Get to know Hasan Salaam (@HasanSalaam)

Q. 1. First off thank you for this inter­view. If pos­sible could you give us your thoughts on our magazine “I Am Hip-Hop”?

I dig the site. It speaks to the Hip-Hop heads that aren’t selling out or buy­ing in to the cor­por­ate mags and sites. It’s import­ant to have unique voices across the cul­ture and a place where revolu­tion­ary minds can build, get the word out and share dope music. I fucks with it!

Q. 2. As a rap­per you seemed to have made a con­scious choice to rap about issues that affect people on a daily basis, such as polit­ic­al, per­son­al and his­tor­ic­al, when so many “main­stream” rap­pers seem to rap about money, cars, clothes etc. Why and how did you get to this choice?

I’m just being me. I was raised that no mat­ter what you do you have to give back to your com­munity. The music I was raised on spoke to the people, Mar­vin Gaye, Curtis May­field, and Stevie Won­der. I have noth­ing against oth­er rap­pers, they rap about what’s import­ant to them or their lives, all i can do is be the best me yah dig. I don’t think all musi­cians should do the same shit or rap about the same things, I like vari­ety. People have a revi­sion­ist ver­sion of Hip-Hop his­tory most of the time, there has always been mater­i­al­ism, it’s just hip-hop is pop music now so it’s more aligned with cor­por­a­tions and its force fed 247, but its always been that way cause people wanna be fly and look good. I write about what I know, what I do and what I’m into, I wanna talk to peoples souls and move them. I make Hip-Hop Soul music.

Q. 3. Who have been your main influ­ences thought out your music career?

My music is a gumbo, I love all types of music so there are all types of influ­ences in there. John Col­trane, Red­man, Bil­lie Hol­i­day, Duke Elling­ton, Rakim, Jimi Hendrix, Wu-Tang, Jay‑Z, Sam Cooke, Stax Records, Al Green, Chuck Berry, Guns N Roses, Snoop, The Rolling Stones, Miles Dav­is, Gil Scott Her­on, Sade, I could go on. My iPod is heavy!

Q. 4. How much influ­ence over you music does being Muslim have?

Islam has had an influ­ence on my life and my music is a reflec­tion of my exist­ence. My Moth­er and Grand­moth­er are Chris­ti­an, I have Jew­ish, Buddhist and Hindu friends and fam­ily mem­bers. I stud­ied philo­sophy in school and on my own. Learn­ing about all faiths and philo­sophies, build­ing with oth­ers, find­ing what i agree and dis­agree with, sim­il­ar­it­ies and dif­fer­ences influ­ence my out­look on the world, if that wasn’t all added into my lyr­ics I wouldn’t be me.

Q. 5. You work with troubled youth, and run a monthly food and cloth­ing drive in Jer­sey City, New Jer­sey. Can you talk a little about this pro­ject?

It’s not just me, there is a group of ded­ic­ated broth­ers and sis­ters who have con­trib­uted for the past 7 years to keep this hap­pen­ing. Every 3rd Sunday of the month we do a food & cloth­ing drive on MLK Drive & Grant Ave. in Jer­sey City NJ. No organ­iz­a­tion or agen­das, just people who care about people and want to make the situ­ation bet­ter. We set up a table or have even laid out blankets on the corner and giv­en away clothes, toys, books, house­hold appli­ances, pampers, non per­ish­able food items and any­thing else people needed. We have been get­ting dona­tions from people all over and thats what keeps it going.

Q. 6. You have also set up a pro­ject called “It Takes A Vil­lage” for the vil­lage in Djati, Guinea-Bis­sau, West Africa. To people that may not have heard of it yet, could you explain the link between this pro­ject and your latest album “Music Is My Weapon” and the aims of the pro­ject”

All of the profits from Music Is My Weapon have gone to build a school & fresh water well in Djati a small vil­lage 3 hrs out­side of the Cap­it­al of Bis­sau in Guinea Bis­sau, West Africa. We have just reached the next phase in our fund rais­ing to build a med­ic­al facil­ity there as well. Hon­estly it is the best thing I have been a part of music­ally. Not just the sound but the pur­pose. The album is amaz­ing music with great fea­tures, Reef The Lost Cause, Eter­n­ia, Bar­on of Red Clay, Range, CF & Snow­goons. My broth­er Raj Flow did the videos, he also had traveled with me to Seneg­al & Guinea Bis­sau 2 years ago to con­duct youth writ­ing work­shops at a S.O.S. Vil­lage and rock. I was the 1st Amer­ic­an Hip-Hop artist to ever per­form out there, it was an hon­or & i loved the people and the land. It star­ted with Aus­tin Dacey ask­ing me to be a part of the Impossible Music Ses­sions where I inter­preted the music of The Balober­os Crew from GB who made a song titled “7 Minutes of Truth” attack­ing their cor­rupt gov­ern­ment and had got­ten snatched up by the mil­it­ary police out there. A few months later Shiv­ani & Hip-Hop Har­mony worked on get­ting up out to West Africa and we got to build with Cobi­ana Records & Balober­os. Ms. Devon Aus­tin reached out to us about being a part of the It Takes A Vil­lage ini­ti­at­ive and it truly has been a bless­ing every step of the way.

Q. 7. Lastly what can we expect from Has­an Salaam in the near future?

My next album ‘Life In Black & White’ will be good to go soon, its my most per­son­al work to date. Besides more shows I have also been trav­el­ing the coun­try going to Uni­ver­sit­ies & Col­leges giv­ing my lec­ture “From The Spir­ituals To Hip-Hop: Black Music’s Socio-Polit­ic­al Import­ance in Amer­ica, and get­ting involved in all types of rachet beha­vi­or & wild shit so you can expect the unex­pec­ted. My life is art and the world is my can­vas. I appre­ci­ate yall inter­view­ing me for the site, peace to all the true sup­port­ers read­ing this! Walk On Water
@HasanSalaam on twit­ter & ins­tagram

Arash Sharifi

Inter­view by Arash Shari­fi

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Arash Sharifi

Arash Sharifi

Arash has been pas­sion­ate about Hip hop for many years. He believes through hip hop you can teach, edu­cate and empower people to become bet­ter ver­sions of them­selves and help and sup­port their com­munity and oth­ers. Hip hop is more than just music, it can be a teach­er to us all.

About Arash Sharifi

Arash Sharifi
Arash has been passionate about Hip hop for many years. He believes through hip hop you can teach, educate and empower people to become better versions of themselves and help and support their community and others. Hip hop is more than just music, it can be a teacher to us all.

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