Jawad Fayiz and Akbar Qayum, both 18, go to college, work in sales for a telecommunications company and recite their Islamic prayers five times a day.
And in their spare time? These Muslim teens rap.
“Positive hip hop,” Fayiz says quickly. “Not the bad stuff.”
They say their inspiration comes from their Islamic faith. Of the dozen or so songs they’ve written — some posted on YouTube — the lyrics speak a clear message.
“Morality, peace and unity,” Qayum says. “I know it sounds kinda cheesy, but it’s the truth. Things are changing, and music is the best way to spread that word. If we can influence things, that’s all we’re asking for.”
On Friday, the duo — who call themselves D-Clique — get to make that statement in their largest forum yet. After placing first out of nine entries in a regional talent competition sponsored by the Muslim American Society, they were selected to open for Outlandish, a popular European hip-hop band whose music also takes a positive approach.
Tour Part Of ‘Values Movement’
The Voices for Change concert takes place at the University of South Florida Sun Dome. Tampa is the first stop in a six-city tour for Outlandish. The award-winning trio includes two Muslims and a Christian.
The tour is meant to empower and inspire young people, says Omar Atia, vice president of MAS Youth, a branch of the society. He called it “a night of entertainment with no controversial lyrics, no profanity and no references to drugs, alcohol and violence.”
“We’re a values movement, striving for social justice,” Atia says. “We tell the kids they can either channel their energy into a positive force for society, or a negative one. We want to show them the value of making good choices and how it can affect their communities.”