Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Hasan Salaam

October 2006,
Off the Radar

Jersey City, NJ
5th Column Media/Day by Day Entertainment

Sitting across the street from the opulent law building at Rutgers’ Newark campus in New Jersey, Hasan Salaam obsesses over the dichotomy of wealth and poverty. He’s been that way ever since the movie Malcolm X. The movie jolted him into new social awareness.

“When that movie came out, we saw the preview and my mother said I couldn’t see it until I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X and I had this bigger perspective,” says Salaam. His take on American oppression was punctuated by a cop peering down at him suspiciously from the nearby campus steps.

This expanded outlook led Salaam to become a Muslim. He discusses his ideologies on his debut release, Paradise Lost, an album that garnered attention after Salaam won Best Live Performance and Best Underground Song of the Year for Lost’s “Blaxploitation” at the 3rd Annual Underground Music Awards in 2005. He attributes his vitriolic lyrics to the belief that, “If we don’t recognize our worth, others are going to take our culture and do some Elvis shit to us. They’re going to take it and 10 years from now they’re going to say they started it.” And for that reason, Salaam continues to rage against the establishment.


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