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Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Briefly share with the H2H readers a little bit about yourself; the type of music you produce as well as a few words about your latest album “Red Pill Electronic”. What message you are conveying within that project?
Khalil Ismail (KI): My name is Khalil Ismail, and I’ve been doing music professionally for 5 years Alhumdullilah (All Praise Is Due to Allah). I produce music with the intent of creating an alternative to the mindless unintelligent media intentionally used to keep the unsuspecting masses distracted from reality. I was fortunate and blessed by Allah to find that I have world class talent in music, therefore, I feel like I must repay my Lord by doing things that are pleasing to Him. I do it because I love it, but I wish to be pleasing to my Lord, so I strive not to transgress boundaries set by HIM.
EM: My very first introduction to you was during this year’s Ramadan Tsunami Prayerline where you shared some very profound words regarding the images we absorb on Television, specifically commercials, and its effect on our mind and spirit.
I would like to begin by asking you, as a musician, about the affect music has in creating images in the mind of the listener and how they impede on our thoughts, beliefs and our behavior.
KI: I believe music is as powerful as what video does, and much like the pen it is a tool that can be used for good or for evil. Many people derive expectations for marriage and relationships in general through what they hear in music. Sheer repetition of songs can dominate the subconscious and play an active role on our impulsive decisions so it’s very important that what we listen to is framed from a realistic perspective so that the experience of listening has the effect of teaching as opposed to programming.
EM: We understand that the ultimate goal of the Enemy – the so-called Jews, and those who presently control the “mainstream” music and entertainment industry, is to destroy the minds of the listeners especially the youth by promoting and glamorizing violence, drugs, money, sex, prison and the appearance of power.
We can clearly see its affect, but exactly how powerful is music in this negative form in the United States as well as on a Global scale? In what ways, such as social media, can we counter the bitter taste of today’s so-called Hip Hop and R&B with positive music that strikes consciousness?
KI: On a global scale it has massively impacted the view people have on African Americans and who they are. My travels around the world have taught me that the most powerful opinion people have of African Americans come from our mainstream music. I believe it is known that Allah has given us unique talent and perspective and when one of us breaks through with a positive message we impact the world like no other. Malcolm, Martin , Muhammad Ali, Bob Marley and even Michael Jackson . It seems the world’s population is almost enchanted when African Americans rise with a positive message. There must be a consistent concerted campaign to keep our image misrepresented.
We have to enjoin the right and forbid the evil. Enjoining what is good means supporting and sharing art that uplifts and educates with our mouths and our purses. Those who have made the sacrifice in order to provide our children with good food will only survive if they are supported. A major problem I have come across is how our own people discount the importance and the role art plays on our collective consciousness.
EM: You reflect Islam beautifully in your music, which for those who are a part of the “microwave hip hop” industry have a difficult time refraining from profanity much less delivering a message of spiritual and intellectual consciousness. What challenges have you encountered along the way of building your craft with so much corruption within the music industry? How important is it for you to have the right type of people around at all times; meaning not just family and friends but those who are well versed in the industry.
KI: Honestly I made a decision to make this my own business. As I began to realize that this industry was rigged, I felt like I’d rather die trying to do this the right way than compromise. My major challenges are that I don’t have the millions of dollars in resources it takes to market on the scale of the mainstream. Often my own community buys the least product though they tend to love it. Thus, while I do get a lot of moral support, it doesn’t always translate into tangible support that allows me to move forward. I’m not bitter at all about this as I believe in my heart this will turn around, and I realize that much of this has to do with our inability to recover from the effects of psychological slavery. Thus, my job is that as long as Allah allows me the ability to do this, I’m willing to grind it out because the cause is bigger than me.
EM: Is there anything you would like to add; upcoming concerts, videos, speaking engagements, etc?
KI: My new video “thank you haters” was just released and you can find it here.
I will also be taking a trip to South Africa at the end of September to produce music for Zain Bhikha.
Otherwise you can catch me at khalilismail.com for all my latest updates.