Samir has one of the tightest flows of any Muslim MC. Coming from Zaire to Belgium to the U.S., Samir has a unique perspective as shaped by his life on three continents. We caught up with Samir in the midst of his plans for his new husband and wife group "The Reminders":
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Why do you go by "Samir"?
SAMIR: Shortly after coming to the deen i was reading a book on Muslim names and it said Samir- a Companion(in nightly conversation) Entertainer(with stories, music) Fruit-Bearing, thats me right there...
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Where exactly are you from? Where did you grow up?
SAMIR: Well i was Born in Brussels, Belgium right on top of France, Grew up with my father's side of the family in Zaire, Central Africa then back to Belgium. Im in the U.S. now though.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What are your main musical influences?
SAMIR: Oh man that list can go on, Gil-scott, Marvin Gaye, Isleys, Mayfield, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, N.T.M., M.C. Solaar, Iam, The Roots, Goodie Mob, Outkast, Fugees, Poor Righteous Teachers, K.R.S., Rakim. Just to give a few and the variety of music that is actually still in my rotation.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What inspired you to do Muslim/Islamic music?
SAMIR: Originally i didnt, i was in a group and we were just positive underground emcees, then i became Muslim so naturally my content will be Islamic for that is my lifestyle. I mean the music reflect the person that i am so its basically a representation of what i do and know.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What are some of the key issues you are tackling in your songs?
SAMIR: Love for your family and we are all family so i want people to really understand that, we need to unite. Awareness is another one, i try to open the listener's mind to more than just what they are used to in their everyday ritual, its a bigger world out there.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Do you feel that you are making a difference with your music?
SAMIR: Oh yes, definitly. Some people do not have access to certain literature, movies or even other people to talk to so that's where the music comes in and may change their life or they may just find some comfort in it, you know?
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What can we expect from you in the future?
SAMIR: Well Insha'allah this "Reminders" project i'm working on with my wife, a solo album, most likely some collaborations with some artists i'm cool with(One.Be.Lo./580) just to name a few and who ever is striving to work in anyway, i'm open let's do this. Also i'm currently establishing a label, website and all of that fun stuff so we can be official and take it to the next level insha'allah.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Without giving away any secrets, how do you produce your songs? What software do you use?
SAMIR: I dont mind giving away, well usually i get beats from different sources, write to them and record at an official 24 track studio... however im looking into pre-recording in my home from now on, so i'll install cube or protools on the computer and get busy home before the final recording.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: How would you say you are different from the other 100 or so Muslim hip hop artists?
SAMIR: I'm Bilangle, so i can reach English & French speaking listeners and also i'm not afraid to reach out to non Muslim with the same message.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: The Muslim community has been ailing for quite some time now (external oppression, internal division) what do you think can combat this?
SAMIR: Man we all need to purify ourselves, ask Allah for Guidance and Unite. Stop this back biting, Arrogance, we are all human, no one is perfect so lets just be at peace with each other and work to promot what the Prophet(saws) brought to us.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: How has Islam influenced your life?
SAMIR: It made me the man i refused to be in my late teenage years, I'm grateful Allah guided me to this beautiful way of life. It gave me everything i was missing.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What would you like to say to your fans?
SAMIR: Thank you for your patience, there are great things to come, keep supporting all great artists and see you soon. Thanks to Muslimhiphop.com for doing this, i appreciate you and may Allah be pleased with you