap scene, her raps and freestyles had already garnered attention in Europe as a member of the Swedish rap group LVT. After spending nearly 10 years as a solo artist under the Swedish record label State Crown, Nayomi boldly decided to become an independent artist.
One of Nayomi's primary goals as an independent artist was to break linguistic barriers by rapping in three languages: Arabic, English, and Swedish. By embracing multilingualism in her music, she aimed to create a unique sound that transcended cultural boundaries. In a 2020 interview with SceneNoise, Nayomi expressed her vision, stating, "That's what the future sounds like."
Through her independent journey, Nayomi continues to make waves in the music industry, captivating audiences with her dynamic and multilingual approach to rap.
AlRonG is An Iraqi Hip-Hop and Rap Artist, Music Composer, and poet. Being in the hip hop space for years, AlRonG is considered one of Iraq's fastest-rising rappers with his consistent release of singles that amass popularity among rap fans in Iraq.
Incorporating elements from diverse genres such as dancehall, trap, and Afrobeats, Odd Khalid possesses a remarkable talent for crafting exceptional drill rap. Prior to dropping standout tracks like "Al Ra7la" and "Al Visa" in 2022, he made a notable appearance on the illustrious Big Hass track "Iraq Cypher," standing as a prominent figure showcasing the burgeoning rap scene in Iraq. The emotional depth that Odd Khalid infuses into his music is truly compelling, making it impossible to overlook. The anticipation is high, and I'm eagerly looking forward to witnessing the musical creations he unveils in the upcoming year.
Moshraq "DISSER" Hameed
Disser, a talented rapper, songwriter, and record producer hailing from Baghdad, Iraq, has made a notable impact on the music scene. Since starting his career in 2011, he has released a plethora of songs, including tracks like "Rotation," "WiFi," "Tdoor," and "Mala7een," among many others.
Driven by his passion for music, Disser aspires to bring Iraqi Hip Hop to the global stage and make it popular worldwide. With his dedication and artistic vision, he aims to showcase the unique sound and perspective of Iraqi Hip Hop, contributing to its growth and recognition on an international scale.
Through his compelling lyrics, captivating beats, and determination, Disser continues to carve his path in the music industry, striving to make a lasting impact and achieve his dream of elevating Iraqi Hip Hop to a global audience.
Genesis is a rising star in the Iraqi rap scene, captivating audiences with his dynamic flow and thought-provoking lyrics. Hailing from Basra, he is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with, using his platform to shed light on important issues and leave a mark on the Iraqi rap scene.
Seen (ألسيـن) is an artist whose name derives from the first Arabic letter of his given name, Saif (سيف). The significance of his chosen name goes beyond personal representation, as it also symbolizes the Ancient Sumerian deity known as Sïn, the God of the Moon. Born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1996, Seen's life took a transformative turn when he became a refugee and relocated to Switzerland in 2015.
The experiences Seen encountered throughout his journey significantly influenced his music. He passionately explains, "My music is deeply inspired by the life-changing situations I've been through; it has profoundly impacted my musical expression over the years."
Seen embarked on his music career in 2013, initially gaining recognition as an underground rapper. In 2015, he joined a music collective as an Upground Artist and Producer, where he has dedicated himself to honing his artistic craft. As a multi-talented artist, Seen excels as a Producer, Singer/Songwriter, and Guitarist, combining his skills to create a unique and captivating sound.
Naming himself the "king of Iraqi rap", Armando is a talented Iraqi rapper who has been making waves in the music industry with his unique blend of compelling lyrics and infectious beats. Born and raised in Baghdad, his music reflects the realities of life in Iraq and the struggles faced by its people.
KC, born and raised in Dubai, has a unique musical background that extends beyond his own culture. While growing up, he was exposed to a wide range of sounds that inspired and influenced him. Drawing upon this diverse musical upbringing, KC blends his passion and influences to create a sound that represents a voice rarely heard in the industry.
With a desire to tell untold stories, KC uses his music as a platform to shed light on narratives that have been overlooked. His creative expression goes beyond lyrics, encompassing a sonic landscape that complements and enhances the storytelling aspect of his music.
By combining his diverse influences, KC brings forth a refreshing and distinct sound that breaks boundaries and offers a fresh perspective. He strives to be a voice for those whose stories are not often represented, while also captivating listeners with captivating sonics that match the depth and uniqueness of his artistic vision.
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