The Islamic Roots of Hip Hop Culture In the following dissertation, some unfamiliar truths about hip hop ;s interrelation and co-dependence with Islam will be uncovered and discussed incorporating well- known music paradigms and historical facts, in order to reveal the religions ‘ influence and association with the genre of hip hop. There can be little doubt that hip hop music has evolved as a global phenomenon. It has become increasingly difficult to find countries, or even regional areas, whereby the music has not made an Integral Impression.
The research suggests that hip hop has become a platform hereby certain communities have made their voices heard within the hip hop industry; that which is prevalent within the Islamic world. In order to better understand how this co-dependent relationship was cultivated between hip hop and the Muslim sects, we need to refer to the socio-economic situation of the Muslim populace during the sass’s. We will uncover to what degree hip hop was at the center of their existence and the facts which warrant this Identity with this genre of music.
This can be best described by Dallas Ban]kook as stating, ” Muslim influence was at the ground floor of hip hop. The unofficial ambassador of Muslim hip hop goes on to say, “Hip hop came from the streets, from the toughest neighborhoods, and that’s always where Muslims were. ” (p 395). What is interesting to note that Name Nominee suggested in the article, “Fear of a Muslim Planet: Hip-Hop ‘s Hidden History,” is that the co-dependent connection between hip hop and the Muslim populace emanated with the 5 Percent sect and later grew to Include the Nation of Islam (NON), Suffix, and Sunnis Classicist.
In keeping with our understanding about the connection of hip hop to Islam, It is essential to explore rather the article outlined by Name Anomie regarding the 5 Percent Nation. This sect of Islam was founded by Clarence XX in 1964 (p 401). As stated in the article, the 5 Percent Nation ‘s clout lay predominantly in their involvement with music. Clarence XX taught his followers that the black man was “Allah. ” His followers were divided Into three percentage categories; 85% were deemed Ignorant,unlearned and uncivilized people who need to be led (mostly churchgoers).
It is conveyed in the article that these followers are believed to have no “knowledge of self”, were bloodsuckers of the poor” and the remaining 5 % were esteemed to be those who thought/believed like himself and his followers. The “poor, righteous teachers”, the ones who do possess knowledge of themselves, their origins, and the way the world system really Is (p 401). The highly regarded masses who made up the 5%, were acknowledged In a hip hop song by Www-Tang Clan, called “Www-Revolution,” Forever, 1999.
This song was also well-timed, as this decade was obviously a time of great struggle for blacks in America. This was a message (very similar to the black primacies doctrines of the NON) that made black youths feel superior in a world where they were viewed as inferior. According to the article, Clarence XX received the nickname, “Pudding” since he lyrics sung by Clarence XX(Pudding) were eloquent and a spell-binding usage of African-American slang. One of the first projects that emerged in 1974 out of New York was known as the Zulu Nation.
This association was comprised of Do’s, graffiti artists and talented breakfasters. One member of the 5 Percent nation in particular, linked the connection between music (rap) and Islam. He was bitterly known as, Racism. He infused Five-percent teachings and symbolism throughout their music and videos. This can be exemplified with his lyrics, “All praise due to Allah and that ‘s a blessing. ” (p 402). As the research suggests, the way in which the relationship between Muslims and the hip hop industry developed was due to the following.
Muslims came to dominate the hip hop nation due to the alliance between the 5 Presenters, the NON members, music and with the black church ‘s relationship with hip hop. Regarding the 5 Presenters, it was their involvement with wordplay, numerology and race theory. Whereas, for the NO’, they used rap as a preaching medium during an era when the black Christian communities denounced the music genre. Another reason as to why Muslims identify with hip hop can be understood with the example of their Holy Book; the Quo ‘ ran. As the author suggests, H.
Sammy Alum distinguished the structural and symbolic parallels between hip hop verses and the Quo ‘ ranks content. As history recounts, the Quo ‘ran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed orally with melodic composition. Hip hop has been described throughout this article serving as a mouth piece for inner-city, impoverished peoples in order for hem to feel confident expressing their stories, thoughts and feelings through melody. According to H. Sammy Alum, a correlation can be drawn between hip hop and the Quo ‘ran’s content in that they both contain rhyme schemes.
He believes that rhyme allows for the reader to maintain a profound relationship with its contents when its recited; hip hop achieves the same outcome with its poetic characteristics (p 405). In addition to H. Sammy Alum, another significant member of the NO’, Minister Farmhand, has spoken highly of hip hop and included the Prophet Mohammed in his Houghton as saying, “Through me, Muhammad will forever speak. ” (p 405). Another well known rapper, JET the Biggs Fig has been described as fusing innovative words of the Quo ‘ran with street lingo in order to convey his beliefs to his followers.
JET is quoted by saying, ” It’s almost like with Allah how he’ll describe his prophets as moonlight”. It is important to note, as stated in the article, not all sects within Islam welcome the comparisons between hip hop and the quo ‘ runic narratives due to their religious affiliations and (or) beliefs. For example, the more religious sects believe hat the words in the Quo ‘ran should be chanted and not sung (p 406). Contrary to their orthodox counterparts, the younger Muslim generation does not share in this belief ideology. For them, hip hop was regarded as a, “boost to their understanding of Islam” (p 407).
These moderate, younger, hip hop enthusiasts came to be known as the ” Generation M”. They uphold a traditional Islamic view and sing about current affairs subject in the West (p 411). In conclusion, the influence of Islam was very strong and evident. Thus, hip-hop, a baby at the time, was of course shaped by this as well. Hip-hop gave Black youth a littoral and a voice. Many admired the Muslim lifestyle, and were captivated by the Farmhand. Thus, many artists began to use their lyrical skills to speak on political issues and the problems in the black community.
Islamic themes and Arabic terms increasingly thread the colorful fabric that is hip hop. Self-proclaimed Muslim rap artists – whether adhering to the Nation of Islam, the Five Percent Nation, or traditional Sunnis Islam – proudly announce their faith and include “Islamic” messages of social Justice in their lyrics. As we have learned throughout the readings, hip hop is revolutionary. When it came out in the asses it was not the norm. It was the voice of a downtrodden people – people in poor areas strongly influenced by NON and Five Percent ideas.
Hip-Hop and Islam intersected early on in rap’s history when the young poets (Generation M) began to embrace the teachings of Malcolm X (also known as El-HaJJ Mali El-Sabbath). Confirmed in our readings, Racism was the first and most widely recognized rapper to outwardly profess the teachings of Islam, and at one time, he even rapped under the moniker Racism Allah (or “Sun God”). Public Enemy name-checked Minister Louis Farmhand on songs such as “Don’t Believe the Hype”: “A follower of Farmhand / don’t tell me that you understand / until you hear the man. The research suggests that Minister Farmhand played a very valuable role in the world of hip hop. As we learn, he was a strong representative for several first and second generation rappers; two well known rappers, 50 Cent and Jag Rule (p 404). This subject has shed light on the potent role that hip hop has played in shaping ideas and influencing contemporary culture. We were surprised and challenged as we have broadened our knowledge in understanding how prominent music artists and Islam have influenced the development and longevity of hip hop.