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Week 13: Islamic version of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”

As we discussed the role of hip-hop in current Islamic culture , I wanted to respond to the screening of “new muslim cool” as well as the article by Swedenburg on “Islamic hip hop versus Islamaphobia.” As Swedenburg points, many Islamic hip hop artists are identified as radical extremist due to the themes of conspiracy, corruption, and Jihad (the inner struggle of a muslim) within their lyrics. Swedenburg chooses to explore the identities and musical elements of 4 famous Islamic “hip-hop” artists in foreign regions and compare this to Islamaphobia and the fight for equality by muslims. I wanted to do a similar exploration, except this time within the United States, so I did in depth research on 3 prominent muslim rappers within the US hip hop culture: Lupe Fiasco, Brother Ali, and Mos Def. These artists have sold millions of records on a global scale, and are heralded as some of  the greatest lyricists of their generation. Except we see a certain pattern in their artistic development, similar to the brothers in “the new muslim cool” where they begin to strengthen their religious beliefs and thus transform the material, meaning, and themes incorporated in their music. These artists started their careers off, rapping about violence, sex, and drug use, all forbidden elements of the Islamic faith, then transitioned in spirituality leading to new music that incorporates Islamic beliefs, Quranic scripture, and muslim morals. I find this shift in paradigm extremely interesting, especially in the very mainstream culture of american hip-hop, where record sales are usually correlated with highly sexual and money oriented music. These artists chose their faith over success and fame reflecting that struggle and spiritual jihad within their music as well as encouraging the muslims around the world to serve their lord and fight against the “haram” temptations of this world. After heavy research, I wanted to take a famous hip hop artists work and transform the song into an Islamic-ally themed rap song. I chose to avoid the radical views which attack Islamaphobia and created a rap song that could educate muslims and non-muslims alike on one of the most important pillars in Islamic fast, Zakat. Zakat, which is the proscribed giving of charity, represents the importance of charitable giving in Islamic culture. I chose to take Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” and recreate it into an Islamic rap about the importance of giving Zakat for muslims. I believe that this adaptation proves that Islamic hip hop can be very peaceful, educational material, and can be used to combat Islamaphobia by educating non-muslims on Islamic beliefs through entertaining music.

Here are the lyrics to my recreated rap song!! (Give Zakat)

Hey, Muslims! Did you pay your zakat yet?

What, what, what, what… [x7]

Bada, badada, badada, bada… [x9]



I’m gonna pay Zakat

Only got 20 dollars in my pocket

I – I – I’m grunting, looking for a masjid

How come Im not married?


[Verse 1:]

Nah, Walk up to the mosque like, “What up, I got a Big Beard!”

Bout to pray Jummah, I really hope Aisha’s here

Turban on my head, You’d think I were Iraqi

The hijabis like, “Subhanallah! That’s a super fly Ahkhi.”

Rollin’ in, pockets deep, more paper than a magazine,

Everything white, ‘cept my tabliqh socks, those are green

Draped in a white cloak, Hijabi standin’ next to me

Probably shoulda washed this, smells like Harvard’s Library


Yo bro, that’s only ninety-nine cents! (cheapskate)

Takbirat, takbirat, writing checks for some compliments

Passin’ up on those fundraisers someone else’s been talkin in

Slaughtering some baqara for sadaqa

Only eat pizza if its Zabiha and

Savin’ my money because I’m hella cheap, Livin desi rich

I’ma take my uncles wallet, I’ma take your uncles wallet,

No for real – ask your uncle–can I borrow a few dollas

(Thank you)

Spent all my money on beard clippers

Masbaha and miswaks that I found diggin’

 Muslimsinglesmeet.com, I made a new profile

Found a nice hijabi, then hit up the mobile

Salam, Salam, my Imam, my main man

Yusif Islam ain’t got nothing on my beard game, Man

Rocking leather sandals while cooking kiba on the stove

The Muslimaats be like, “Aw he got the bridge nose”


[Hook x2]

I’m gonna pay Zakat

Only got 20 dollars in my pocket

I – I – I’m grunting, looking for a masjid

How come Im not married?


[Verse 2:]

What you know about having Islam as a password login?

What you knowin’ about putting money in a cardboard bin?

I’m digging, I’m digging, I’m searching right through them pockets

One man’s trash, that’s another man’s Zakat

Thank your sitti for donating that box of hijabs

They be like, “Yo your Zakat – that’s hella wack.”

I’m like, “Yo – that’s 2.5 percent of a paycheck”

Flunked out of division, let’s do some simple addition

I’m no mathematician – but skipping Zakat is straight sinning

That donations hella low

And writing the same check as 100 other people in this mosque is a hella don’t

Feed the needy, or just go slaughter a goat

Trying to pay Zakat late? Man you hella broke

Man you hella broke

(Masjid… raising hands… yeah!)


I’m gonna pay Zakat

Only got 20 dollars in my pocket

I – I – I’m grunting, looking for a masjid

How come I’m not married?

[Bridge: x2]

I wear your Grandads thawb

I look incredible

I’m in donation mode

At that masjid down the road

~ by zaossey on .

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