Minister Sharrieff Muhammad: On Rappers, Responsibility and Religion

The religion of Islam has had a huge impact on Hip-Hop, lyrics and the music in general. The Nation of Islam has remained on the forefront of the religious movement in Hip-Hop, almost since the genre’s inception. Over the past ten years alone, Minister Farrakhan has mediated violent Hip-Hop beefs between a variety of artists. Minister Farrakhan was also present at the first Hip-Hop Summit held by Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons, in 2001. Minister Farrakhan has long believed that rappers are the new leaders, who have a responsibility to guide the next generation in a positive direction. Minister Farrakhan will re-enforce this message at the Atlanta Civic Center on Saturday (June 26th) at 5:00 PM, while the program starts at 7:00PM. For more information visit the NOI.org. Also check out AllHipHop.com’s editorial on the impact Islam has had on rap music over the years. Minister Sharrieff Muhammad has been active throughout the south over the past twenty years, helping to build a bridge between young men and women, the Nation of Islam and their interaction with Hip-Hop. Minister Sharieff believes that Hip-Hop music and rappers will continue to infect and impact the minds of youth all around the world and he wants rappers to realize the power of their words and the impact they have on society and the world. Minister Sharieff Muhammad’s title is Southern Regional Student Minister.Minister Sharrieff’s territories include Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, where he presides over Mosque #15. AllHipHop.com:  Just to get started, what is your involvement been with Mosque #15 in Atlanta?Minister Sharrieff Muhammad: My responsibility is to teach the believers and new converts, and to spread the word of Islam and the word of the honorable Minister Farrakhan across the city and all throughout the southern region.  AllHipHop.com:  How did you become first attracted to the nation? When did you become a member?Minister Sharrieff Muhammad: I have been a member since 1980.  I heard the voice of the honorable Minister Farrakhan in 1980 and that was it for me and I have been a member ever since.AllHipHop.com:  I was amazed when I went to Saviors Day in Chicago, IL to see the discipline that was instilled in the young children, especially at a very young age.  Some of the kids couldn’t have been more than 9 years old.  How has the rise of Hip-Hop music impacted the community from your standpoint? How has it impacted how you have spread the message of Islam in the community?Minister Sharrieff Muhammad: Through Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane, all those artists back in that day were very influenced by the Minister Farrakhan.  It had an impact on the community, overseas and abroad and they are still attracting attention with their positive messages.  There are a lot of rappers that are have a positive message that don’t get the recognition that they should and Minister Farrakhan had an impact on them.AllHipHop.com: Yea Public Enemy called him a Prophet in “Bring the Noise” and in 1989 had the lyrics, “The follower of Farrakhan, don’t tell me that you understand until you hear the man/” in “Don’t Believe the Hype.”  That was my first real experience with the Minister.  The Nation of Islam have been very progressive in terms of their involvement with Hip-Hop music.  The general community at large went through a time period, especially in the mid 1980s, spending a lot of time criticizing Hip-Hop music. What was it that let you know that this what people would be doing in 20 years?Minister Sharrieff Muhammad: Minister Farrakhan said that Hip-Hop and rappers are our new leadership.  All of our youth follow them.  Minister Farrakhan has told just about all the rappers to clean up their lyrics gradually because you have the youth’s mind.  Minister Farrakhan knew that they were the new leaders and they have the greatest power and they [rappers] love it.AllHipHop.com:  Often in the rap community, it seems as if there isn’t anyone leading the young men who are coming in from broken homes, but then they are looked at to be leaders.  How do you go about developing the relationship with rappers to the point where the Nation is the go to organization if there is problems or beef in our community.Minister Sharrieff Muhammad:  We have a lot of young people in the mosques that are in the rap game, that have relationships with a lot of the rappers.  Doug E. Fresh is one of the Minister’s close friends and he is one of the godfathers out there that all of the rappers respect.  When there is something going on, you would be surprised at how Minister Farrakhan heals the beefs that are out there and that has been out there.  He has quietly healed a lot of beef out there behind the scenes and you don’t hear it anymore.  That’s one of the reasons there is so much respect for Minister Louis Farrakhan.AllHipHop.com:  Yeah he helped me with a few beefs. For someone who is not a member, what are the benefits that come with joining or subscribing to the Nation of Islam?Minister Sharrieff Muhammad: I’m glad to answer that. I was out there hustling, and when Minister Farrakhan came out to the mosque and I saw what was going on, I cleaned my life up. For those whose life is headed to a dead end and those that aren’t young, when you clean your life up, it makes you change to do good.  Islam give you hope again.  We have a saying that goes, “when all else fails, then comes Islam.”  It makes you a man again.  It makes you responsible and all these things take place on your way to being a Muslim.  That’s why you see that all that adds up to discipline. We don’t use your past against you.   AllHipHop.com:  For a young person coming in, how difficult is the path? How hard is it to change yourself, especially when so many of the younger brothers and sisters come from such broken communities they may not know they are broken? How do you get people to wake up?Minister Sharrieff Muhammad:  It’s because of the message.  The inspiration of telling you that we are all children of God.  And God don’t drink, God don’t sell dope, God don’t disrespect women. Now you get their attention and now you can teach them.  But most don’t go to church, they are all in a negative environment. And we appreciate them and there are positive things that you can do in the community. AllHipHop.com:  If more people saw the level of organization that exists, it really is a nation within a nation.  It is an amazing display of power. How has the nation evolved itself with the times. The BP crisis, weather is fluctuating,  ocean levels are rising.  How does the nation manage to stay relevant outside of the religious message in terms of the organization with the Internet? How do you fit it to the young youth today.Minister Sharrieff Muhammad: We do it by the Honorable Minister Farrakhan speaking the language of the people. If you listen to Minister Farrakhan he can reach you.  We do use the Internet and anyway we can to reach the people.  We are relevant because Minister Louis Farrakhan’s message is relevant. Everything that you see out there happening is written in the Bible and Koran. That Bible or the Koran isn’t a book that should be collecting dust or that should be sitting on the shelf not being read.  Everything that you see in the world today is written in the scriptures. AllHipHop.com:  I also was going to ask about your role as a Supreme Captain in the structure of the organization.Minister Sharrieff Muhammad:  We command and direct the military in the nation.  We have a sister who directs all the sisters.  We have a director for the men and he directs all of the men.AllHipHop.com: So what is Minister Farrakhan’s goal with Sunday’s speech at the Atlanta Civic Center this weekend?Minister Sharrieff Muhammad:  Minister Farrakhan is going to be speaking at the Atlanta Civic Center on June 26th and the contact number is 404-963-6659.AllHipHop.com: Minister Farrakhan has been accused by the media of being in some ways anti-Semitic. But when I was at Saviors Day, I was surprised at how many older white men were on the stage, supporting Minister Farrakhan and even agreeing with his message. How is someone who has this perception supposed to listen?Minister Sharrieff Muhammad:  All they have to do is listen.  You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.  But all they have to do is come out and listen for themselves and hear the whole context. We hope everyone will come out.  All they have to do is come out and hear it for themselves.I was with the Honorable Louis Farrakhan when Russell Simmons brought all the rappers together like he does every year when he brings them in to New York.  I was with him when he spoke with all the rappers and man they love Minister Louis Farrakhan.  Ice Cube was there, saying change your lyrics, bring it on up.  It was great.

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