Rebel Music Author Hisham Aidi on the Relationship Between Hip-Hop and Islam

By BETH WINEGARNER

A decade or so ago, when Columbia University lecturer Hisham Aidi worked as a journalist covering youth culture in New York's Harlem and the Bronx, he discovered that Muslim kids from around the world were making pilgrimages to what Aidi calls “the Mecca of hip-hop”: the Bronx, where the genre was arguably born. They would come in order to meet some of the genre's founders, including Afrika Bambaataa and DJ Kool Herc; to trace the pathways of the place where hip-hop and Islam first mingled; and to visit the grave of Malcolm X, whose Islam-inspired messages of black empowerment had found a new voice in the music.

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