Fear of a Muslim Planet: Hip-Hop’s Hidden History

hip hop & islam

via The Daily Star

Journalist Harry Allen once called Islam “hip-hop’s unofficial religion.” This theme is echoed by Adisa Banjoko, unofficial ambassador of Muslim hip-hop, who says: “Muslim influence was at the ground floor of hip hop. Hip hop came from the streets, from the toughest neighborhoods, and that’s always where the Muslims were.”

Hip-hop’s Muslim connection came initially via the 5 Percenter sect, and later expanded to embrace Nation of Islam (NOI), Sufi, and Sunni Islam. Since the 1980s, there have also been shifts where 5 Percenters have moved to NOI or Sunni beliefs. The same artists’ back catalog may reflect both his 5 Percenter beliefs and his later NOI faith. Islamic iconography, philosophy, and phrases are in fact so widespread in hip-hop, they show up regularly even in the works of non-Muslim rappers.
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