The Hoopoe’s Words – A Rap Song

Words of the Hoopoe

This rap song is a fusion of a modern hip-hop/R&B beat and a passage from the ‘Conference of the birds’ by Farid Ud-Din Attar. It represents the timelessness of the poetic tradition of Islam, as well as the unity of two seemingly distinct traditions. The particular excerpt is from the Hoopoe bird’s description of the Simorgh, as well as of the Hoopoe’s experience serving King Solomon. This verse captures part of the essence of the piece which is to describe the nature of God and the nature of the journey to really get to know God. On the flip side, I set this passage to a hip-hop beat which also represent another Islamic influenced art form. Hip-Hop, which originated out of New York City in the late 60’s, is infused with slang drawn from Islamic influenced doctrines such as from the Nation of Islam, if not from other more populous Islamic groups such as Sunni muslims. Indeed Hip-Hop was a channel through which black Muslim youth would find a way to deal with and express their experiences with racial oppression. In this particular track, I created the beats and the instrumentals in a Hip-Hop style more influenced by jazz and R&B rather than the traditional breaks. It is a more mellow, lyrical and melodic form popular with a lot of ‘conscious’ rappers in the early 90’s (rappers who spoke directly on issues affecting the society seeking to make an impact). This style is appropriate for this passage because it is deep and soothing, putting the listener in a pensive state allowing them to focus on and really digest the lyrics.

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