After hearing “Muslim Girl” by Reason Rule, which was posted in our forums, MHH had to do an interview. The husband-wife duo is making huge leaps; inspiring Muslims around the globe who hear their message. With a mix of sultry R&B melodies and seasoned rhymes, Reason Rule is standing out among the crowd. Shaadi and Seyfullah MC took some time out to answer some of our questions and provide insight on the group’s ambitions:
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Give us some background on yourself.
SEYFULLAH MC: As Salaamu Alaikum. Firstly I would like say Alhamdulillah that all praises are due to Allah. Allah has given us the ability to make music and has blessed us with our talents and voices. I sincerely feel that it is very important that every artist remember that because at any moment our talents or voices can be taken away. Anyone who knows who D.O.C. is knows that he was an amazing artist but lost is voice in a car accident, which pretty much ended his recording career. I pray that Allah swt is pleased with all of our efforts as Muslim artists.
I have been making music for the past 11 or so years as a solo artist. I was formerly known as Mad Graffiti, The Almighty MG, and Hiatusflowz. A couple years ago I recorded a CD through my stereo like a broke MC should (laughs). "Encouragement" and "Facts of the Matter" were online for awhile at Brother Tahir Rashid's site. Celt Islam also freaked an acapella of "Planes" last year, so my voice may sound familiar to some die-hard listeners. But as Reason Rule, we are brand new and have only started recording since December.
SHAadi is a poet and has used that as her creative outlet. The majority of all that she sings is her own words and thoughts. She is much more than just a beautiful voice to accent mine.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What is your range of musical influences?
SHAADI: For me, it would most definitely be Glashaus. I like a lot of other German artists as well, such as Moses Pelham, Cassandra Steen, Xavier Nai'doo, Udo Lindenburg & Yvonne Catterfeld. I really like Sade, Enya, and Linkin Park as well. These would have to be the main ones for me because they all talk about a story in their music and that is what I look for when I listen to anything.
SEYFULLAH MC : Aww man, many many influences…the moment I knew I wanted to be an MC was at the youth center in Germany, where my father was stationed. My friend Dave put Big Daddy Kane's “Long Live the Kane” tape in the stereo while we played pool. I was just awestruck. I knew I was gonna be an MC when I grew up. Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Quest, Poor Righteous Teachers, Brand Nubian, BDP, PE, De La, Black Sheep, Kool G Rap, Masta Ace, Roots, Common Sense, Black Star (Mos & Kweli), Organized Konfusion, it goes on and on. Goodie Mob, OutKast, Beatnuts, Sade, Linkin Park, Soldiers of Allah, Crimson Guard, and the Basement. Bomm Sheltah from FayetteNAM, North Carolina. TARHEELS!
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What inspired you to become a Muslim artist?
SHAADI: I guess I thought of it this way: I have a gift that Allah has given me, and that is to think, and also to sing. So I used them together to give something that is beneficial to the Ummah, because I felt that I could say a lot to the Muslims with everything that I feel and think.
SEYFULLAH MC: There was a time when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to rhyme publicly anymore. As a Muslim artist you have more people than ever telling you that what you're doing is haram. So essentially, you have your own brothers in Islam telling you that you have shamed yourself and then you have the mainstream audience telling you that if you weren’t so Islam, then you would be off the hinges…or whatever. But all it took was a few brothers and sisters to say that they feel you, they understand what it is that you are saying. Brother Muhummed in Canada told me that he played me in the morning on his way to work. That is a tremendous compliment and motivation, because I know what I used to play to wake me up and start my day off right. Simple (one of our producers other than me) has always been encouraging. There are people who really appreciate it and they have told me that my efforts inspire them. That’s beautiful man. That’s how we build.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What are some of the main issues you are taking on in your songs?
SEYFULLAH MC: Life issues, Muslim issues…everything that a human being might experience. We have addressed the Tsunami, prayer, deeds vs. money. If I feel it on my heart it'll show up in the lyrics.
SHAADI: In my own lyrics I write about things in which I feel or see. Like our first release “Reason Rule”; my lyrics spoke about our dilapidated deceitful nation that we sit under unfortunately. My goal is to continue to address these matters because they are a continuing thing. Before I started singing, I used to write Poetry and it was rather profound to me that most people thought I went to far with and the majority of these people were my own brothers and sisters. But if no one says anything about anything then what is going to initiate the thought process? In the future Insha'Allah, I will keep addressing vital issues such as “Muslim Girl”. This song was written for a sister whom was having difficulties in her life, with life itself. In ways this is a lot like the things I went through. Insha'Allah sisters can grab the words and never let go.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: This question is for Shaadi: What is it like being a female Muslim artist? Do you get a lot of friction from Muslims?
SHAADI: Well, it is an expected thing to get the responses I get from mainly the women. I really don't get hated on by men; maybe because their demeanor, let alone nature, is different than a woman’s. I mainly get sisters telling me that what I am doing is Haram (forbidden) or Makruh (disliked) or simply that I am showing my Awrah. But I have made this statement before that I am not doing what I do for the pleasure of men but rather for Allah and He sees this and knows my intention.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What are your long term goals with your music? Record deal? Stay Independent?
SHAADI: (laughs) Hmm good question…I myself can only focus on what is before me today and hope that Allah will give us greater success with our music. As far as a record deal goes, I would not just sign myself to any label unless I have 100% proof, read the FINE PRINT and contract standings. I really ain't trying to be a slave to anyone but Allah at that.
SEYFULLAH MC: Exactly, it would be nice to have a deal to make this whole experience easier, but at what cost? If the right situation arises, we'll definitely sign, but only under the right circumstances. Right now, we can tackle any issue without a label telling us something about making it more dance or radio friendly. I can say ALLAH ALLAH ALLAH ALLAH and no one can tell me “why don’t you just say God”. I can say FREE PALESTINE. Insha'allah we'll continue to record and face the financial obstacles. I have been doing this too long and I know better than to expect a record deal. It may never come. But we are going to be right here making the music and addressing the issues Insha'allah.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: Why is your group called Reason Rule?
SHAADI: (laughs) This is a crazy off-the-wall answer, but this is why: When I was in Nursing School, I learned a lot of the medical terminology that comes along with being in the medical field. I remember "reason rule" was one of them, which means “the reason that the patient is coming in to see the doctor in detail”. We choose this name because Allah gives us a reason behind His every rule and our personal reason for what we do is for dawah. Hope this makes sense to you all.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: How do you guys come up with your songs?
SHAADI: Basically, we think about the things that upset, enlighten or give us reason to speak on them and we go from there.
SEYFULLAH MC: Sometimes it starts with the beat and we brainstorm over the beat, and sometimes I write my lyrics and never record them until I either make a beat for it or brother Simple sends us something that fits. In the case of "Hold On", we wrote it after hearing the HOT 97 song about the tsunami. Seeing the footage on the news was heartbreaking. How can someone, especially someone in NY, who has seen tragedy first hand (9/11) be so cold? Originally, we were going to talk about children starving, living, and dying from aids; Insha'allah we'll get back to that.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What’s it like being a husband-wife rap duo?
SHAADI: (laughs) It fricken rocks dude! Ok, just kidding; it's a cool thing to be able to work with your own husband and hear him get all intense on the microphone with all these words coming out of his head. It's funny because he becomes another person when he's deep into his lyrics.
SEYFULLAH MC: I hear Shaadi sing all the time. And she hears me do my adlibs all the time, so us collaborating was just bound to happen.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What do you do when you’re not making music?
SHAADI: I'm watching CNN, TLC or taking care of the kids. Yes, I am a mom too.
SEYFULLAH MC: WORK and kickin it with the family.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What are your current projects?
SHAADI: Right now we are working on our next song called "Earth Flight" which will be in German and English.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: The Muslim community has been hurting for quite some time…what do you think can change this?
SHAADI: Understanding the proper concepts of Islam: fundamentally & comprehensively.
SEYFULLAH MC: Right now it feels like we are divided as to how Muslims can defend themselves, and who's Shia or Sunni. We have to get back to the basics so we can stop fighting with each other. We'll always disagree about something, that’s natural, but when we have outside influences exploiting those differences to drive us further and further apart, we need to stop arguing and address these outside influences.
Sometimes I wish I could just be like, "everybody that wants to practice Islam and live in an Islamic State, stand on this side of the class, and everyone who wants to live in a 'free' society or a society with man made (f)laws stand on that side". It’s just not that simple. Some Muslims like living in a democratic society while others don’t. The answer ultimately depends on how we can unite. We need to learn to look past our minor differences towards an ultimate goal. It's like they say, each one teach one. Its grass roots (movements). It's ORGANIZE. It’s like in the days of slavery: the house slaves didn’t really want change because they benefited from being in the house while the other slaves were out in the field suffering. Now we have Muslims benefiting from living in American society. And then we have Muslims around the world suffering as a direct consequence to American policy. So who's closest to the master? Who's more likely to be able to make a change?
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: How has your local Muslim community responded to your music?
SHAADI: They haven't really heard of us yet.
SEYFULLAH MC: The internet is getting the first glimpse. Right now, we just want to finish recording the album. And then the footwork starts.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: How has Islam impacted your life?
SHAADI: In so many ways it has changed me. I went from being one of those
females who went to clubs with my ex-best friend and stayed out late, having no concern for myself or my family. I was never "wild", but then again without Islam, you’re not tamed. I had stupid boyfriends, and all that Kufr (disbelief) stuff. Yes, it is true and I am not going to hide this, because I'd be fake if I didn't say it all. I learned the meaning of Islam and learned the real reasons why Allah gave me life and the ways in which he existed in my life that I never saw before. Islam gave me reality and tranquility in life, and a peace that only Allah can understand when I say it. Islam changed my mentality, my internal self, as well as my external self (Hijab). It has given me what is true beauty, Alhamdulilah. My intellect went from low to high, and I have learned so much over these six years.
SEYFULLAH MC: Before Islam, I did my share of drinking and wandering through life aimlessly. Nothing really mattered. I didn’t know what to believe in because it was all lies…just lies. The constitution was only a paper with words on it, and no actions. They had to amend it just to make a person a person by law. The bible was tampered with and doctored. Reading the Holy Quran, which has remained unchanged, meant something to me. So it wasn’t until after I completed reading it that I converted in Feb of 1999. Islam has given me a reason, a truth, to believe in. I can say firmly that by believing in Islam that I believe what is true, and what makes sense. There's no dividing my God up into pieces of a pie. There is no eating and drinking the body and blood of Allah swt's prophets. I think. I care. I love. I wish nothing but success.
MUSLIMHIPHOP.COM: What would you like to say to your fans?
SHAADI: Jazak Allahu Khair to the true sisters who haven't hated on me, but rather supported me instead of being childish and just finding any reason to hate on me and diss me just because of an ill feeling that Shaytan has given them. Thank you very much for actually listening to Reason Rule, and our songs. Thank you for respecting me.
SEYFULLAH MC: Shaadi has really stuck her neck out. I’ve been doing this a minute, so I’m used to the negative side of being an artist. But Shaadi isn’t used to this. And this has been the hardest thing to deal with. I just pray that the sisters will appreciate Shaadi's words and voice because she is taking an awful lot of shots just to sing with me.
Alhamdulilah. All praises are due to Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Some of you guys have been banging my tapes since way back. JazakAllahu khair for riding with me from the days of "I drop %$#@ to your dome like your 4head was a bed pan" all the way to “There's no conclusion without a process of reasoning”. And to those who have only recently come to know my music, JazakAllahu khair for listening and showing love. The album is on its way insha'allah. Listen to the lyrics, listen to the message. Support Muslim artists, not just Reason Rule, but everybody from Napoleon to One Dark Angel. You don’t have to buy all these CDs, you can check out the free mp3's when they are available. Get the word out. There is now an alternative to what’s out there.
SHAADI: Jazak Allahu Khair to Jetmir Decani whom has always been so nice to us and Mike as well. Thank you for this opportunity to share a little bit about us. May Allah bless you all. Ameen.