After 6 long years away The Planets return with the former Flipmode Squad member Roc Marciano produced EP "PLANET ROC". Seven cuts of straight, raw Hip Hop, like how its supposed to be. Featuring Scorzayzee, gENSu dEAN, Ikwon and Roc himself.
Get the EP now from iTunes:
The Planets History...
The Planets birthed a style a million rappers are doing now meaning the Muslims that are involved in Hip Hop, and rhyming spirituality from a Islamic perspective. I do not literally mean a million rappers but I’m just emphasizing the point. Before Mecca 2 Medina and The Planets as far as the U.K and possibly the world is concerned, there were no orthodox Muslim Hip Hop crews in the mainstream scene. There were many Muslim rappers but many were afraid to express their beliefs for fear of non radio play and being blocked from the scene. Now I'm going to give the history of the groups. Mecca 2 Medinas original members are Rakin, Ishmael and myself later on followed by Ikwon (Dawud Saifullah) and Abdul Karim.
Rakin had the idea to start the group. In the early nineties he was part of another well known U.K group called Cash Crew. Rakin and Ishmael became friends and were both interested in Islam and Hip Hop. Myself and Ishmael were childhood friends and went to the same high school South Kilburn High, this is how all 3 of us linked up.
At the time I was a solo artist and Rakin was a struggling father living in a south London flat, myself and Ishmael also lived in council accommodation in North West London. We would meet up regularly at Rakin's incense stall in Shepherds Bush. I asked Rakin if he would feature and produce a track on my then solo project. The result of this was a track called "Gangster Role"which featured all 3 original Mecca 2 Medina members.
The chemistry was good so Rakin ran the idea of the crew by me and the crew was then born, we would also attend Shaykh Babikrs circle every Saturday in his house in Finchley together. I cant begin to detail how much opposition we faced from people Muslim and non Muslim. We would also travel up and down the country doing our thing at shows.
Our first show was in Manchester and no lie you can ask the brothers we must have rhymed for around 3 hours non stop for a little £250. This helped finance our first release “Life After Death” and to pay for studio time we all chipped in together. On one of these shows at the NEC Birmingham we met Ikwon who kicked a crazy freestyle to me.
He then became part of the crew. Abdul Karim was introduced to Rakin who was asked to take care of him by the Shaykh I believe as he was then new to Islam. He also had been previously involved in music so now there were 5 of us and we did many shows together as well as records and videos.
After that I decided to form my own crew with my brother Bilal Sonrize, that's how The Planets was born around 1998. Later on I was introduced to now member Ayman Raze through a mutual friend. We decided to jump straight into the mainstream Hip Hop scene and also went through a lot of trials and tribulations.
We released an album, many singles and an EP and also videos and received acceptance from the wider worldwide Hip Hop community. We also featured in many publications and never once backed down from discussing our beliefs in interviews and to the public. We put our hard earned pennies together to press records for little or no return because we believed in what we were doing.
I’m saying all this to say in this culture called Hip Hop, we have a unfortunate way of not giving props or respect to those who came before us. Like people calling Jay Z one of the greatest rappers, then not knowing about Jaz O, the brother who bought him into the game and the one he got his whole style from.
People talking about Nas but not knowing about Rakim. I could go and and on but what I’m saying is without us making the above sacrifices, I don’t believe there would be a avenue for Muslims to do Hip Hop and feel comfortable over here.
Mecca 2 Medina and The Planets helped pave the way for Muslims to be involved in Hip Hop in the U.K if not the world. Some of the more well known ones have even told us that they were inspired by what we do. Nowadays there are literally hundreds of Muslim rappers but a lot don’t know the contribution we all made and some are unfortunately doing it for the wrong reasons i.e. money and fame. Don’t get me wrong, we like money like the next man but we’re not going to sell our soul for a quick buck. I’m making the above statement about Hip Hop artists in general as well.
I am proud to see there are many brothers and sisters doing their thing. A lot of people don’t know who we are and most of the above comments have also been made by people that know us and understand our contributions to the game. Ask any real head, success and popularity does not = skills. If that wasn’t the case, Soulja Boy would be considered the best rapper alive. There a lot of unsung heroes who never get recognized for their craft.
I am still a humble student of Hip Hop and Islam and there are way too many people that came before us.
As far as the above mentioned statements I claim that because I was a part of that legacy. This is not me being egotistical its me stating the facts. So when we say we’re “Back In Business” that is what we are talking about, representing our spirituality and beliefs through this art we love called Hip Hop. So BELIEVE THE HYPE! We are foundation. In other words, how can we be “back in business” if we were never in business in the first place!
This is not a personal shot at anyone but a way of me clearing up any possible fitnah or misrepresentation. And Allah knows best, may He forgive me for my shortcomings as I am not perfect.
Peace and salaam,