This gathered list of influential artists highlights individuals who continue to enhance music as a united form of expression while negotiating the intricacies of Palestinian identity.
A central instrument in instigating political discourse, the regional music scene has consistently plowed through conservative thought and given voice to those buried in their shadows. Slicing through the haze of what is socially permissible and what isn't, the art forms emanation from personal sentimentalities meant that, for the most part, the content birthed in response is consistently raw and poignant. With that notion in mind, this compiled list of powerful artists showcases people that continuously amplify that unified means of expression, all the while navigating the complexities of Palestinian identity.
Berlin-based rock artist Rasha Nahas consistently navigates her intersectionality with powerful ballads written in her own mother tongue. Exploring the themes of home, belonging, spirituality, freedom, and doubt, Nahas’s music is an extension of her multifarious Palestinian identity. Her Instagram, much like the rest of her art, serves as a microcosm of her incongruous nature.
Fortifying her global Palestinian presence, this techno DJ and electronic producer has endured her fair share of political battles. Since the tender age of thirteen Sama’ has had to stampede over regional polemics all the while navigating her newfound haven - techno. Subsequently, her Instagram coalesces her personal life and her passion for music; ultimately acting as an all-around empowering platform.
Rapping about the Palestinian struggle, Marwan Abdelhamid - AKA Saint Levant - had the TikTok algorithm in a chokehold throughout 2020. Post garnering massive online success, the trilingual artist began weaving his linguistic spunk with his musical dexterity in an attempt to conjure Palestinian solidarity. All his socials are devoted to raising political awareness, making him the artist for young MENA activists.
El Far3i, a Palestinian-Jordanian rapper, raps over stripped-down acoustic tunes, fusing raw political sentiments with personal diasporic hardship. His socials act as mini tributes to his perseverance within the regional music scene, as he constantly battles for his work to be noticed.
Palestinian-Canadian producer and artist ‘Belly’ - AKA Rebellious - consistently steps away from the eccentric realm of hip-hop artist and settles into the more austere role of ‘revolutionary’. The Ottawa native fearless tackles global polemics with songs like ‘History of Violence’; unpacking the backlog of deeply-entrenched systemic violence. Belly's social media presence is only another entry point into the mastermind's world.
An elegant yet outspoken force to be reckoned with, Bashar Murad is the regional scene’s delicate ring leader. The ‘Shillet Hamal’ singer bridges the gap between pop star and protester as he blends infectious melodies with activist motifs. His socials, much like his music, are simultaneously flamboyant and unapologetic.
This multi-talented singer/rapper has left no genre untapped. Post her latest deep-dive into the world of Afrobeat, the transnational artist is a pop-mogul in the making. Refusing to slip between the industry’s cracks, Neemz’s socials epitomize - and in turn sustain - her powerhouse energy.
Singer-songwriter Nemahsis uses her music career and platform to shed light on the intricacies of being a Hijabi artist in the West. Devoting her platforms - TikTok included - to sharing personal anecdotes about diasporic identities and Muslim tokenism. Through releasing documentative music and occupying a militant role, Nemahsis manages to pick apart social media’s ostentatiousness.
Pertaining to his existentialist music, JayJay is the rapper putting harmonious words to our disharmonious thoughts. The drill artist’s impeccable lyricism and powerful subject matters are consistently woven into his social media presence, which ultimately makes his platforms a hub for all-things geopolitical discourse.
Producer and all-around creative genius ‘Al Nather’ never misses. With music serving as an olfactory medium to his grand artistic visions, this Palestinian powerhouse’s signature two-step-leaning trap production is only the tip of the iceberg, with his socials serving as a giant middle finger to societal conventions.
Recognized for his folk-sampled productions, Muqata’a’s musical dexterity is giving global producers a run for their money. His lowkey social media demeanor is all the more reason to engage with this carefree artistic endeavors and a chance to decode his hidden messages.
The Synaptik’s effortless melodies and soul-binding hooks perfectly coincide with his personal nature. Stopping at no hurdle to keep the fires of the fight for freedom aflame, the man’s socials are steadily demonstrative of his artistic and political prowess.
Forging new identities through music, Shabjdeed’s music sinks into the politics of war and resurfaces with gut-wrenching and politically charged motifs. The young rapper’s socials are a direct extension of his musical endeavors - raw and bold.