Queen St. Fare is a new hot spot in town for food, drinks, and, yes you guessed it—live music. Since opening its doors in late 2018, programmer Jordan David has worked hard to bring together local musicians, DJs, and promoters to make Queen St. Fare a place where some of Ottawa’s best music can be found on any given day.
But one area that the venue hasn’t yet explored is incorporating touring musicians into its programming. Well, that’s about to change. Iraqi-Canadian MC Narcy is set to heat up the stage at Queen St. Fare on Friday, February 15th.
Who is Narcy? Yassin ‘Narcy’ Alsalman, formerly known as the Narcicyst, is a musician, actor, professor and multimedia artist based out of Montreal, and has become an unapologetic ambassador for the Arab hip-hop movement. Even more, he’s become an inspiration for individuals navigating the hardships of life as Arab and Muslim in an increasingly Islamophobic climate here in North America.
Alsalman has released ten albums under various names since the early 2000s—including some by his now-defunct Iraqi-Canadian group called Euphrates—and has become a mainstay in Montreal’s hip-hop community. He also teaches two courses on hip-hop at Montreal’s Concordia University, which is a rarity in Canada to say the least. The classes are called Beats, Rhymes and Life and It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop—one of which covers production, while the other one dives into the topic of social and race studies through hip-hop culture, respectively. Narcy’s approach has been to educate through performance, while combining media with literacy and creativity with cultural heritage.
“To me he represents everything I love about hip-hop,” says programmer Jordan David. “He’s been able to tell his story in a unique way that has inspired generations of MC’s. He’s already done so much but he still has that hunger and willingness to do more and I’m excited for Ottawa folks to discover his music. He’s among the top Canadian MC’s.”
Narcy was nominated for a Juno Award in 2017 for his video for “R.E.D.” in collaboration with A Tribe Called Red, Yasiin Bey (f.k.a. Mos Def), and Black Bear, and has since directed visuals for Talib Kweli, Anderson .Paak, and Jay Electronica that feature Dave Chappelle and Spike Lee. More recently, he founded an organization called The Medium which facilitates international collaboration among thinkers, artists, and brandeurs across the globe. While fighting against the current, Narcy continues to build relationships with new fans, artists, and young Arabs and Muslims looking for answers in these complex post-9/11 and Trumpian times.