Music

As Ragtop of the mighty Philistines, Nizar produced, wrote, and performed on several hip-hop albums. Artists he has worked with include Omar Offendum, The Narcicyst, Invincible, Mista Cookie Jar and Wattad’s brother B-Dub the King.

Ragtop Singles

A selection of Ragtop solo tracks, released in 2011: DWMR  –  Alter Ego  –  1948

The Arab Summit – Fear of an Arab Planet (2010)

The Arab summit project began when Iraqi-Canadian hip-hop artist the Narcicyst and Syrian-American emcee Omar Offendum contacted Nizar with the idea of writing and recording an album together. The group was soon joined by Bay-Area Palestinian producer Excentrik. Together they wrote & recorded an instant classic in one week, in Nizar’s bedroom. The corresponding book Diatribes of a Dying Tribe includes interviews with Arab hip-hop artists around the world and poetry by Suheir Hammad.

N.O.M.A.D.S. vs Philistines (2006)

A collaborative effort with longtime colleague Omar Offendum, NvP featured all-original songs by various members of the N.O.M.A.D.S and the Philistines, together and separately. Released during their first years touring and performing, perhaps the longest-lasting influence of this album has been Nizar’s continued close relationship with Offendum. Together they toured the United States and the world, and witnessed the birth and rise of Arab hip-hop as a force amongst the youth.

The Philistines Present … Free The P (2005)

A groundbreaking project, Free the P was the first ever compilation of Arab hip-hop, featuring such artists as DAM, Euphrates / the Narcicyst, the N.O.M.A.D.S / Omar Offendum, and the Philistines – as well as non-Arab acts including Immortal Technique, Invincible, and the Visionaries. Inspired by the global struggle for peace and justice, Free the P was sold to fundraise for Jackie Salloum’s documentary Slingshot Hip-Hop, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

The Philistines – Self Defined (2003)

Consisting initially of Nizar (Ragtop) and his brother B-Dub, the Philistines formed in 2001 with the goal of presenting a positive image of Arabs and Arab-Americans while also addressing issues close to home in the USA. The brothers enlisted the help of multitalented singer/songwriter/producer C.J. Pizarro (Mista Cookie Jar) to create their first singles. Produced with the help of B.Swisha and jazz prodigy Ayaz Quadir (may he rest in peace), Self Defined is a bit rough around the edges, but still stands out as one of the first instances of Arab hip-hop, and a chronicle of the emerging lyricism of the mighty mighty Philistines…