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A RAPPER'S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

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  • World View <ummyakoub@yahoo.com>
    A RAPPER S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY William Lobdell, Los Angeles Times, 2/8/03 http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mecca8feb08,1,5483113.story Record producer
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 27, 2003
      A RAPPER'S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
      William Lobdell, Los Angeles Times, 2/8/03
      http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mecca8feb08,1,5483113.story

      Record producer Mikal Kamil recalls the first time he saw gangsta
      rapper Napoleon. Standing in a North Hollywood recording studio, the
      protege of the late Tupac Shakur held a Colt 45 malt liquor in one
      hand, a marijuana joint in the other, and was surrounded by about 15
      members of his rowdy posse.

      During the introduction, Kamil was surprised to discover that
      Napoleon's given name, Mutah Wasin Shabazz Beale, was of Islamic
      origin.

      "You a Muslim?" Kamil asked. The religion forbids drinking and
      smoking. "Yeah," said Beale, encircled in a thick haze of marijuana
      smoke.

      Two years later, Beale is one of the more unlikely Muslims making
      the annual hajj, or pilgrimage, this month to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
      An estimated 2 million Muslims, including hundreds from Southern
      California, are expected to participate in the five-day observance
      that begins today in the birthplace of Muhammad, the preeminent
      prophet of Islam…

      "He was a beast, a barbarian," Kamil said. "But he also impressed me
      as a leader who could get people to move in any direction -- he had
      15 or 20 people doing exactly what he said at all times. If he
      became a true Muslim, he could easily bring in thousands and
      millions more to the faith…"

      Kamil went to work on Beale's faith. He reminded Beale of his Muslim
      roots, gave him advice based on Islamic teachings, and fed him bits
      of scripture and prayers. Kamil said he was careful not to push.
      Instead, he tried to be an example of the serenity that Beale could
      have if he embraced Islam.

      "I knew it was just a matter of time," Kamil said.

      On the rapper's first trip to a mosque, about 20 friends tagged
      along.

      "I think about 10 of them became Muslims that day," Kamil
      said. "That's the kind of leader Beale is."

      Ramadan 2001 was a turning point. Beale decided to observe the
      monthlong Islamic holiday, which includes abstention from alcohol.

      "That broke me," said Beale, who started learning prayers, reading
      Islamic books and attending mosque prayer services regularly. "I was
      still doing some wild stuff, but I was getting closer and closer to
      God. You feel when God wants you to do something."

      Beale said he felt "the empty hole in my heart" filling up with God,
      and soon his anger became manageable. He says he hasn't had a drink
      since.

      His friends noticed the change immediately…

      *********************************************************************

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