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Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Everlastingly and Extremely Loving and Caring

Native Deen is one of the oldest and most popular American Muslim hip hop groups. It is my absolute favorite, and I have grown up listening to their songs. In fact, way back in the 1980s group member Joshua Salaam and I went to the same religious summer school, and I remember listening to him drop hip hop rhymes with effortless mastery way back then. Their songs are at once educational, inspirational, and consoling, all the while treating listeners with amazing hip hop beats and lyrics. If you haven’t heard of them, do yourself a favor and check them out.

Yet, it is natural to wonder: what are their musical talents individually? What would they do if they broke up? Thank God, they are not breaking up. But, each has embarked on his own solo project, and the first one to release an album was Naeem Muhammad: “I Love When You Use Your Words.”

As soon I as I started listening to it, I got a glimpse into Naeem’s musical mind, and the word “jazz” kept coming up again and again. The album is very much jazz infused. Yet, he has many musical influences, as Naeem himself says:

My mom’s eclectic record collection and music taste of folk, jazz, soul, rock, and pop seemed to have forged my of own musical affinities. I can remember growing up with LPs of America, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Neil Young, and many other folk luminaries. So for me, creating an album of inspired folk rock songs, was like coming home.

And, staying true to the “Native Deen” style, each song has a particularly beautiful message. My absolute favorite song is “We Shall Overcome.” Not only does it have an uplifting message, that nothing is impossible without God, but it has a very awesome musical background. He even includes a freshly remade oldie, “Rain Song,” which tells the inspiring tale of the coming of rain after a prayer is made to God.

I have met Naeem Muhammad, and he is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. That sweetness is most definitely seen in his music, and “I Love When You Use Your Words” is a musical treat that should not be missed.

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