Far too often, we get so absorbed with a rappers’ lyrics and beats that we are clueless as to the lives they live behind the scenes of their music and public personas. And many times their lives can surprise us…
For example, many hip hop artists are practicing Muslims. And these rappers have been able to incorporate their religious beliefs into their rhymes throughout the years. In a world where far too many people associate Islam with terrorism, Muslim rappers are standing up to spread awareness about the religion…Learn from these 12 Muslim rappers now!
Kevin Gates has recently began rhyming about being a Muslim very recently. In one bar, he rapped, “I’m a Muslim I don’t believe it in Christmas – thou shalt not judge I thought you was a Christian”. His words are inspiring countless people to practice peace…
Another famous hip hop artist you might not have known was a Muslim rapper is Dave East. “I know [there’s] a reason for everything that’s happening for me,” East told REVOLT while standing outside the Islamic Cultural Center of New York. “With the music and with the religion, they’re both my life. At the same time, the religion is what balances me,” he explained. “And I have something to keep me grounded.”
For Lupe Fiasco, being a Muslim rapper is a challenge. “It just depends on who you put yourself around,” he said. “[It’s] challenging to be a Muslim and a rapper. I’ll see friends who smoke and unfortunately some friends who drink, and some other things that we’re not supposed to be seeing or doing…at the end of the day we’re human.”
Busta Rhymes is not afraid to come out and tell the world that he is a Muslim rapper. In the interview above, he describes how his faith helps keep him grounded in the hectic life of being a hip hop celebrity…
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Akon spoke about his religious views in his song, “Senegal,” where he raps: “So what you know about how God comes first in our lives, everything that we do is for Allah/So what you know about that Holy place called Touba where Prophets are born/So what you know about comin here, gettin money and investing it back home.”
As part of the Five Percenters, rapper Big Daddy Kane has put his religion first. The group is an offshoot of the Nation of Islam originally founded by Clarence X. Kane puts the Five Percenter flags on his albums and even named himself by the acronym “King Asiatic Nobody Equal” based on his religious group that believes the Asiatic is the true heritage of the black man.
Having converted in the 1990s, Ice Cube is a Muslim. When asked about his relationship with God, he said, “What I call myself is a natural Muslim, because it’s just me and God. You know, going to the mosque, the ritual and the tradition, it’s just not in me to do. So I don’t do it.”
In an effort to shatter stereotypes about Islam, Q-Tip is leading the charge. “It doesn’t make a difference what you are. I read the Quran and it appealed to me. At the time I was agnostic and it really breathed spiritually back into me. For me it’s really a cushion, it’s cool, I’m cool with it.”
First introduced to Islam by his father, Mos Def, also known as Yasiin Bey, officially joined the religion when he was 19-years-old. He was famously quoted as saying: “If Islam’s sole interest is the welfare of mankind, then Islam is the strongest advocate of human rights anywhere on Earth.”
Though he never practiced Islam as a young man, Raekwon converted back in 2007. He said, “I’ve always been Allah’s son, but I think that everyman has to have a spiritual side to them and understand the ins and outs of who they are… I wanna walk free now, I wanna feel free, I wanna know my maker, and my maker knows I wanna know him, so it’s very important for me.”
As a very vocal Muslim rapper, Rakim has been practicing Islam since his teens. “I love what I live and I live Islam, so I applied it to everything I do,” Rakim told the Final Call. “I applied it to my rhymes and I felt that I wanted the people to know what I knew. I felt that I was put here for that purpose and I just want to fulfill my legacy as far as being a conscious rapper and putting the word that I felt the streets needed to hear out there.”