On August 19, a gruesome video uploaded to YouTube captured the beginning of James Foley’s decapitation and ultimate death, with the Islamic State of Iraq, or ISIS, claiming responsibility. The 40-year-old American freelance journalist was kidnapped in late 2012 while covering the civil war in Syria, and his death drew international rebuke. Now, the prime suspect in Foley’s beheading is said to be a former rapper from the U.K., according to according to The Sunday Times of London.
The British counter-intelligence and security agency MI5 suspects that Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who released rap videos under the name L. Jinny, was the masked man depicted in that video. The 23-year-old (or 24-year-old — reports vary) reportedly posted a picture of himself holding a severed head on his now-suspended Twitter account, and MI5 used voice recognition technology to make the match.
An aspiring rapper, Abdel Bary had uploaded some videos to YouTube, and even had his songs played on BBC radio a few times, before relocating to Syria in 2013.
The lone video on his “LJinnyVEVO” page is for a song called “Overdose.” “I’m still the same Jinny,” he raps, “with a bit of rage in me.”
The visuals flash between a couple of angles, all shot on the same location, as the MC delivers cliches familiar to an aspiring rapper: tales of no one believing in him, and his eagerness to prove them wrong.
In another video, he’s critical of other rappers and their content, and talks about growing up in poverty. He also mentions that “pops is doin’ life,” a reference to his father, Abdel Abdul Bary, who was extradited in 2012 for the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and is currently awaiting trial in the U.S.
In “The Beginning” — which was uploaded by a YouTube user this week, but appears to have been first filmed and released within the last couple years — he comes off more aggressive, and again references his father:
“Gimme that nine and I’ll cock it for my partners/ Gimme the pride and I’ll honor it like my father/ I swear the day they came and took my dad/ I could’ve killed a cop or two, and I wouldn’t have looked back/ Imagine back then, I was only 6/ So picture what I’d do now with a loaded stick.”