Here’s a post by a Muslim who attended, then left the event.
“We have recently been witness to the emergence of Muslim Hip Hop, and were present at the two events at the Drum recently. We have lots to say about this and plenty of Muslim Freaks were present.
Our sisters Poetic Pilgrimage, although in the debate on Thursday gave off the impression they were reserved, proved otherwise during the Friday performance. Dancing and wiggling away on stage with other men, in front of a mix crowd of teenagers with full on music. This is not the behaviour of dignified muslim women. I am not against the creative expression of women via poetry, but they are taking it a bit too far.
Kumasi and DJ BLM, were guilty of the same. Encouraging the crowd to stand up and come forward, which lead to people dancing and jumping all over the place… It was utter madness and i personally saw a good number walk off in disgust.
This is Muslim Hip Hop? I have been following this for a while, and I must say I have enjoyed going to spoken-word/conscious hip Hop events, where there has been positive vibes, and performers who knew the limits.
But I think this type of event, where the lyrics were drowned out by very loud music, where you can barely make out the lyrics, people shouting BRAP BRAP, was really just a nightclub gig without alcohol being consumed. I personally feel this event was devoid of any religious benefit, and was just a auditorium full of teenage boys and girls who were glad to be out of the house.”
Courtesy of this blog.
Here are some other [at least claimed] eyewitness accounts.
“Aapa, the younger generation of today look for some sources of inspiration. Not only through the Quran, Sunnah & Books of knowledge but also through people.
I personally don’t listen to a lot of Hip-hop but the events over the last few days have managed to hit a spot and I feel like I want to listen to it again and again to keep me inspired. I’m actually sat here wishing I was part of them gatherings again because their words are focused on the deen, their words have a deeper more spiritual effect. Their words are spoken from the heart which you also feel.. You know how they say “your words penetrated my soul”… that’s the effect they had on me.
It’s not easy to go up to the brothers and sisters perfoming and say “Dude, your stuff was deeeeeeeeeep” but I also wish that we could let them know they’re doing a great job and need to continue doing what they do “
i found the events even though no one got back to me :p ok i had a few points that i really think need to be made. the debate was good in that i really feel it needed to take place, but again like soulseekers i dont think that it was a balanced debate in that the whole panel had the same opinion and so it just became a kind of conversation and justification rather than a debate more like a question and answer session.
the second thing is that i think that all the artists made their points clear in that they dont claim to be promoting “islamic hip hop” this is a label that has been put on by others and so we need to be careful of accusing people of doing things that they are not. all artists made their position clear: they were muslims who were hip hop artists. they used hip hop as a way to spread their message. i think that the poetry and the messages in a lot of the performances were great very strong and very meaningful. the Spoken word stuff by PP and Lowkeys Palestine track was so powerful.
ok then i went to the malcolm x event the day after which scared the hell out of me we had women and men dancing together on stage and muslims cheering. now i dont want to judge the artists as allah is the only judge but i mean come on are we so far from the path that we cant see what is acceptable in islam and what is not? i think that the poetry and the accapellas were amazing the rest of the stuff i felt we were falling in to muddy ground it just didnt feel right, and with all the music and the instruments and the dancing i didnt understand a word of the “message” that they were trying to get out to me as i was so involved in the instruments and the bass, and the dancing. that whole side of it took away from the positive and the beautiful message im sure they were trying to get across
i realy dont want to sound negative as i have tried to look at this as forward thinking as possible. this is because its a debate that has many layers and needs to unravelled delicately
i think muslim belal was wicked , and i think pp’s white lillies and the other spoken word stuff that they did was amazing. and as for the bhams poet man with the dreads lol he cracked me.
still feeling a bit unsure though. this is just my opinion nothing more nothing less.
I think as muslims we often do not give enough constructive criticism and we always end up praising and just staying silent instead of criticism- which may be a good thing. But in some ways, it is not, because it means we forever go round in circles, and are happy with the status quo, and instead issues that need to be dealt with never do. In a practical sense it means artists will not develop, because their egos are forever being massaged, and they will not only continue in what they do, but go further and further away.
I think its pretty clear people were disturbed by some of the performers, and the manner of which they behaved. and like the previous poster mentioned, of course if we think deeply, anyone would have to agree, there are some serious issues here, me personally i think its a healthy thing that we are questioning it.
in reference to dreadlock alien. I think its ironic, that – in my view – the most humblest of artists from both of the two days, happened to be a non muslim. He didnt have to prance around the stage and wave his arms around. His persona on stage was very humble and its a shame our muslim performers dont take a leaf out of his book.
ok firstly on the panel there was a sheikh who all the artists used as a reference point to what they were doing. whether we agree with the sheikh or not he was their teacher and they were referring back to him to give them the scholarly advice that they needed on grey areas. this is what i meant when i said that they were making their position clear. we can say that we need islam as a reference point all day long but whose islam do you use? islam is such a diverse religion with so many scholars and different opinions where do you draw the line?
in regards to the hip hop performances i dont know what the artists expected to achieve by that or even where they felt that was going to land the debate. i mean they obviously hadnt thought it through. i mean im not a scholar so im not sure what their sheikh was using to justify that kind of stuff but i am pretty sure that majority of mainstream scholars would disagree with what they were doing. also to do perform like that at a malcolm X concert a man who reached a turning point after his hajj just baffles me.
i think that the reason why such a debate is happening is because so many scholars differ on this viewpoint. and that has created confusion and uncertainty in the muslim ummah. also we cant deny that fact that many do listen to music, many young muslims are inclined to a hip hop culture i always always always thought music was haraaam if you listen to it you listen to it but it was always thought to be haraam. even though i listen to music sometimes i wouldnt listen to it on jumaah or around salaat time or in ramadhaan etc i would expect it to be turned off so i think that means in my heart of hearts no matter what anyone says i feel it is haraam. BUT i dont mind the accapellas and the spoken word stuff because that is just the voice and the message.
also again i feel that their hasnt been an opposing argument based on hadith and quran put forward in a strong way so if anyone can back up what they are saying by quran and hadith that would help a lot
ok i went to the malcolm x event and also the islam hip hop one. my criticism about the islam hip hop event was that i felt it was very one sided BUT i do think that the audience challenged the panel well and i also felt that the artists answered back accordingly. regardless of whether we agree with their arguments or not they seemed to feel that they did justice to the topic and i again felt that they didnt claim to be anything that they werent: they were muslims who performed hip hop. i thought fair enough allah will judge us all accordingly. i did feel that their arguments needed to be challenged further maybe with scholarly backing of the alternative arguments. the debate was very one sided. it was just one perspective. the debate needs to continue in the mainstream as there were many young people there who could easily be influenced. If majority say that Music is haraam then how do we deal with an emergence of hip hop artists who are building a muslim audience. if it is halal (dont all start screaming i have read the previous threads but there are still people out there who strongly believe that it is permissible. they have shayukh and ulema who say it is acceptable and so nothing anyone on this forum is gonna say is going to make a difference to them) how do we deal with the opposition against as i have a stron feeling that this culture is growing. on the night i think that artists such as PP carried themselves well, they performed very meaningful poetry and overall i think they did themselves justice with their words. my thinking was let them do what they wanna do its a bit of poetry with strong messages.
overall i thought that the event was ok. as a result i went home and got my wife and her sisters ready for the day after the malcolm x tour. now for some reason because i saw sheikh babikirs name on the banners, and cuz RMW do a lot of speaker tours with renowned scholars such as Sheikh Habib Ali Jifri it didnt even enter in to my head that the event would be anything like what it was. i knew that sheikh babikir wasnt speaking in brum but i just thought that he wouldve had an overall influence on the tour. anyway we got there and it was a disappointment that malikah couldnt make it but cant be helped may allah grant her a speedy recovery.
from the onset i was disappointed everything that the artists had said the day before about using poetry and music to get their message out there all went out of the window. firstly the music was so loud i couldnt even hear what they were singing about. the performances were so in ur face i felt like we were in anight club or something. you know im quite an open minded guy i gave the hip hop scene the benefit of the doubt from thursday felt that maybe just maybe this scene could have a positive impact on british muslim youth esp those who have strayed and are looking to kanye west and tupac as their role models.
however what i saw was alot of imitating of US hip hop artists, then all this brapppppppping business started? i mean why do we need to pump muslims artists egos like that thats not what islam has taught us i thought it was all about humility and praise only to allah? am i wrong on that? then i saw muslim women and men performing together on stage, i swear if there was men and women doing poetry together i wouldve been ok with that because we would’ve been overcome by teh words of the poems. BUT what we saw was our sisters dancing with men on stage. you can talk about social change all you want but i think that some stuff is so fundamental to our deen that if you take that away from us you take away our very essence which is the adhab of a muslim.please remember i also took my wife and her sisters to this event so you can imagine the dissapointment. i mean we’re young people just fresh out of uni, done the clubbing days but when i came to islam (not a revert but when i saw the “light”) i made a conscious decision to leave all of that behind. again some stuff im still open to i like to be open minded but some stuff i felt takes away the essense. im not really knowledgable but i do have common sense.
kumasi kumasi kumasi ive never in my life thought i would see the day when i would see someone on stage dancing to la illah ha il allah and also saying it with the backing of loads of instruments. bringing the whole audience to the front and getting them to wave their hands. that is not the muslim way. i mean are we so far from the deen that we cant see what damage that could do? them words are a declaration of our faith. again i really tried to stay open minded but overall i think that was the final straw for me. after that i couldnt see past it. because there was limited difference between that night and my clubbing days. except in my clubbing days you knew it was wrong whereas on friday ppl were actually thinking it was ok because it was all in the name of malcolm x, muslim artists and muslim organisers.
ok the good points about the event is that the organiser dude did a really humble and lifting speech about malcolm x and his life and how we can use it as and example, i think artists like muslim belal were good because it made you understand and realise what struggles ppl go through when they come in to islam but also how they are still so proud to be muslim, we take it for granted to much. i think PP’s White lillies was good again i liked the stuff that had a meaning but there was so much there that didnt. dreadlock alien was great.
i dont know what the national response has been but im sure nationally people shaykh babikir was at event. would be interesting to get some feedback on comparisons with his presence on the tour.
I second what Sidi Jashim said… I went to the Hounslow event and yesterday’s in London and found both to be inspiring evenings in their own right. Both had a different atmosphere but SubhanAllah truly amazing. I loved Kumasi’s performance last night and Muslim Belal the day before but not forgetting all the other artists who were equally as inspiring: Mohammed Yahya, Masika, Poetic Pilgrimage and Beatbox Unorthodox…
I also went to the radical middle way event, the following day – a muslim hip hop concert. It started off ok, but i felt the behavior of some of the artists was quite shocking. The dancing on stage with full on music, alongside other men was quite disturbing. Our sisters Poetic Pilgrimage, although on the panel debate seemed reserved, i think their behavior the following day was very contradictory and not appropriate. The whole event just seemed to be pretty much like any mainstream Hip Hop concert. I certainly think this was insult to relate this event to Malcolm X and the proof of Muslims in Hip Hop being a dangerous thing, was very clear at the concert and some of the performances. I think there needs to be parameters set, and its clear that muslim artists who start off ok, seem to stray away from their original goals.