Before I begin, I want to post a link to a motivational hiphop track in light of the fact that I have just not been feeling motivated as of late:
I want to sit down and type out what I believe brought me into this little subculture. A subculture that is not very well known to my family, and one that, five years ago, I would never believe to be a part of at any point of my life.
I remember at one time being very (Islamically) religious. My brother was almost like a religious teacher; he taught me how to pray, gave me advice and I took his interpretations as my own. One of these interpretations of everyday living was that music is sinful without question. Whether this still runs true with him I do not know, but I followed it with all my heart. Hearing music back then, especially commercial music, with no knowledge of underground hip-hop or anything meaningful only added to my convictions that music was “useless”. Islam is mostly a non-materialist religion, it frowns upon everything that supposes the utmost importance of material gains, and unfortunately the only impressions of music I got back then were materialistic.
My mind was closed up a little. I believed in one true way that was so specific that I was afraid of change in any way of thinking, yet something about Philosophy attracted me, so I took it up in my A-levels and it loosened my mind up a bit. But what opened my mind to hip-hop was an even prior to that. My other brother pointed me to Immortal Technique’s Dance with the Devil saying that it was “interesting” but he waved it off later. But when I listened I got hooked with the whole story. I was struck with the meaningfulness, the insight and the poetic language…and I entered hip-hop. The track gave me hope that there is Music out there that was meaningful after all, this happened when I was around sixteen years old.
I listened and explored the genre a while. One day, a friend of mine who also got into the hip-hop scene just said a general comment to me, “hey Ziyad, you used to write poems, why not try writing some lyrics?”. I was plunged back into memory when I would wrote rhyming couplets for fun and enter some small competitions; that ranged from around the age of twelve to fifteen. And I realised and also punched myself in the head for it: of course! These tracks I listen to are poetry! So I got back into writing, I pulled out my pen and pad…and I hope that I won’t put them down for a while.
My Islamic Arab heritage gave me a huge respect for poetry, and blessed with that notion I surged forward into lyricism.
I want to thank my brother for being there, my other one for pointing out the direction to hip-hop (he probably did it unintentionally and he still doesn’t know!) and my friend for pushing me there. :)