MAY 14, 2015—Islam has a rich artistic heritage of architecture, design, music, painting, and poetry. Muslim poets like Rumi and Hafez are famous for a depth and beauty that defies time. Today, that poetic tradition is still strong. It’s kept alive in what many may perhaps consider an unlikely place—urban America, through the genre of hip hop.
Artists like Yasiin Bey – known as Mos Def, Q-tip from Tribe Called Quest, and Lupe Fiasco all identify as Muslim hip hop artists. Their music mostly veers away from rap themes of braggadocio, girls, or money. Instead, they talk about personal reflection, faith, family, politics and social justice issues. The Bay Area boasts many Muslim hip hop artists, including San Jose rapper Tyson Amir. In this piece from KALW’s Hana Baba, we get to know him and how his faith informs his music.
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