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Hasan Salaam - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Lost In A Revolutionary Paradise

September 2005

Revolutionary spirit is an essential element in the foundation of hip-hop culture. As a movement, hip-hop has infinitely revolutionized advertising, fashion, the music industry, art, race relations, education, politics, etc. While most emcees obsess about earning wealth, a rebellious spirit exists. Behind the diamonds and cars, emcees speak their minds and express themselves from their hearts. While other musical genres promote free expression, hip-hop has accomplished a world wide multifaceted revolution. A slew of revolutionary artists from the golden era have inspired contemporary revolutionary emcees. Without Krs-One, X-Clan, Public Enemy, and Tupac, we would not have Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, or Immortal Technique. Like all revolutionary movements, the ideologies are passed on from generation to generations.

2005 ignites a brand new generation in revolutionary hip-hop. Straight from New Jersey, Hasan Salaam is a deeply spiritual Muslim emcee who wants his music to spark change in every listener. As a man, he feels that he was born to create music. As an emcee, he has the powerful delivery of Chuck D, the racial love of Mos Def, the instructional attitude of Krs-One, and the anger of Immortal Technique. He just released his debut LP (“Paradise Lost”) on Day By Day Entertainment. “Paradise Lost” was produced by DJ Static of Stronghold, Rugged N Raw, Mike Marvel, & Shy Money from the Dream Team, and Salaam., The album features somewhat unknown guests like Baron of Red Clay, and Hicoup & Sundiata. These somewhat unknown contributors give the album a refreshing vibe. A true activist who loves his people, Salamm has opened the door for his musician friends by putting them on the album. The album’s diversity comes from the variety of topics. Regardless of variety, every single track on “Paradise Lost” is deeply rooted in the spirit of revolution. Some songs have an intense spirituality (“Eternal Life”, “Hezbollah”) while some are political (“Blaxploitation”). “The Drinking Gourd” is an honest look at alcohol addiction and “Boom Bap” is a hard look at hip-hop. The revolution may not be televised; the movement will be musical in nature. Creating the revolution’s soundtrack, Hasan Salaam has joined the hip-hop people’s army and is looking to recruit you!

MVRemix: You just released a new album, 'Paradise Lost' on Day By Day Records. Tell us about it.

Hasan Salaam: It’s my first album and it’s an introduction to my life, knowledge, experiences, and ideas.

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on 'Paradise Lost'?

Hasan Salaam: Right now, it’s ‘Prayer Of A Sinner’. It was the last song I wrote for the album. It is where I am right now in my life. But, it changes due to the zone I'm in at a particular time. ‘Fountain of Youth’ always puts a smile on my face.

MVRemix: Can you explain the title 'Paradise Lost'?

Hasan Salaam: The title, 'Paradise Lost' is about the journey of a man who is evicted from the garden, in religious theory. I always looked at that story as a lesson. Whether it was true or not, it tells us about all of our lives, as a whole and as individuals. Who doesn't have to deal with temptation, pain, loss, and struggle? Our ancestors were stolen from their homeland. Generation upon generation has been brainwashed to think of us as less than a human beings. We are the lost tribe, in the wilderness, on a journey to find the Promised Land, our sense of Paradise, both individually and as a people.

MVRemix: Describe the overall recording process of the ‘Paradise Lost’ LP.

Hasan Salaam: All of it was recorded at Mike Marvel Studios in Jersey City except for ‘One Life to Give’, which was recorded at T.M.E. in the Bronx. It took about a year and a half to 2 years to complete."

MVRemix: What song took the longest to complete? Why?

Hasan Salaam: ‘Diaspora’ because I was reading a couple books that inspired it. So, I had to finish the books first. I also wanted the info to be on point, so I scrutinized it the most.

MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the name?

Hasan Salaam: ‘‘Diaspora’ is the African Diaspora. ‘Def’ is any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland.

MVRemix: How did you get involved with Day By Day Entertainment?

Hasan Salaam: I played some music for Ravage, a member of M.I.C. (Monsta Island Czars) and A&R Promoter for Day by Day. Ravage took the music to MF Grimm.

MVRemix: When creating a song, do you have a set theme or pre-written lyrics? Or, do you write to the beat?

Hasan Salaam: All of the above. It just depends on the situation. I'm always writing, so sometimes, I don't have any tracks with me. Other times, I take a beat everywhere I go.

MVRemix: Favorite sampler or drum machine?

Hasan Salaam: I use the MPC 2000 XL.

MVRemix: The song, 'Blaxploitation' is very powerful. What inspired this track?

Hasan Salaam: Hip-Hop has become a multi million-dollar industry. It gets used and abused by outside forces to the point of absurdity. Since we've been here, everything we have built or invented has been exploited with America making the profit while our people live as second-class citizens. The topic of reparations is something that politicians and lawmakers avoid. Reparations are not about money. They are about control over our own land, property, creations, communities, and ultimately, our own destiny.

>>> continued...

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"Hip-Hop has become a multi million-dollar industry. It gets used and abused by outside forces to the point of absurdity. Since we've been here, everything we have built or invented has been exploited..."