Full name: Hussain Abdullah
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
What is your greatest memory of rap and hip hop culture?
One of my personal favorite moments would have to be when Outkast won best new Rap group at the source awards. Andre made a simple statement that paved the way for a lot of artists from the south. He said “the south got something to say”. This was around the same time the East and West coast were “beefing” so not too many people knew about southern rap.
When did you decide to pursue rap as a professional career?
I would say that I decided to pursue a rap career around the age of 24. Even though I had been rapping and writing poetry at the age of 15 as a hobby. What made me really want to become an artist was the lack of diversity in the game.
When did you start rapping and who were your greatest inspirations?
I started rapping at the age of 15. Some of my greatest inspirations were Tupac, Mos Def, Nas, Outkast, and T.I. These artist all had different outlooks and different approaches to the rap game. Even though all of them wouldn’t be considered positive artist, I believe they truly spoke on the life they were living.
Your music leans towards being “positive rap” was it always that way? Did you make a conscience effort to be positive?
My music was nowhere close to being positive when I started rapping. I was majorly influenced by street life and a gangster mentality, as it seems to continue to influence rappers today. I started to make an effort to do more positive music when I got married. As my life was changing, my lyrics were too. My focus became more on life and the positive realities I was going threw at the time.
How does authenticity play a role in your music? How honest are you willing to be and share in your songs?
Authenticity plays a major role in my music today. Whether it’s something I’m going threw in that moment, somewhere I’ve been in the past or a place where I want to see myself in the future. When I write my songs I try to be as honest as I can without giving off negativity as well as promoting it. Being conscious of the things I rap about is very important to me because I know at the end of the day I will have to answer for the things I say.
Do you think there is room for a rapper with your message to be successful in a hip-hop culture that seems obsessed with promiscuity and wealth? What are your personal views on rap and hip hop culture today?
I believe there is going to be a time soon where people will get tired of the same regurgitated sound in music. For the most part, the songs that are out now have no positive impact on society, and “artists” that portray these images are mostly not living the life they rap about. To answer your first question, I feel there is room for rappers with positive messages to be successful in the music industry. This can only happen when we start supporting the artist that are putting in the ground work now.
What was the inspiration behind your song “Rolling with the G-plan”?
The song G-Plan was co-written by me and another Muslim artist by the name of Asim Sujud. It’s inspiration stems from the teachings in Islam that can be found in the Quran. We as Muslims believe that everything that is, or will be, has already been decreed by Allah (en. God) (swt (eng. Glory be to God)). While we may think that we are in control of our destinies, it is only by will of God that we can be successful in this life and the here after.
Did you always feel this connection to God or is it something you’ve had to struggle with?
Alhumdulillah I was born and raised in a Muslim household. So I have always felt some connection to God. As I got older though, I would say around my teenage years, my faith had started to be tested. At the time I was attending public high school, so as most of us know it doesn’t really coincide with any religious beliefs. I would say that this was the hardest time for me as I was tried by numerous tests on a daily basis. Drugs, sex and violence seem to be at almost every turn. Only by the grace of God was I able to get threw all of that and be the man I am today.
There has always been a Muslim consciousness or at least familiarity in rap –with references to Islamic clothing, phrases and some successful Muslims (Beanie Sigel, Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco) in rap music do you see yourself as a part of this trend?
I wouldn’t say I see myself as part of a trend. The reason I say this is because I believe trends usually come and go. As far as what I do musically, I believe there has always been people rapping and speaking the truth, whether it be in the form of rap or spoken word. It’s just not something that the mainstream media wants to push forward as it goes against their agenda.
We often see Muslim rappers making compromises in their practice while in the music industry, is this something you worry about? Is there an inherent struggle you find in being a rapper and being Muslim?
It all depends on what that individual is trying to get from being an Artist. Me personally, I don’t care about the fame. I’m just trying to give the people who listen to music a positive alternative. Something that adults can listen to, as well as feel safe to let their kids listen to. The biggest thing I worry about though isn’t the compromises I might make but how I will handle the money I receive. I believe the test will be even harder for me if I become wealthy.
What has the reception to your music been like so far?
The feedback has been mostly positive. People are feeling good about the messages and the delivery in my songs. Some have came to me and said I should do some Nasheeds (“strictly Islamic Music” or spoken word without the beats. My response is usually the same though; that I do what I feel is good in my heart. Not saying that I would never do any spoken word pieces, its just not where I’m at right now.
How would you describe yourself as an artist? Where do you see yourself in the future and whom do you feel is your audience?
I see myself as the type of artist that can move audiences with my musical ability. Though in person I might seem more laid back and soft-spoken. When I get on the mic it’s like all that goes out the window and I’m able to get my point across with ease. When I make a song, I don’t do it for any specific group. My music can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old, Muslim or non-Muslim.
What is your latest album about?
My latest album is titled “Transition”. The main concept behind this project was the idea of going from darkness and rising into the light. Coming up thru the years I’ve had my own trials and tribulations. None of which I would change because it made me the man I am today. The majority of the album focuses on my life after getting married, making hajj and having my son. There is still some times where I do flashbacks on the times before this family life
Will you be touring if so when and where?
Right now I don’t have any tour dates or shows lined up. My wife and I just had our baby girl, so I’m focusing on family at the moment.
How can people get in contact with you and where can they find your music?
Everyone can find me on social media: Facebook/Instagram: @RealSane Twitter: @RealSaneMusic. For all booking and media inquiries email me at email@example.com. Realsane.com website coming soon.