About Sufi Rapper
French rap star recounts his journey from the ghettos of Strasbourg through radical Islam to the Sufi message of universal love
• Explains how the luminous message of love in Sufism now animates Malik’s music
• Offers an intimate look at life in the ghettos and madrassas of the poorest neighborhoods in Europe
As a poor black resident in one of the notorious French banlieues (the ghettos surrounding French cities), Abd al Malik had every chance of meeting the same fate as many of his peers: drug addiction, prison, and/or an early grave. Despite his early involvement in the endemic crime that was routine in his neighborhood, his keen intelligence won him admission to some of the most prestigious schools in Strasbourg. His dual life as honor student/pickpocket ended when he converted to Islam, where again his intellect and sensitivity prevented him from entering the hate-filled spiral promoted by the fundamentalists. His distaste for the hatred they preached in the madrassas and his love of music led him to Moroccan Sufi master Sidi Hamza al-Qadiri al-Butchichi, whose message of universal love and joy now animates the rap songs of this prize-winning composer and performer.
As the singer says in his Ode to Love:
“Love the other whatever the cost and direct the struggle against yourself
The treasure of the just is buried within my chest
If there is enough for one, let’s share it, there is enough for all.”
About the Author(s) of Sufi Rapper
Born Régis Fayette-Mikano in 1975, Abd al Malik formed the rap group New African Poets in the early 1990s. Following his successful career with them, he released two solo recordings, the most recent of which, Gibraltar, has garnered a number of awards, including the Prix Constantin. He is the recipient of the prestigious Victoire de la Musique award for the best male artist of the year and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres award. He also appears on Moby’s 2008 album, Last Night. Abd al Malik lives in France with his wife, the R&B singer Wallen, and their son.
Praise for Sufi Rapper
"This book is a little gem, full of colorful characters and uplifting incidents that have the charm of fairy stories, as well as the profundity and resonances of life tales. Most important, it is a spiritual journal of a young man, seeking the infinite to find peace. Recommended for all readers."
Glenn Masuchika, Library Journal, April 1, 2009
“In our Western world where ‘street culture’ has become a religion unto itself, Abd al Malik’s journey from ghetto gangster seduced by fundamentalist Islam to happily married Sufi poet resonates like a vibrant call, shattering our clichés and prejudices. Social divides are but a hallucination. Everything can be reconciled and reconnected. This Sufi rapper may not be a wise man or a saint--just a punk whose soul cracked open, like most of the great masters--but his voice is a wake-up call reminding us that the path starts anywhere and always ends up in the same place: in Love.”
Marianne Costa, coauthor with Alejandro Jodorowsky of The Way of Tarot
"The life of Abd Al Malik has parallels to that of one of his heroes, Malcolm X. . . . Like Malcolm X, a youthful criminal who despised authority (especially white authority) and whose views were radically and permanently altered when he encountered real Islam and Islamic people in Africa, Malik was transformed by Sufism. . . . compelling autobiography . . . "
Curled Up with a Good Book, July 2009
". . . in this very readable translation by Jon E. Graham, is a brief but appealing account of the author's spiritual quest. . . . The book concludes with a 33-page Appendix of "Lyric Extracts" in French and English from the author's Sufi inspired album Le Face a Face des Coeurs (Hearts Face to Face)."
Richard D. Wright, New Age Retailer, March 2010