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Hasan Salaam - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Lost In A Revolutionary Paradise

September 2005

MVRemix: What do you think of films labeled as ‘Blaxploitation’?

Hasan Salaam: Some of the films were classics on an aesthetic and social level. Some were just exploitative. These films saved the movie industry due to low cost and high returns, similar to Hip-Hop now.

MVRemix: What is the favorite part of your live show?

Hasan Salaam: Interacting with the crowd. It’s a natural high.

MVRemix: You are from New Jersey? Where are you living now? What is it like?

Hasan Salaam: I was born in Manhattan NYC, but lived most of my life in Teaneck, NJ. I moved to Bayonne, NJ. Now, I'm in Jersey City, NJ

MVRemix: What are some songs that made you fall in love with hip-hop?

Hasan Salaam: ‘Follow the Leader’ by Rakim, ‘The Headbanger’ by EPMD, ‘The Choice is Yours’ by Black Sheep, ‘The World is Yours’ by Nas, ‘Distortion to Static’ by The Roots, ‘Buck Em Down’ by Blackmoon, ‘Superman Lover’ by Redman, ‘Chief Rocka’ by Lords Of The Underground, ‘Hip-Hop Hooray’ by Naughty By Nature, ‘I Get Around’ by 2Pac, ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik’ by Outkast, ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nothing To Fuck Wit’ by Wu-Tang Clan, ‘93 Till Infinity’ by Hieroglyphics, ‘Nothin But A G Thang’ by Dr. Dre, and the list goes on.

MVRemix: Who are some emcees you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Hasan Salaam: I am in the process of working with a lot of the emcees I respect and have wanted to work with. Who knows what the future holds? I will have to keep building and meeting folks.

MVRemix: Who are some producers you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Hasan Salaam: DJ Premier, The Rza, KayDee, Prince Paul, Pete Rock, Salaam Remi, Ski, The Heatmakers, The Neptunes, 45 King, Just Blaze, and Kanye West.

MVRemix: Tell us about the song, 'Hezbollah'.

Hasan Salaam: It’s about fighting against oppression. People in power stay in power because they divide and conquer. By separating oppressed people and our struggles, it is easier for America and its allies to control a region. All of our struggles are the same. When we unite, Babylon will fall.

MVRemix: Where were you during the September 11th terrorist attack? How did you deal with it?

Hasan Salaam: I was asleep when the first plane hit, but I watched the second one out of my window.

MVRemix: What was the last incident of racism you experienced?

Hasan Salaam: Racism is an everyday thing in the country, but what stands out the most was a couple of months ago. I was driving a cab for Yellow Taxi in Bayonne, NJ. I was the only Black night driver at the time in a racist town. The Caucasian dispatcher referred to a customer on the phone as a ‘nigger’, after she hung up with him, not realizing I heard her. I confronted her and we got into an argument about it. She explained how the customer was a friend of her husband, who happens to be a Black man, which makes the word ‘nigga’ okay, as long as there’s an ‘a’ instead of an ‘er’ at the end. She proceeded to say she has ‘mutt’ kids and that we should all get together to go after the ‘Arabs and dot heads’ taking all our jobs. It was some ironic shit. The icing on the cake was after I quit. I saw the other cabbies sheets and I was like $200 to 300 behind all of them. Go figure.

MVRemix: Death penalty – for or against?

Hasan Salaam: I don’t think that the court system is fair. The death penalty in this country is bias so I say Allah is the only judge.

MVRemix: Abortion – pro-choice or pro-life?

Hasan Salaam: Ultimately, a woman's decision, but it should never be used as a form of birth control.

MVRemix: Out of the myriad of problems we face in contemporary society (racism, poverty, war, hatred, dysfunctional families, lack of funding, etc.), which ones do you feel need the most attention?

Hasan Salaam: All of them deserve attention. White supremacy and colonialism are behind a lot of the issues we face today. Freedom, justice, and equality defiantly have to take a precedent.

MVRemix: Where do you see the United States in 10 years from now?

Hasan Salaam: Babylon will continue to decay and corrupt all it touches until its demise.

MVRemix: How do you feel about the term 'consciousness rap'?

Hasan Salaam: Music is music. Labels and terms are for critics.

MVRemix: What was your childhood like? What kind of kid were you?

Hasan Salaam: It was what it was. Some good, some bad. I was imaginative, interested in learning, sports, and all kinds of things.

MVRemix: What part of New Jersey did you grow up in? What was it like?

Hasan Salaam: Mostly in Teaneck, with my Mother. It’s a suburb with a mix of all kinds of different ethnicities. I spent time in Jersey City with my Father. The two different places gave me a different kind of perspective growing up.

MVRemix: What has been in your CD player or on your tape deck recently?

Hasan Salaam: Charlie Parker ‘With Strings’, Hi-Coup's ‘Ghetto Factory Mix-tape’, Rugged N Raw ‘Train Of Thought’, Al Green ‘I’m Still In Love With You’, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, & Max Roach ‘Monkey Jungle’, Majesty’s ‘Heir to the Throne’ Mix-tape, Outkast, Jay-Z, and Nas.

MVRemix: What do you think of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East?

Hasan Salaam: They should get the fuck out, plain and simple. England fucked it up after the World War I and America has just carried on the tradition.

MVRemix: If you could re-make any classic hip-hop song, what would it be?

Hasan Salaam: I would rather pen a new classic to add on to the list.

MVRemix: How did you get started in making music?

Hasan Salaam: My mother gave birth to me. It’s part of what I'm here for.

MVRemix: Who was the biggest influence in your life?

Hasan Salaam: My mother.

MVRemix: What was your last dream you remember?

Hasan Salaam: Had to do with death.

MVRemix: What is hip-hop lacking these days?

Hasan Salaam: Hip-Hop is not lacking to what the mass media presents to the world, as Hip-Hop is lacking. The deficiency is in that the full spectrum of life is not presented. Not all Africans in America are drug dealers or pimps. We are everything, just like anyone else.

MVRemix: What are some major misconceptions that people have of you?

Hasan Salaam: That I am a racist. People confuse some of my lyrics. I think that Caucasians are so used to not being questioned or confronted on their evils, that they take it as reverse racism. It’s not about Black and White. It’s about wrong and right.

MVRemix: What is next for Hasan Salaam?

Hasan Salaam: Tomorrow, Insha Allah, God Willing, more music, more shows, more ideas, and a greater understanding on how to be a better person and a better Muslim.

MVRemix: Any final words?

Hasan Salaam: Peace.

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"Racism is an everyday thing in the country, but what stands out the most was a couple of months ago. I was driving a cab for Yellow Taxi in Bayonne, NJ. I was the only Black night driver at the time in a racist town..."