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.