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6 Hip-Hop Artists You Didn’t Know Were Muslim

You may have heard Tommy Evans joining us in the studio this week! Following on from his enticing contribution, we take a look at some of the hottest artists in hip-hop. Not only are they fierce and thoughtful, but they are also unapologetically Muslim. In fact, their religion doesn’t completely take over their public image. They are talented musicians, and their faith seeps into their work and inspires them on a personal level.

Here they are:

Mos Def

Otherwise known as Yasiin Bey, Mos Def shared open mic nights with Saul Williams, Talib Kweli and Erykah Badu in New York cafes before the slam scene and underground hip-hop culture of the 90s. He appeared in plays, television and film since he was a teenager. At 19, he became a Muslim, changing his first name from Dante to Yaslin. His political and social engagement has made him one of the most respected rappers of his generation.

“God is on your side, the devil is a lie… But when all is said and done there’s only One.” – ‘Wahid’

muslim-hip-hop-artists-lupe-fiasco

Lupe Fiasco
This Chicago-born rapper initially disliked hip-hop for what he felt was casual obscenity and degradation of women in popular lyrics. Lupe Fiasco began rapping at age 19 with the group Da Pak, but he became widely recognised when his debut album Food & Liquor was leaked online in 2006. His album was met with positive reviews for its “mature subject matter grounded in his Muslim faith and inventive mixes”. The disc earned three Grammy nominations including Best Rap Album.

“Living conditions, religion, ignorant wisdom and artistic vision I began to jot, tap the world and listen, it drop” – ‘Hurt Me Soul’

Day of Dignity at Masjid An-Nur in North Minneapolis.

Day of Dignity at Masjid An-Nur in North Minneapolis.

Brother Ali

Brother Ali’s near-iconic album cover is not one that treads lightly. It features him in monochrome praying on a mat of the American flag in colour. Legally classed as blind due to his albinism, Brother Ali’s lyrics often discuss racial inequality and social justice. He has been rapping since he was just eight years old, and he converted to Islam at the age of 15.

“I stand here naked as the day I was born Face to the dawn and my faith in the song” – ‘Truth Is’

muslim-hip-hop-artists-busta-rhymes

Busta Rhymes

 Busta Rhymes is famed for the depth of his rhymes. One of the significant years of change in his life was in 1983 when his parents got divorced and he decided to change his religious beliefs. He also suffered personal loss in 1992 when he lost his son. These challenges haunt his four albums. Busta Rhymes has spoken publically about his faith, explaining that Islam is what “grounds” him.

“I’m too blessed to fit the mould, they said press six to give your soul Or not and you can hold, you ain’t never gonna explode” – ‘Hello’

muslim-hip-hop-artists-q-tip

Q-Tip

About two years ago, Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes joined forces to release their first mixtape together, The Abstract & The Dragon, following two decades of collaborations. Q-Tip is the founder of the hugely successful hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, whose other leading member Phife Dawg recently passed away. He became a Muslim just prior to the recording of their Grammy-nominated album, Beats, Rhymes and Life.

“Seeing ain’t believing, it’s the feeling that we needing Believe in each other, put the question to the system” – ‘Believe’

muslim-hip-hop-artists-ice-cube

Ice Cube

O’Shea Jackson, as he once was, is one of the most famous rappers in the world. He first found fame as a member of the influential hip-hop act, NWA. He was at the centre of NWA classics like ‘Express Yourself and ‘Straight Outta Compton’. What’s interesting about his path is that he chose to become a Muslim at the height of his fame in the mid-1990s, living, in his words, as a “natural Muslim”. He also became an actor during this time, so you’ll definitely recognise him from a couple of films.

“Just wakin up in the mornin gotta thank God” – ‘It Was A Good Day’

We hope you enjoyed this… and we’re pretty sure you know a few more!

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