Monday’s Music

There’s no doubt that Islam has had an impact on hip-hop music and artists, particularly in the early 1990s. Groups like Brand Nubian and A Tribe Called Quest put Arabic words into a hip-hop head’s vocabulary and brought some styles of Muslim dress to the fore. For a so-called conscious rapper not to know anything about Islam was just unheard of.

At the same time though, the early ’90s was one of hip-hop’s most hardcore times and some of the images put forth purportedly representing Islam were not, let’s say, peaceful. Exhibit A: Brand Nubian’s “Allah u Akbar.” This video would not have been made today–not this way. But it does say something about what being a Muslim–part of a religion outside of the American mainstream–meant to some Black men, particularly those who converted.

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2 responses to “Monday’s Music

  1. 90s hip hop definitely opened my eyes to Islam. One This that should be mentioned is the vast difference between Islam and the 5% Nation of Gods and Earths.

  2. That’s true. While some of Brand Nubian’s themes would be familiar to Muslims, they repped the Five Percenters, the Nation of Gods and Earths, not orthodox Islam. The Five Percent Nation was founded by a former Nation of Islam member and, in short, it teaches that man is–or has the capacity to be–God and woman, the Earth.

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