Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Tribute to Christchurch: Muslim hip-hop group Deen Squad release new song

The meditative song is a call for Muslim youth to not feel defeated by hate

Canadian hip-hop duo Deen Squad released a new single in memory of the victims of the terrorist mosque attack on March 16 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The song’s title Hey Brother, is taken from the last words uttered by Daud Nabi, the worshipper who greeted the shooter at the gates before he was gunned down.

The music video, released on YouTube on March 22, is an animated affair with the Masjid Al Noor mosque in the background, while rendered images of the victims are shown with their full name, their family role and employment. The lyrics to the song are placed at the bottom of the screen.

Each rapper tackles the painful subject matter differently.

Jay Deen's verse takes on the perspective of Nabi: “Step inside. When you meet my people you’re going to love us/ There’s a gun in your hand, no brother!”

Meanwhile, Lebanese-Canadian Karter Zaher (also known as KZ) takes a broader perspective: "Maybe the ‘phobes fed him information/ And it grew inside him/ Hatred/ So he loses the plot and shoots up a mosque.”

Speaking to The National, Deen - a Ghanaian-Canadian who converted to Islam in 2009 - says this song is as much a tribute to the fallen as a rallying cry for Muslims to not feel defeated by hate.

This is because we believe we are the face of our youth and this song represent our strength as a Muslim community.

Jay Deen

“This song isn’t an option for us. It’s a duty,” he said.

“This is because we believe we are the face of our youth and this song represent our strength as a Muslim community.”

Zaher explained the track was quickly composed and released.

"After receiving hundreds of messages from fans and family asking us to dedicate a tribute song to the victims of Christchurch, we immediately started developing the song concept,” he said.

“It took us 24 hours to have the lyrics melodies, beat production and vocals ready.”

Formed in 2015, Deen Squad is one of the world most popular Islamic inspired hip-hop groups and have toured globally. Their previous show in Dubai was one of the biggest of their careers, having performed to over 30,000 people at Dubai's Autism Rocks Arena in 2017.

Their youth friendly tracks feature modern hip-hop and RnB sounds paired with religiously inspired lyrics that focus on various aspects of the Muslim faith.

After making their name with “halal cover versions” of hip- hop hits such as Muslim Queen and Allah Loves You – their take on Fetty Wap’s Trap Queen and DJ Snake’s Let Me Love You – they eventually branched out to original - with their debut EP Fajr released in 2017.

The boys are also known for the celebratory 2017 track Ramadan Kareem, which was released in the run up to holy month. The accompanying colourful video, where the boys are wearing dashikis and dancing along with friends, has already clocked up nearly 2 million views.

Updated: March 23, 2019 04:27 PM

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