Hip-Hop Reading of the Quran

Hip Hop

Hip Hop is the successor of Jazz. Like its predecessor, it changed how we listen to music. Classic symphonies tell stories using all the elements of a good play: surprise, suspense, joy, sorrow etc. The elements are knitted different arrangements with their intensity fluctuated in peaks and troughs. When DJ Kool Herc noticed that, he gave the crowd the instrumental breaks they want without waiting long. He said “Forget melody, chorus, songs – it was all about the groove, building it and keeping it going”. Then he created the Merry-Go-Round style where a good break was continuously looped using two records. Afrika Bambaata knew that secret well too. Hip Hop is exciting music. Grand Master Flash took an exciting music and made it ultra exciting. For an exciting instrumental, the story was told the old fashion way; by talking in rhymes.

In the foundation years of Hip Hop, soon-to-be DJs would go dumpster diving to get vinyl records hoping they can get good short sounds. At other times they hear a sound on the radio (or someone’s speakers), they go to record stores searching for the record just so they can get that sound they fell in love with. Hip-Hopers kept their ears open for a tight sound and you couldn’t just google back then.

By extending Hip Hop’s hunger for excitement, we started recording mixtapes on cassettes. Rather than listen to an album from start to finish, we would record a selection of our favourite tracks on tape. Big-ups to anyone who remembers buying a normal or chrome cassette to record a selection.  With access to computers, CDs and burners we moved to making playlists of our favourite tracks.

Reading The Quran

I find my reading of the Quran very Hip-Hop-like. The very few times I have read contiguous chapters of the Quran, I was with my pencil making notes of my favorite range of verses that I will come to recite later on. I am like an ambitious DJ-to-be trying to find my sounds.

Other times, I hear a recitation of verses while praying behind another or while flipping channels of the TV and I tell myself: Man, I gotta get me some of those verses. I note them down and mark them on my Quran copy. Listening to the Quran like a hungry Hip-Hop fiend listening to a good record for the first time. The Qur’an Fiend.

As a result, my Quran recitation is quite exciting. I rarely read complete chapters, unless on special occasions. I read a group of favourite verses then skip verse or chapters to read another favorite.

My Quran copy is a playlist of my favourite bits. I am looking forward to making an audio playlist of my favorite parts. It will be a mixture of whole sections, using the translation-copies to identify sections so that I don’t end up with verses that dont really have a subject or focus; the Quran verses are sectionalized.

Success Secrets

DJ Kool Herc’s father (who is a sound-system player) adviced his son “Hide the name of your records because thats how you get rep. Thats how you get your clientèle. You dont want people to have the same record from down the block.” The advice is aims to create artificial scarcity so that only the one with the secrets can create a certain mix. However, with the Hip-Hop-Quran-Reading, there is no such scarcity or competition. The Quran cannot be made scarce even if there are no papers to print it.

In the spirit of Hip-Hop-Quranic-Reading, I can gladly share my favorites, just ask if you want. If you have favorites too, Hip-Hop-Quranic-Reading requires that you dont hide yours. The Quran is a Message to Mankind anyway.

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