Young Palestinian rap sensation MC Abdul returns with funky new track

The track 'The Beat Never Goes Off' finds the artist collaborating with fellow Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar

Palestinian rapper MC Abdul, aged 12, features in Tamer Nafar's new single 'The Beat Never Goes Off'. Photo: Empire
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Two generations of Palestinian hip-hop have teamed up for a powerful new single.

Released on Monday, The Beat Never Goes Off is the latest single from Tamer Nafar, member of acclaimed Palestinian hip-hop crew Dam, and features young rap sensation MC Abdul, aged 12.

Over funky production featuring a chopped up vocal sample, both artists deliver strident English and Arabic verses celebrating the resilience of the Palestinian struggle.

The track also cements MC Abdul, real name Abdalrahman Alshantti, as a talent to watch.

Coming on the back of his July debut Shouting At The Wall and viral single Palestine, which released in May, MC Abdul shows he is not a slouch on the mic.

In The Beat Never Goes Off, he goes toe-to-toe with Nafar as they exchange blistering lines filled with winning pop-culture references.

"You wanna talk bling, because I can talk bling. Like Tina Fey we carry 30 rocks more than Baldwin," MC Abdul sneers in the first verse.

Nafar's verse details the pain of Palestinian dislocation.

“I wasn’t taken to a land but my land was taken. Maybe native, let me erase it," he says. "Maybe I am nameless. Faceless, even better, race-less."

With Nafar residing in the Israeli city of Lod and MC Abdul in Gaza, Palestine, the music video has both acts recording their parts separately.

Nafar is seen rapping on the side of the road, while MC Abdul appears on the projection screen behind.

An intimate discussion

This is not the first collaboration between both artists.

In 2020, Nafar interviewed MC Abdul for Variety, discussing his career rise including being signed to US record label Empire, founded by Palestinian-American Ghazi Shami.

In the discussion, MC Abdul recalled that it was listening to Eminem's Not Afraid at age 5 that got him interested in rap.

“I asked, ‘who is that guy jumping and rapping with tattoos?’ I was shocked," he said.

"Music is so powerful for me and to a lot of people in that you can be anywhere and hear a piece of music that gets you fired up and emotional.”

While his lyrics detail the struggles of life in occupied Palestine, MC Abdul doesn't view himself as a political artist.

"My message is about peace. Not the political side of it," he said.

"I don’t understand what politics is – the thing I’m trying to say is that I want the children of the world to live in peace and harmony and I want to be the voice of the children in Palestine.

“I want to show people about my life, and what it means to be a rapper in Gaza City.”

Judging by his latest stellar effort in The Beat Never Goes Off, more people should be interested in the latest hip-hop talent from the region.

Updated: September 21, 2021, 1:50 PM