The Brothahood in KL: An Interview
On the 15th of February, Saturday, the writer managed to interview the Melbourne-based Muslim hip-hop group regarding their visits, their brand of music and the direction, and The Brothahood’s perception of Music and Islam.
Joining the writer in the interview was two members of The Brothahood, Jehad , who comes from a Lebanese background and Hisham from a Burmese ancestry, both born and brought up in the streets of culturally thriving Melbourne. The members who couldn’t make it for the tour was Timur, who comes from a family of Turkey and Jehad’s brother Moustafa.
According to them, although they come from different background, it was their love for music and their Islamic religion that brought them together closer. Hence the name Brothahood: a share sense of brother-ship of music, religion and diverse-but-unique background. In fact, Jehad met Hisham in a Muslim youth camp, and has been friends for nearly 17 years.
Their visit here is sponsored by the Australian-Malaysia Institute, as part of the AMI’s effort in fostering a better relationship between the two countries. With the help of Crescent Collective, Jehad and Hesham conducted a talk on the roles of Musician in spreading peace and positive message as well as having rhyming and rapping classes. Jehad was surprised by how well some of the participants, who were as young as 9 year old, who could beat-box well. This according to him, is good, for it allows for future hip-hop artist to be the positive influence to the community.
When it comes to their songs, it may seem similar to most hip-hop songs, but when listened closely, it has its own unique tone and lyrical sense. This, from Jehad’s opinion, is because their songs reflect them: their livelihood in Melbourne, the social influences, plights, beauty and diversity and their role as a Muslims that makes The Brothahood one of a kind.
With regards with their lyrics, Jehad and Hesham stresses that they are not an actually a nasheed hip-hop group, but more of a spiritual hip-hop group that has a strong Islamic basis. This is done so as not to alienate their listeners who are composed of the Muslim community, both young and old, as well as other non-Muslims. Their aim is not to do the mistakes of some groups: too preachy that it drives away prospective listeners who might just be interested in the religion and songs.
This is proven true, as noted by Hesham, stating that when non-Muslims listen to The Brothahoods songs, they gain an understanding that not all Muslims are terrorist. And in their recognition, these non-Muslims inquires them about Islam, and the actual beauty that has eluded them.
Another reason that The Brothahood members are careful with their music and lyric arrangement is that they are not scholars of Islam and do not want to present a wrong image of Islam. It is however, as was mentioned, a starting point for others to gain a better understanding of Islam and how it relates to our livelihood, religion and community both small and at large.
All in all, this trip was more than just a simple tour: The Brothahood’s presence – Jehad and Hesham – was to enlighten others on how music can do more than just tell a story, but to enjoin, enlighten and open the field on the matters that people take for granted and take a more positive attitude in life. As their album says: ‘Onus on Us’ or locally known as ‘Sendiri Mau Ingat’.
– Munsyeed Dot Com