Cat Stevens becomes Yusuf Islam
I came across this very interesting documentary on the journey of Cat Stevens converting to Islam. It’s interesting because of how much I can relate to it. I urge any Muslim musicians or artists to take a moment to watch this piece of clip. It will certainly open up your eyes to a bigger cause, inshaAllah.
Anyway, this makes me want to share about my experience with Hip Hop and how I try to make sense of it through Islam.
I was a avid Hip Hop listener. Having organized my own hip hop music compilations and gigs, I had my fair share of experience in this beautiful subculture. Hip Hop has developed much throughout the years, from what started in the streets of Bronx in the late 70s is now one of the major genres featured in MTV. Hip Hop is now a vast subculture and is appreciated all over the world, from China to France.
I think Hip Hop in essence is a celebration of life. It manifests itself from that idea and from there you have the different elements like Rap, Graffiti, DJing and breakdancing. Its provides a celebratory perception to life. It’s like an addictive which makes life more colorful and spicy.
Unfortunately, having received much mass-appeal Hip Hop has inevitably fallen into the hands of corporatism. Suddenly it has become a tool for generating money. It has swerved from its foundation to being something that is extremely rigid. It promotes masculinity, sexism, and promiscuous living. From being a celebration of life, it has turned to something braggadocios. This is of course is the mainstream view of Hip Hop.
I’m a born Muslim and my values are exactly the opposite of the mainstream’s view of Hip Hop. Nowadays in gigs, fellow Muslim brothers and sisters are getting way too influenced on what’s showing on MTV. It’s worrying. Even smiling has become something that is sinful within this bunch.
Is that what Hip Hop is all about? I disagree. Islamic way of living is beautiful and when we moderately include Hip Hop in it, it will become more enjoyable. Let’s take some time off and reflect back to Islam and inshaAllah, we’ll see the bigger picture and fight towards it.