It’s been no secret that rappers Freeway [click to read] and Beanie Sigel [click to read] practice the religion of Islam. As Muslims, the two have been part of a growing community in Hip Hop, which includes the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Brother Ali, and Q-Tip. However, despite their ties to Islamic faith, it is rare to hear Freeway or Sigel talk about it, albeit a reference or two in verses.
With that said, a transcript of a 2008 interview from a few years back written by Adisa Banjoko, a noted scholar and co-founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation, has surfaced in Illume magazine. In it, both Freeway and Sigel speak adamantly about their faith.
Freeway, who converted when he was 14-years old, stated the growth of Islam has not been confined to the subculture of Hip Hop. “It’s not just confined to Hip Hop. Islam is one of the fastest growing religions right now.” Continuing, he explained the appeal that led him to becoming a Muslim. “If you read The Qur’an and the authentic hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) you can get the answers to any question. It’s beautiful. If you ask a Christian about their religion -The Father, Son, Holy Ghost thing- they can’t really give you no answers. In Islam the answers are right there. They come to you with proof. They are not just telling you something. They are backing it up with proof.”
Beanie Sigel recalled a moment in his practice when he knew choosing to become a Muslim was the right decision. “I dunno if Freeway remembers, but we had a conversation a while back. I was telling him something that was messed up for me. Free was like, ‘You can’t think like that. Sincere prayer is the only thing that can change your fate in whatever you do.’ It stuck with me, until the day that I read it for myself. It made me feel better. It was taubah (seeking repentance). I came into Islam through the Nation of Islam. I did not follow [Five Percent Nation Of Gods and Earths], but I read everything. I could not wait to read and talk to anybody who knew. It made me feel so good.”
However, because the practice of Islam prohibits the lifestyle of a rapper, Sigel explained the complex situation he and Freeway both are in when it comes to their career choice. “A lot of people may not fully understand. When you die, you’re just in another state. You don’t get judged by Allah until the Day of Judgment. Imagine when you die, you are in your grave. You are in the place between this world and the next. Imagine the Day of Judgment 10,000 years from now. I’ll still be collecting sins, because that music is still gonna be around when we’re gone. If any bad comes outta that, I’m going to get the punishment. I’m gonna have to answer for that even when I’m not here.”
The full Illume magazine interview can be read [click here].