/> “BLOWIN’ UP LIKE YOU THOUGHT I WOULD”: Hip-Hop and Jihad | Ear To The Track



My attempt at political cartooning after the Charlie Hebdo massacre

Since the stunning events of September 11, 2001, there has been a passionate and ongoing, political debate with regard to radical Islam and terrorism.  Despite Western attempts to combat and subdue the efforts of Islamic terror factions, these groups appear to be growing stronger and more resolute in their ambitions.  As the battle lines in this war are being drawn and redrawn, observers in Europe and America have been surprised by the large number of Western youths who’ve decided to abandon their home countries to fight on the side of groups like ‘The Taliban’, ‘Hamas’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘Hezbollah’ and, moving up the charts on their way to number one, ‘ISIS’.  Interestingly, many of these highly motivated mujahedeen have emerged from Hip-Hop-influenced backgrounds and some were actually pursuing careers in Rap Music.  After the attacks on the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ offices in Paris, I learned that one of the suspected gunmen (Cherif Kouachi) was once an aspiring Hip-Hop vocalist until he, at some point, quit rapping to begin his war on cartoons.  With this in mind, I’d like to shine the spotlight on a handful of young men who have put down their microphones and picked up balaclavas; I’m calling them ‘THE FURIOUS FIVE’…

terry wrist

“You call that a knife?”


Matthew Smith was a middle-class, White kid from Perth, Australia who started rapping in his youth and converted to Islam after he became mired in drug addiction and depression. As a student at Curtin university, Smith was inspired by teachings from the late, radical cleric Anwar Al-Awaki who, before being killed in a drone attack, mentored terrorist all-stars like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (better known as the ‘Underwear Bomber’), Nidal Malik Hasan (the US Army psychologist who murdered 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas), and three of the 9/11 hijackers. Smith, who’s now sober, goes by the Rap name ‘Terry Wrist’ (get it?) and is hoping to soon meet his martyred heroes in the Jihadi hall of fame where, according to him, “There will be plenty of cold ones. The sealed nectar. I can’t wait.”   As-alamu alaykum, mate!

Deso Dogg by foto di matti

Still clownin’ with the underground

2. “HIT ‘EM UP!”

Dennis Cupert was/is a former Berlin rapper of Ghanaian ancestry who went/goes by the name ‘Deso Dogg’. Some consider ‘Deso’ the German 2pac (Zweipac?) on account of his popular gangsta rhyming and a long history of trouble with the law. Despite experiencing success on the Deutsch Hip-Hop scene with songs like ‘Ich Bin A Dog For Life’ (‘I’ll Be A Dog For Life’), Deso quit the Rap game in 2008 during the recording his third album ‘Alle Augen Auf Mich’ (‘All Eyes On Me’, sound familiar?) and converted to Islam.  Soon after, Deso was prosecuted by Berlin authorities for possessing illegal weapons and, in 2013, he fled Germany to join Syrian guerrilla fighters warring against the Bashar Assad regime.  Later that year, Deso Dogg was injured by Assad’s forces during an air strike and six months after that, he was reportedly killed in a suicide attack by ‘Al-Nusra Front’, a rival terrorist organization (is that considered friendly fire?).  Despite the evidence of his demise, many people believe he is still alive; just like 2pac.

douglas macarthur

“Good morgon, Copenhagen!”


Douglas Macauthur McCain was, at one time, a happy-go-lucky Minnesota kid who, ironically, shared names (phonetics-wise) with, arguably, America’s most revered Army general. Growing up, McCain enjoyed basketball and Hip-Hop and, as a teenager, he joined the Minneapolis rap crew ‘G-Mob’ who’s logo he tattooed on his neck. Oddly, McCain (known sometimes as ‘Duale, the Slave of Allah’) managed to score a few Rap gigs in Sweden where, I would guess, he hoped to take advantage of the relative lack of Black stage competition but when his Scandinavian Hip-Hop career didn’t pan out, McCain returned to the states and took up Islamic extremism.  In 2014, while living in San Diego, California, he tweeted, “It’s funny to me how all these so call Muslim (sic) claim that they love Allah but always curse the one who try to implement his laws”.  Eventually, ‘Duale’ decided to get into implementation himself and, like Deso, headed to Syria to enlist with the ‘Islamic State’. In 2014, McCain became the first American to die fighting for ‘ISIS’, the nature of his death is still unknown.

l jinny

“Let’s go Braves!”


Englishman Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary made international news when he was accused of beheading an American journalist named James Foley. But long before Abdel Bary was allegedly committing heinous acts in the middle of a desert, he rocked mics in West London under the rap name ‘L Jinny’ of the ‘Black Triangle Crew’. Brandishing a mighty pen, ‘L Jinny’ wrote rhymes that conveyed everything from semi-revolutionary idealism to typical teenage rebellion and as recently as 2013, a track called ‘My Words’, which features his vocals, actually received BBC-One radio airplay.  If anyone cares to watch him do his thing, you can view a performance on the UK music website ‘SBTV’, it’s far less gruesome than his other videos.  Son of Adel Abdel Bary, an extradited terrorism suspect awaiting trial for his role in attacks on the US embassy in Kenya and Tanzania, Abdel-Majed joined the family business last year, donning the black colors of the ‘ISIS’ organization.  Abdel Bary is currently one of the world’s most wanted criminals.

john walker lindh

“Too Black, too strong”


In 2001, the American public was shocked when a 20-year old US citizen named John Walker Lindh surrendered while fighting with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. As a teen growing up in affluent Marin County, California, Lindh became an obsessed devotee of Malcom X and early 90’s, Black-Islamic, Hip-Hop artists like ‘Brand Nubian’ and ‘Jeru the Damajas’*. So strong was his dedication to the ‘Afrocentric Movement’ that Lindh would often pretend to be Black when posting web opinions on an internet site called ‘Rec.Music.Hip-Hop.com’ (remember chat rooms?). Using the alias ‘Mustafa Naim Mujahid’, Lindh frequently unleashed online, lyrical tirades against Hip-Hop stars he felt were betraying their culture and placating the White establishment for the sake of financial gain, especially ‘Dr. Dre’ whom he sometimes referred to as “The house nigga”, a term popularized by Malcom X in reference to slaves who cow-towed to their masters while receiving privileged status and easy workloads. Here’s an example:

Dre, you’re a disgrace selling out to the talcum/
he’ll be left dead and naked in the outcome, word to Brother Malcolm

His association with the white-owned label called ‘Death Row’/
make a buck and making ten for Bubba Jimmy Jethro.

Exploitation that’s been spread from the plantation/
spreading stereotypes to give a chuckle to Caucasians

Eventually, discouraged by the lack of commitment from his fellow Black men, Lindh delved deeper into middle-eastern Islam and, in 1998, traveled to Yemen where he studied Arabic.  Two years later, after spending time in a Pakistani madrassa, Lindh arrived in Afghanistan to aid Taliban fighters in their war against the NATO-backed ‘Northern Alliance’.  After Al Qaeda’s attack on America in 2001, US forces invaded Afghanistan and apprehended Lindh during the ‘Battle of Qala-I-Jangi’, a Taliban prison uprising in which a CIA agent was killed.  Once the Army had Lindh in custody, interrogators were shocked at how little he knew about the Koran or the Sharia-happy Taliban and their cruel treatment of women and minorities.  When Lindh was informed about the realities of his foreign allies, he reportedly replied, “I’ll have to study that”.  Personally, I think this whole disaster may have been avoided if Lindh had just listened to ‘Nirvana’ like all the other angst-filled, White teenagers in Marin County during the 90’s.


Ahh, the good old days

In summation, I’m certainly not trying to argue that Hip-Hop leads to terrorism, ‘Biz Markie’ and ‘The Fat Boys’ never hurt anyone.  But is it possible that modern, Hip-Hop culture’s propensity toward violence and anti-social behavior is a kind of musical ‘gateway drug’ for some would-be Jihadists?  While most of us see ‘Gangsta’ rappers as the tongue-wagging, bravado-drunk, fame-seekers they are, is it not conceivable that certain disenfranchised and impressionable young people may take Rap music’s darker themes a little more seriously, creating a potential for disaster?  I don’t know but, in the meantime, I’m going to put on some ‘Kid’N’Play’.

 *For more on this subject, read my facebook post ‘MECCA AND THE SOULBROTHER: Hip-Hop’s strange connection with Islam’ (https://www.facebook.com/acooper75/posts/878747435476715)

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, RAP RELATED

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