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Hip-Hop · Mickey Boston

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Born in little Burgendy, Montreal, Michael Boston--Hasan al-Qalam--was once a former b-boy and graff artist. By the age of six, Mickey Boston moved to Jackson Heights, Queens NYC with his family to start a new life. Completing his first Hajj, Pilgrimage to Mecca, by the age of seven, his spiritual journey played as a Freudian primal scene to which defined his entire identity as a Muslim: as a seven-year-old child, my trip to Mecca and Medina during Hajj with my parents was what defined me, I knew that day, that Islam was completely the Truth. The spiritually consuming and enlightening effects of Hajj led young Mickey Boston into Quran memorization at the same age. His memorization brought him to scholars of both Medina University and Azhar University within the disciplines of fiqh, Islamic jurisprudence. As he is no Islamic scholar following his greatly admired, Imam Abu Hanifa from Iraq, to this very day, now twenty-three entering his Ph. D. phase at university, Michael Boston, or Mickey Boston as he alludes, expresses his passion for Islam via the beautiful poetics of his nuanced raps and witty lyrics. Mickey Boston captures his younger days as an inner city youth, his earlier days in Jackson Heights, Queens and his life in his birth city, Montreal.

What I attempt to capture is what may be known as Virginia Woolfs stream-of-consciousness, let alone the collective unconsciousthe conceit of my lyrical phantasmagoria is clearly a journey in the shoes of one fully practicing Muslim man. I attempt to let the world listen to the expression of a Muslim mans lens--see what he sees and feel what he feels in an entirely spiritual context. Growing up in the poorest neighborhoods of his city, Mickey Boston had traveled to Egypt, Pakistan, and Jordan by the age of thirteen to broaden his knowledge of Islam. His return to America later that year spawned an artistic catharsis stemming from the inspiration of graff art and hip-hop--I was invited at thirteen after completing Umrah to host a radio show, it was then and there that I started rapping. Hasan al-Qalams raps undeniably capture a stream-of-consciousness allowing audiences to understand Islam through one mans view: I only rep myself as a Muslim, no one else, I couldnt rep the Ummah even if the fans wanted it, some peeps may not appreciate that even if all of my content is lyrically one-hundred percent clean, positive, and halal. His witty remarks on social incongruities within America and the widening gap between rich and poor is one of his numerous explored motifs. The ideals of injustice, spirituality, corruption, social ills and squalors, as well as corruption and nepotism are just few more issues the young MC covers. His observations as an inner city youth, now turned intellectual and academic, are what inspire individuals young and old alike.

As he draws inspiration from the greats of Islamic history, al-Qalam critiques Western academia and its use of the Western cannon: I gather great inspiration from some of my favorites, Ernest Hemingway, Michel Foucault, Samuel Beckett, Luigi Pirandello, Ezra Pound, Franz Fanon, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Miller, Adrian Rich, Marcel Proust, Amiri Baraka, and of course, the mastermind himself, Vladimir Nabokov. By 2004 al-Qalam was struck with a Joycean epiphany; the aspect of creating his group, The Pelican Brief. Led by al-Qalams closest allies, Najib Nabokov, Lorenzo Luther, Abdul Luige, Cesar Zappata, Akram Rash the Human Torch, and Saleem Francois, the Pelican Brief was now a hip-hop conglomeration of seventy practicing Muslim brothers who set out for the message of peace: we are Muslims, the people of Salama, peacewe want to spread this message and convey Islam to the world via this medium, thats it, thats all, aight. Within his high school years Michael Boston had displayed an array of unnoticed talent over radio waves, paying his dues in street ciphers and performances on Ellis Island for spare change: those were the good old days, I was awful, but I learned a great deal and became a Muslim Gatsby in the making. Later on learning that his spiritual path was again to manifest a new route within his young career, Mickey Boston completed high school and entered college as a defiant, competitive, all-American jock, where his passion for Islam grew manifold. Memorizing Quran continuously, Hasan al-Qalam was born, a new star in a dark constellation.



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