Few Muslim artists come close to the educational lyrics produced by one of our newest additions: Baby Muslims. True, many Muslim artists cover Islamic subjects, but this group takes the cake for actually teaching the faith to their listeners. Their songs are a premier example of how Islam can be communicated through the power of music. We caught up with the group for an unprecedented interview:
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Why did you call yourselves "Baby Muslims"?
TroyKamal: We chose Babymuslims because we are fairly new to this din (way of life). We don't claim any authority and we're not scholars, we are just learning as we go.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Where exactly are you from? Where did you grow up?
TroyKamal: My parents came from the West Indies (Jamaica/St.Vincent) i was born and raised in north west London.
Idris: My parents are from Tanzania (East Africa) I was born and raised in north west London.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What are your main musical influences?
TroyKamal: Idris, Xav & Dan (Silent Voice), Justin & Tony (B.M.E), Prince, Ultramagnetic-MC's
Idris: TroyKamal, Nas, 2Pac, Yusuf Islam, Sammi Yusuf, Mos-Def, Kweli, Rakim, Masta-Ace, Outkast, Cee-lo, Cold Play, Old Soul classics.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What inspired you to do Muslim/Islamic music?
Idris: Hip Hop is huge. A lot of people listen to it, a lot of people are inspired by it, but almost all of it is Haram. So it makes sense to have a Halal alternative. The youth of today insist on listening to music, at least they should have a Halal alternative to encourage them to go back to the din. I heard a talk from Imam Siraj Wahhaj and he said something like, for every man selling a Haram magazine, there should be someone selling a Halal magazine. And also I personally feel the need to correct the misconceptions people have of our beautiful religion (for the time being) the best way I know how, through hip hop.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What are some of the key issues you are tackling in your songs?
TroyKamal: For me, it's all about change. The decision to change from materialism to spirituality, from ego to humility, from unruliness to discipline.
Idris: Correcting misconceptions of Islam and explaining the din through logic one line at a time.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Do you feel that you are making a difference with your music?
TroyKamal: We hope so. From the responses on myspace we can see that people are appreciating & listening to the words. Also, for our non-muslim friends we can show Islam in a positive light & present it in a way they might otherwise not have seen
Idris: InshAllah, I dont expect anyone to take their Shahadah from listening to us (laughs), but I hope we can encourage people to at least look their actions.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What can we expect from you in the future?
TroyKamal: More change. Possibly a few clips on u you tube, a solo effort by Idris entitled soul: rouh (breath of life) & of course the LP's available on myspace: the blue pill, awakening & life (the complete first series)
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Without giving away any secrets, how do you produce your songs? What software do you use?
TroyKamal: You should go see Silent Voice (they have some great deals on production @ the moment!)
Idris: Logic Platinum & QBase. In the future, just live drums and accapellas InshAllah
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: How would you say you are different from the other 100 or so Muslim hip hop artists?
Idris: Actually, we never knew that there was such a large number of Muslim hip hop artists out there, Alhumdulilah and personally I dont look for the differences, Im just happy that we have been blessed to be a part of it! Although I do find the biggest challenge in music is to keep our egos in check, because for me that is the line between Halal and Haram.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: The Muslim community has been ailing for quite some time now (external oppression, internal division) what do you think can combat this?
TroyKamal: Show the beauty in unity, illustrate how far reaching Islam is, how it has been embraced. Try to express that Islam is bigger than any one person's idea or perception.
Idris: Yes, people need to remember respect. Just because a person practices slightly different or may have a slightly different opinion, that doesnt give us the right to belittle, judge, back bite or oppress. Always maintain respect because that same person is guaranteed to have atleast one quality that you may be lacking. Only Allah knows best.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What would you like to say to your fans?
TroyKamal: Fans? Strange idea. To our brothers & sisters appreciating our music please keep in mind that this comes from our love & appreciating of Allah, our love for our children & a need to keep each other focused on the bigger picture.
Idris: Im not to keen on the word fans (laughs) but Id like to thank everyone who has given us feedback and support so far through our musical journey. And may Allah reward them for there kindness.