It is the end of another holy Ramadan, which means it’s EID! Eid Mubarak to all, and I hope you are spending the time with loved ones (safely) and having a good time.
On today’s dayfour drop, I decided to showcase some of my favourite Muslim musicians we may or may not know who practice or identify with Islam. Here we go:
*Disclaimer: All the names below are North American artists and there are many many more th.at I could list. These are just few.. a few that I personally I find interesting.
My girl SZA (born Solána Imani Rowe) grew up with a Muslim father and went to Muslim Prep School in New Jersey. SZA even wore a hijab when she was younger but was subject to brutal Islamophobic behaviors after the September 11th attacks (which subsequently let to her removing her headscarf). SZA to this day practices Islam and recently did an interview with Muslim Girl Founder Amani for a TikTok chat on #MuslimWomensDay. SZA shared her experiences as a Muslimah and growing up as a hijabi. SZA’s groundbreaking Ctrl album discusses her sense of control that’s been lost; she has come out previously saying her loss of herself and her faith lead to seeking more stability. SZA is an excellent example that Islam is not a one size fits all image of religiosity and more so, that is a spectrum of people who hold the same faith.
Favorite SZA song: Supermodel (as well as every other song listed on Ctrl )
Lupe Fiasco (born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) was born Muslim and the offspring of a Black Panther. Fiasco is what I would consider being a conscious rapper, not interested in being a role model or on a pedestal. He still speaks his truth. Fiasco raps about his distaste of misogyny, the systems of oppression, his relationship with Allah, and his relationship with himself, among other things. Fiasco believes songwriting is storytelling, and the stories we hear are from a first-person perspective. Fiasco even remixed Kanye West’s Jesus Walks to Muhammad Walks, which became popular within the community.
My Favourite Lupe Fiasco Song: Superstar feat Matthew Santos
Majid (from Majid Jordan)
Majid (born Majid Al Maskati) from Majid Jordan was born in Bahrain and moved to Toronto. Majid met his eventual music partner Jordan Ullman on Majid’s birthday, both University of Toronto students at the time, a few years making music together and the rest was history (history being them become the sensation Majid Jordan). I am a huge Majid Jordan fan. I saw Majid Jordan perform a few years ago at a music festival, and their discography just slaps. They are among the more prominent names on the OVO roster, with a long road of success ahead of them.
Favorite Majid Jordan Songs: Small Talk, Her, A Place Like This
Gates and his wife both said in a statement that they believe they were “unknowingly Muslim” their whole lives until they found their way. The Gates consider themselves to be reverts to Islam. In September 2016, the Gates went to Mecca for Hajj (an annual Islamic pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia). Kevin’s debut album was even named Islah, the Arabic word meaning “to make better.” I will not lie; I do not listen to Kevin Gates regularly, and that might be my bad, so I will be doing my due diligence by listening to him tonight. I will not lie though, when I’m holding my work cell and my personal cell, I will 95% of the time start singing 2 phones.
*Also funny story I was telling my mom about writing this piece and she asked “is Kevin going to be in it?” I was shocked when she described Kevin Gates to me, apparently he was mentioned in her WhatsApp group once.
Favourite Kevin Gates song: 2 Phones
So I’m not sure if Dua Lipa is a practicing Muslim but her parents identify and is dating Anwar Hadid (who has identified that he is a practicing Muslim), so she’s on the list. Dua Lipa originates from Kosovo with ancestral roots that have previously practiced Islam. Still, modern-day Kosovo is a more cultural country than they are religious, and Dua promotes her nationality with her whole chest. Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” album is quite remarkable. On an episode of the Netflix series Song Exploder, she takes us behind the scenes of the making of her hit song Love Again. Even if you are not a fan of Dua’s combination of house and pop music, you will be incredibly appreciative of how talented she and her team are. I also suggest watching her Tiny Desk performance. She is quite the talent.
Favourite Dua Lipa Song: Pretty Please