An emerging trend is the appearance of films about Muslim hip-hop. Today on Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates, we quickly outline three of them and include their trailers below. First, the upcoming Deen Tight is a film about how hip-hop has influenced the lives of Muslims around the world, starting in the United States. Second, Slingshot Hip-Hop follows Palestinian rappers as they examine their experiences of being discriminated in the region and their Arab roots. Rather than follow a group of musicians, the last documentary New Muslim Cool, focuses on the story of Puerto Rican American rapper Hamza Perez who stopped using drugs twelve years ago, converted to Islam, and now is part of the rap duo M-team.
Special thank you to Riyaad M and Hussein Rashid for sending us rap groups to look into.
Despite the debate over whether any type of music is permissible in Islam, different types of Islamic rap have popped up around the world. As I mentioned in a post last January, American rapper Lupe Fiasco, for instance, is Muslim but does not typically speak to Islamic issues or messages. Another example is rapper K’Naan. In fact, Muslim rap is not exactly new. The controversial Fun^Da^Mental has been on the scene since 1994.
Hip hop and diplomacy are just as unlikely a pair as heavy metal and Islam to the Western mind. Nevertheless, hip hop and heavy metal are popular forms of music among youth in the Middle East. As in every society, the younger generation struggles to find alternatives to tradition through travel, study, and rebellion. The next generation in the Middle East faces the pressure of rebuilding a region after years of war. They are playing metal and hip hop to rebel against the surrounding culture of violence and war. Popular music suggests that a lot of Muslim youth are choosing an alternative to political activism, living their daily lives apart from ethnic and religious conflict with politics in the West.
Hip Hop Diplomacy in Morocco