Brooklyn MC Yasiin Bey recently sat in Paris to lend his words to a teaser for the ongoing exhibit Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam And Hip-Hop scored by Oddisee and curated by Sohail Daulatzai. In the last week of its run at the William Grant Still Arts Center in Los Angeles, the exhibit “showcases how hip-hop culture, from its very foundation until today, has been deeply influenced by its relationship to Islam.”
Guided by figures such as Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, as well as the influence of Islam on jazz and the Black Arts Movement of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and on to hip-hop’s Golden Age, and up until today, these Muslim artists and many others are connected to the larger world of Islam. Reflected in everything from LP and cassette artwork and titles, to lyrics and samples to advocating personal, social and political uplift, hip-hop has been deeply influenced by the Nation of Islam, the Five Percent Nation, and Islam in the African diaspora.
Return of the Mecca features artwork from Jamel Shabazz, Ernie Paniccioli, B+, Cognito, Katina Parker, Nema Etebar and Eric Coleman. A 120-page commemorative book for the exhibit boasts a commissioned essay written by Chuck D of Public Enemy with cover art by Joe Buck. As if that weren’t enough, the exhibit is also accompanied by the exclusive RETURNOFTHEMECCA mix from DJ Kaleem DooDirty Jankins.
Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam And Hip-Hop runs until Saturday, November 22nd. Check the footage below to view the exhibition teaser featuring Yasiin Bey. Scroll down to check out the exclusive mix. Purchase the commemorative book and get more on the exhibit via returnofthemecca.com.