Author Topic: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence  (Read 546 times)

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Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« on: April 23, 2003, 06:01:19 AM »
Hip-hop's Islamic influence
MUSIC REFLECTS FAITH, BUT THERE'S A STRUGGLE TO BEAT A BAD RAP
By Marian Liu
Mercury News

From sampling Malcolm X to evoking Islamic principles in its rhymes, hip-hop is opening eyes to the Muslim world.

Islam has flavored hip-hop from its beginnings with Afrika Bambaataa to current rappers Jurassic 5 and Mos Def. But current events have made Muslim rappers feel like they're under attack. Muslim rappers are also struggling to make their varied beliefs understood.

Some are changing their names to avoid backlash and fearing they can't pray openly without being called terrorists. Others are lacing their lyrics and album names with anti-war rhymes and provocative phrases.

``We used to go by Jihad, which means struggle in Arabic,'' says Amaar Zaheer, part of a Mountain View rap duo. ``But after Sept. 11, it was misinterpreted to mean holy war, and that's not the message we bring at all. Islam says to keep positive and be a role model, to make a difference. We try to reflect that in our music.''

East Bay rapper Paris, however, deliberately uses the word jihad to shock. He named his fifth album ``Sonic Jihad'' as a ``button-pusher, a sonic assault on everything I see as unjust,'' he says. Yet, because of the album name -- and the cover showing a jetliner crashing into the White House -- he knows no label will back him up and is preparing to sell his album online.

``There are countless rap records that have gunplay, prostitution of women and more. I'm not passing that as justification, but I am in heated opposition to this current administration's stance,'' says Paris, a popular independent rapper who graduated from San Francisco's Lowell High School and the University of California-Davis. After having been Muslim for three years, he says he no longer is but that he's open to many beliefs.

Even the everyday rituals of Islam can cause misunderstanding, says Hashim Abdul-Khaliq, a 27-year-old engineer who raps in his spare time as a part of a Cleveland rap group called the Iron Triangle.

``We pray five times a day, but if I'm praying at work and somebody walks into the room, their subconscious is making a connection between me and Saddam,'' Abdul-Khaliq says.

One of the songs he is working on says, ``World War III is over oil and our minds are the spoils.''

In pop culture, Muslim rappers' faith can be misrepresented. For example, it has become a fashion statement for men to wear kufis, the Islamic prayer caps. On the cover of Russell Simmons' ONEWORLD magazine, Lil' Kim wore lingerie underneath a burq'a.

``It looked like Lil' Kim was mocking women of Islam when she put on clothes attributed to us,'' says Christie Z-Pabon, who runs a hip-hop cultural newsletter. ``It was completely insulting. We purposely don't dress sexy.''

Many hope their presence in the music breaks stereotypes, says Eman Tai, part of Calligraphy of Thought, an East Bay Muslim women's spoken word collective.

``We show people what real Muslims are like, not the garbage they see on television,'' says Tai, a Pakistani and a second-generation Muslim from San Francisco.

She adds that both African-American Muslims and immigrant Muslims are increasingly getting into hip-hop.

Islam's poetic history

``It's part of our history and culture in Islam,'' says Tai, 25. ``The traditional books of law and philosophy in Islam were written in poetry, and students memorize them with drums, basically singing out the poetry. And if you `beat' that up, it sounds just like rapping.''

The connection between hip-hop and Islam was a natural one in the African-American community, where the religion already had strong roots.

``Islamic beliefs and values are seen as the standard in hip-hop,'' says Adisa Banjoko, a San Jose author who is writing a book on hip-hop and Islam.

For Akil of Jurassic 5, Islam is tied to cultural identity. After hearing hip-hop groups like Public Enemy, which sampled Islamic thought, and learning in high school that some of the Africans who came as slaves to America were Muslim, he started believing in Islam.

Akil listened to hip-hop groups that sampled such African-American leaders as Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan and sprinkled in verses taken from the Koran.

``These zillion references,'' says Fabel, lead people to find their faith, and even to find each other. He and his wife, Christie Z-Pabon, met at a Zulu Nation meeting, part of an international hip-hop awareness movement. They now manage a hip-hop online community and book concerts.

``The little beats planted in the '80s finally blossomed,'' says Fabel. These references may include anything from Scripture to simply moral ideals.

``Our faith is stronger than the music. We represent it. There are more moral concepts than content, so people can catch the groove and the concept behind it,'' says Oakland rapper M. Ishaq Abdul-Nurr.

Other rappers like AZ, have whole lines with references to Islam. He says his religion says, ``Each one teach one,'' so he uses his music to ``break the knowledge down.''

Older Muslims are using hip-hop as a way to reach younger Muslims. Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, owner of an Oakland ad agency, says hip-hop is the newest phase of reaching out to youth, after athletes and entertainment figures.

Sharing beliefs

``They reach people our age by incorporating Islamic ideas into hip-hop,'' says Jittaun Batiste, a 24-year-old senior at De Anza College. She and other Muslim Student Association members all own Mos Def's albums. ``These artists use their music as a tool to talk about their struggle, their identity and to recognize us and embrace us as their own.''

But many in the general listening community ``don't have a clue'' that these are Islamic references, says Ted Swedenburg, a professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Arkansas, who has written a thesis on the topic.

Al-Hakim warns that although many rappers are influenced by Islam, it's hard to tell who is Muslim and who is not. Furthermore, there are many factions of Islam: For example, Sunni, Shiite, and Nation of Islam have differing beliefs. Plus, Islam and hip-hop can contradict, with one heading toward purity and the other toward commercialism.

``Muslim artists don't have a large mainstream platform,'' says Thembisa Mshaka, who works in advertising at Sony. ``Muslims are not driven by materialism or excess sexual behavior. None of that is part of our program but are overriding themes of hip-hop. Where is the Muslim MC's place in this? Should we hide the fact we are Muslim or downplay it and be satisfied with not reaching the masses?''

For Jurassic 5, this means being themselves while satisfying their Muslim fans and their hard-core hip-hop fans.

``I don't try to be preachy; that's not my thing,'' says Akil. ``I don't point fingers at other people. Otherwise I'll be pointing four fingers at myself. And if I can detect the faults of other people, it's because I have those faults within myself.''

But being socially conscious means living with the underground hip-hop label, says Akil, and performing at many alternative concerts, not urban ones.

``Just like the definition of Islam is messed up, so is the definition of hip-hop,'' says Akil. ``But, we are smack-dab in the middle of what hip-hop is.''



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Quakaveli

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Re:Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2003, 07:45:45 AM »
Good to hear that Paris guy aint muslim no more...

Jihad ALWAYS meant "holy war" aka "Kill as many infidels as u can and ur in HEAVEN!"

Quote
In pop culture, Muslim rappers' faith can be misrepresented. For example, it has become a fashion statement for men to wear kufis, the Islamic prayer caps. On the cover of Russell Simmons' ONEWORLD magazine, Lil' Kim wore lingerie underneath a burq'a.
Sine when??  :D

I cant wait to see that Lil Kim pic... ;D

I didn't know J5 was muslim....there goes all the J5 songs in my computer.......











JK ;D

Quote
Just like the definition of Islam is messed up
Yeah this Akil guy is smart...no wonder I like J5


Basically what I got from this article is that Hip-hop n Islam arent that related ::)
 

morbidenigma

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2010, 08:34:17 AM »
is islam the religion of hip hop lol
 

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 11:08:47 AM »
many rappers like jadakiss, dipset,styles P, eminem and more can say whatever they want...they can say damn near terrorist threats to the president and its look at as nothing.  But let a middle eastern rapper say anything close to that and all hell will break loose.  notice i said middle eastern cuz even if they're not muslims they'll still get labeled as that.  im sure FBI and CIA are listening closely to all these middle eastern rappers. 
 

Bananas

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2010, 03:45:25 AM »
many rappers like jadakiss, dipset,styles P, eminem and more can say whatever they want...they can say damn near terrorist threats to the president and its look at as nothing.  But let a middle eastern rapper say anything close to that and all hell will break loose.  notice i said middle eastern cuz even if they're not muslims they'll still get labeled as that.  im sure FBI and CIA are listening closely to all these middle eastern rappers. 

how many black American rappers have ever orchestrated terror attacks to destroy innocent civilian life in the name of Islam?
how many black American rappers middle eastern men have ever orchestrated terror attacks to destroy innocent civilian life in the name of Islam?

I hope for the sake of spreading good hip hop the FBI and CIA aren't listening to some self important, douche bag middle eastern rappers whining about this and that.
 

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 02:46:09 PM »
many rappers like jadakiss, dipset,styles P, eminem and more can say whatever they want...they can say damn near terrorist threats to the president and its look at as nothing.  But let a middle eastern rapper say anything close to that and all hell will break loose.  notice i said middle eastern cuz even if they're not muslims they'll still get labeled as that.  im sure FBI and CIA are listening closely to all these middle eastern rappers. 

how many black American rappers have ever orchestrated terror attacks to destroy innocent civilian life in the name of Islam?
how many black American rappers middle eastern men have ever orchestrated terror attacks to destroy innocent civilian life in the name of Islam?

I hope for the sake of spreading good hip hop the FBI and CIA aren't listening to some self important, douche bag middle eastern rappers whining about this and that.



its funny when people judge middle eastern people, should we judge ALL christians and blacks for some of the stuff their people have done? 
are all black people in jail or criminals?
u can say most criminals in america are CHRISTIAN...does the christian faith get anything for that?
 

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 03:04:39 PM »
Quote
``Islamic beliefs and values are seen as the standard in hip-hop,'' says Adisa Banjoko, a San Jose author who is writing a book on hip-hop and Islam.

Bull. shit.


 

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 05:40:04 PM »
hip hop in general ain't got shit to do with islam. every other song is about fat bank accounts, fine ass white bitches, champagne drinkin and high livin. remember cube and ren trying to change they shit and they couldn't even do it. nobody is gonna buy that shit nigga. ren even gave khalid muhammad his own tracc on the villain in black and niggas laughed in his face. nobody wants to hear you praise allah nigga.
 

Anunikke

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2010, 11:16:43 PM »
I might be a wu-fan but isn't it obvious the 5 percenters are the strongest religious influence in hip-hop?
 

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2010, 04:57:08 PM »
hip hop in general ain't got shit to do with islam. every other song is about fat bank accounts, fine ass white bitches, champagne drinkin and high livin. remember cube and ren trying to change they shit and they couldn't even do it. nobody is gonna buy that shit nigga. ren even gave khalid muhammad his own tracc on the villain in black and niggas laughed in his face. nobody wants to hear you praise allah nigga.


These days hip-hop may not have much to do with Islam in general, but back in the 80's when they were laying down the foundations of hip-hop culture, Islam was an integral part of the movement.  In the Zulu Nation you have Afrika Islam he is one of the biggest pioneers, and the 5% movement was huge in New York at the time the pioneers were laying down hip-hop's foundation.  Because back then hip-hop was more about the struggle, and it had an anti-imperialist, pro-black agenda, and it was only natural that they identified with Islam as it represented the anti-thesis to white-Christianity.

I still have a collectors item from the early 90's it is a Source magazine, and on the cover are Muslim rap artists and it's all about Islam's influence in hip-hop.  They held a forum with orthodox Muslims, NOI, and 5 percenters and they all came together to talk about the differences amongst the sects, and how important it was to them to give a positive message and speak about Islam in their music and it's role in hip-hop.  I'm going to try to post a picture of that cover.
*******

"I will make records as big or bigger than Death Row".   -Dre, Source 1996

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Dre -  Source 1996 cover

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2010, 04:58:39 PM »
i'd say Satanism has a huge impact on rap music


look at Gravediggaz, Big L, Esham, Necro and some of the other best rappers and producers in the history of the game  8)
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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2010, 06:54:00 PM »
hip hop in general ain't got shit to do with islam. every other song is about fat bank accounts, fine ass white bitches, champagne drinkin and high livin. remember cube and ren trying to change they shit and they couldn't even do it. nobody is gonna buy that shit nigga. ren even gave khalid muhammad his own tracc on the villain in black and niggas laughed in his face. nobody wants to hear you praise allah nigga.


These days hip-hop may not have much to do with Islam in general, but back in the 80's when they were laying down the foundations of hip-hop culture, Islam was an integral part of the movement.  In the Zulu Nation you have Afrika Islam he is one of the biggest pioneers, and the 5% movement was huge in New York at the time the pioneers were laying down hip-hop's foundation.  Because back then hip-hop was more about the struggle, and it had an anti-imperialist, pro-black agenda, and it was only natural that they identified with Islam as it represented the anti-thesis to white-Christianity.

I still have a collectors item from the early 90's it is a Source magazine, and on the cover are Muslim rap artists and it's all about Islam's influence in hip-hop.  They held a forum with orthodox Muslims, NOI, and 5 percenters and they all came together to talk about the differences amongst the sects, and how important it was to them to give a positive message and speak about Islam in their music and it's role in hip-hop.  I'm going to try to post a picture of that cover.

Okay, the Nation of Islam has Islamic Influence..but 5%er's? They refer to God being a 'mystery God'... that ain't Islamiclly Influenced, that's Atheistic. Job callin' himself Allah.. I mean it's creative and thought provoking, arm, leg, leg, arm, head, but man, especially a black man, calling himself God is blasphemy, ain't it? Yeah soo.. I get the Psalms 82 as in referring to one as 'God' instead of 'nigga' but not to actually believe that shit. Hahaha. I like Brand Nubian and shit, but come on, that shit is dumb, to use 'Islam' like that to get at 'Christianity' especially in reference to Job constantly saying Islam was the 'motherland's religion'. lol. When Islam is only a little over 1500 years old and the fact Africans where characters in the damn Bible. Lol. Where the fuck is Job at? :laugh: Come defend yoself nigga.. if he was even serious in his belief.. I mean the 5%er's could 'use' Islamic terminology but that shit is not Islamically Influenced.
 

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2010, 07:31:42 PM »

 I mean the 5%er's could 'use' Islamic terminology but that shit is not Islamically Influenced.


I understand what your saying and obviously the 5% Nation is different from traditional Islam...

...yet, you mentioned that rappers of the 5% Nation use "Islamic terminology".  Well, rap is all about "terminology".  So when a rapper is doing his thing, and he is referencing the likes of orthodox Muslim icons such as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, or his name is Rza (name of one of the most famous Imams in Shia Islamic history), or Nas (after the last Surah of Qu'ran) or they are fantasizing about joining Iraq in the first Gulf War because "Sadaam Hussien prays the same" (as Rakim does in "Casualties of War" off of the Don't Sweat the Technique album... and so on...

...so what you have to the average listener is is a heavy Islamic influence regardless of whether the rapper is an orthodox Muslim, a member of the NOI, or a 5%.  

  
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 07:33:32 PM by Infinite »
*******

"I will make records as big or bigger than Death Row".   -Dre, Source 1996

"I didn't do nothing but make people money and I didn't leave nobody high and dry.  Any album (on death row) people are going to check for.  But it's time for Dre to worry about Dre.  I'm focused on the new Snoop Doggs, not like that but you know what I mean."

Dre -  Source 1996 cover

"Ain't trying to stick around for Illuminati (One World Government Takeover) / Got to buy my own island by the year 2-G

******
 

The Overfiend

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2010, 11:31:38 PM »

 I mean the 5%er's could 'use' Islamic terminology but that shit is not Islamically Influenced.


I understand what your saying and obviously the 5% Nation is different from traditional Islam...

...yet, you mentioned that rappers of the 5% Nation use "Islamic terminology".  Well, rap is all about "terminology".  So when a rapper is doing his thing, and he is referencing the likes of orthodox Muslim icons such as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, or his name is Rza (name of one of the most famous Imams in Shia Islamic history), or Nas (after the last Surah of Qu'ran) or they are fantasizing about joining Iraq in the first Gulf War because "Sadaam Hussien prays the same" (as Rakim does in "Casualties of War" off of the Don't Sweat the Technique album... and so on...


   

Interesting.
 

jeromechickenbone

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Re: Hip-Hop's Islamic Influence
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2010, 03:20:20 PM »
i'd say Satanism has a huge impact on rap music


look at Gravediggaz, Big L, Esham, Necro and some of the other best rappers and producers in the history of the game  8)

Bingo...you could add literally hundreds more - Dre, Eazy, Snoop, Em, Bone, Jay, Lynch, etc etc etc...the music industry as a whole, not even just hip hop.