INTERVIEW: HASAN SALAAM

H.I. What does your name mean? what language is that?
H.S.  Hasan was prophet Muhammads grandsun he was an imam(spiritual leader) and a warrior.
Salaam means peace. For me it means that i wanna be at peace whether i have to build or destroy thru good times and bad just have that center of peace.  Hasan is arabic and also swahili i believe
salaam is arabic its root word is lam which is aramaic the parent of arabic and hebrew
lam means peace.
H.I. So you are muslim? Were you born into that way of life?

H.S. Nah i wasn’t born muslim, I started studying around the age of 12-13
H.I. What age are you now? what prompted that switch?
H.S.  27, my mother made me read the autobiography of Malcolm x
after that i read the supreme wisdom by Elijah Muhammad.

H.I. Was she Muslim also, or just trying to do the right thing by her son?
H.S. She just wanted me to have knowledge of self
my mother came up in the 60s she was in the peace corp and marched with King.
H.I. were you wilding out before then?
H.S. I  experienced alot and I’ve always tip toed that line even after i knew what was right i still was  H.I.  What city are you from?
H.S.  I’m from Teaneck and Jersey city, New jersey.

H.I. most rappers who call themselves Muslim that I see in the fore front are rapping about shootouts and drugs. What are your raps primarily about?

H.S. Life, Overcoming obstacles, pain, trials & tribulations, love, lust, philosophy –                           

H.I. Wait! you rap about Lust?

H.S. family, everyone has lust my rhymes are honest. every part of me as a person is in my jawns
 my music is 360.

H.I. ok, so what would be the biggest misconception people have of you before  they listen to your music, or even before they meet you?

H.S. that ima saint (laughter) or that im a racist

H.I. it may be the name, have you always used that as your emcee name?

H.S. Sun I’ve had a lot of names. My 1st was Hasan the Chief. Then it was Pinnacle
One day my ex was like you should just use your name. That was the only good advice shorty ever had.

H.I. It’s funny you mention your ex because i was just about to bring up your first album Paradise Lost  the song, Affair To Remember, was that the same ex you speak of? or was that a merging of different characters?

H.S.  Nah, Affair To Remember is one woman though
but different from the one in that song.

H.I. Why did you name the album Paradise Lost?
H.S. The book by John Milton was very biblical and it spoke about falling from grace
it was one of the bases most christians use. along with dantes inferno
that shaped ideas of heaven and hell.I looked at that and like what he intended – it was actually an attack on politics in the UK at the time. So i was like we are the people of the bible here in the wilderness of North America we were stolen from the best part and forced to the worst i had to bring the knowledge of that 1st.

H.I. So though you are a Muslim, you read the bible?

H.S. yes i read everything i can. Islam is infinite.  What makes me muslim is the 5 pillars. I  dont worship a man or a book, There is no spook in the sky to me.
Islam is a way to live ones life. The root of it is the same as salaam – lam is peace 

H.I. Thats heavy. So with the fist album, you said that you weren’t to particularwith how much it sold and that you wanted to get things off your chest.
did it work?

H.S. Yes all of my music is for the people. Whether they buy it or not
i need to get this off my chest id be writing and spitting whether people hear it or not.

H.I. That was 2006. I’m supposing you have a whole lot more on your chest. What has changed in the world since then? What has changed in your  world?
H.S.  My family situation is hectic, community shit is crazy, the world is out of control, were still not free.
H.I. So this album coming, Children Of God, would reflect the escalation of hard times per se?
H.S. This album is actually more in depth. Wisdom is empirical knowledge
wise words being spoken. Some equate it to experience, but with out knowledge experiences can be wasted. I deal alot with things the sisters are going thru on this one.

H.I. is it harder to digest then Paradise Lost? When you say deep, some people’s red flags raise up. What’s the difference between Paradise Lost and Children Of God?
H.S.  Nah, Its just some real talk shit. life shit. Like i said Paradise Lost was the knowledge
this is the wisdom. The production on Children Of God is on a much higher level

H.I. What is the difference in production? you produce yourself dont you? 

H.S. i did 2 tracks, Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian did one. kasim keto did two,
Craig Rip did four. Def Dom, Impaq and iron Braydz did one each.

H.I. How did you get lord jamar on Angel Dust? What was that experience?
H.S. We met at a show and he said he was digging what i was doing. i grew up listening and respecting Brand Nubian so its an honor. they paved the way for an artist such as myself

H.I. For people who don’t do music or any other type of artistic expression, how could they help their communities?
H.S.  Volunteer to help the youth, or the elderly. Help clean up the neighborhood. help the homeless with food and clothes. Even something so simple as greeting people with peace can change things whatever it is you know or you do well – teach it to the seeds
we need to get back on that it takes a village mentality.

H.I. speaking on it takes a village, you are taking the indie route for this album. Paradise Lost was on day by day, you had management what changed?
H.S. I re released Paradise Lost on my own and Children Of God  is on me too

H.I. And the distribution?
H.S. Wherever you see me. I want as many people to hear my music as possible
but im not tryin to be nobody’s slave.
H.I. understood. Now i bump into you all over the country, what were some of the memorable places and shows you’ve experienced?
H.S. Last year i rocked at the zulu Nation Anniversary, that was dope. The We The People festival in Watts, California. The red gone wild tour was dope, all my shows in the UK. The UMA’s (Underground Music Awards) 

H.I. You won a UMA?
 H.S.  Two. Song of the year and best live performance. I won those in 2006.

H.I. why do people book you all over the world with no airplay and major push?
H.S. because i make good music and I work on the business side.
H.I. Thats what is, When does the album drop?
H.S. September 2nd, People can pre order at cdbaby.com/cd/hasansalaam4 – The release party is at the Bowery Poetry Club on Sept 12th

H.I.  is there any artist, producer, any activist, any gang, any hood that you have not encountered yet but you wish to?

H.S. I wanna travel thru all of africa fam4 real shows or not, I really wanna go to gore island, 
its the last place slaves would be before we were sent here or to the carribean 

H.I. Before we close, I’d like for you to honor the name of anyone who is not here with us right now
H.S. r.i.p. my peoples Terrence Mosley, Gary Farrar, Swift andmy Grand Earth Ms. Luke
and all the ancestors that gave their lives for us 2 be here

 

 

 

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