the flashiest of the independent English-language jihadi rap videos, "Dirty
Kuffar" (shown above) was released by a British extremist site in 2004. The rap -- which
Wikipedia notes samples Lumidee's 2003 single "Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh
Oooh)" -- has "a reggae/rap hybrid style in the mold of popular artist Sean
Paul," according to a review by counterterrorism expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. The song singles out
Western leaders as non-believers to be targeted, with lyrics such as:
Ronald Reagan was a dirty kuffar.
Mr. Tony Blair is a dirty kuffar.
one Mr. Bush is a dirty kuffar....
them in the fire.
Hammami, who goes by the stage name Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, is, as his nom de
guerre suggests, an American -- a 28-year-old Alabaman who traveled to Somalia
to join al-Shabab in 2006. His breakout hit, "Blow by Blow," which dropped
online in 2009, featured the lyrics:
going to bring back the glorious past.
Room's Adam Rawnsley reviewed this gem when it came
out in 2010:
Ke$ha. Al Qaeda. History's greatest monsters all have something in common -
beyond their insatiable appetites for human blood. They've all used the
"autotune" voice-shaping software to make their otherwise sucky voices sound
all cool and computer-y....
even asks forgiveness for "its poor quality."
With lyrical gems like "Amir of the Ansaar/How beautiful you are!/Your
sword gleams in the sun/Like a shining star" the apology is much needed.
song was recorded on May 15 while Alshishani was, as he describes, "high on a
mountain top." It's unclear at press time
whether that description applied to his physical or mental altitude.
only a friend for accompaniment, Hammami's tracks sound thin, but his delivery
doesn't help. Despite being an internationally wanted terrorist, Hammami spits
rhymes with all the confidence of a karaoke night first-timer. On "Make Jihad
with Me," Hammami gets a little carried away with the voice manipulation on
America now, martyrdom or victory.
taking Nairobi to Addis,
on, Muslim brother, bring your money or your life.
5. "Gun Fire Sound" - M-Team (not available for listening online, but it's on
the sanitized name of the rapping duo formerly known as Mujahideen Team, isn't generally
out to make war on the West, and their song "The Conquest of Self" (featuring
Amir Sulaiman) is all about setting violent jihad aside ("It's the conquest of
self/put the guns up on the shelf/that's bad for your health and your wealth/live,
conquer the inner/God bless the child/God save the sinner"). But "Gun Fire
Sound," off their first album, "Clash of Civilizations" (yes, they read their
Samuel Huntington), imagines fighting the non-believers:
need a strong iman,
pull the trigger calm,
land of Babylon.
hear me one time,
on the front line.
kaffirs want mine,
kaffirs hunt mine.
don't want no war,
we want is peace.
sounds fire round
we never cease.
bad song among bad songs, "First Stop Addis" contains such dated lyrics as:
Mogadishu, first stop Addis,
knock America down to her knees.
call Zenawi, Bush, and Condoleez,
Army, Navy, and the police.
"Day of Retribution" - M-Team (feat. Amir Sulaiman)
from their "Clash of Civilizations" album, the track "Day of Retribution"
fantasizes about a violent uprising against oppressors.
Today is the day of retribution!
is the day of jihad!
is the day of victory or martyrdom,
all you who believe, raise your hand and ready your weapons...
Bust your weapons, take off oppression,
their lives and right-hand possessions,
a politician out the election,
him injections, lethal infections...
revolution, kaffir execution,
true solution, the day of retribution!
group singled out by Gartenstein-Ross in his review of "Dirty Kuffar," the Sons
of Hagar are a Washington state-based duo who specialize in anti-government
conspiracy theories, anti-Israel tracts, and violent fantasies like this one:
who paid the price?
got a Muslim trippin' and torn into the justice system,
lack of precision and a horrible condition.
with my sword I slice and I bring justice back with appetite.
of time, Armageddon,
enemies with clenching fists and sliced necks,
with faceless expressions.
where's your weapons?
"rapping jihadist of the West" trope isn't unique to English-speaking rappers.
In Germany, Denis Mamadou Cuspert, who for a time was the rapper Deso Dogg,
gave up his career as a popular artist to try his hand at bad jihadi rap
under the name Abou Maleeq. His first attempt, an ode to "Sheikh Usama," didn't
do so well, and seems to have been heavily influenced by the less-is-less
stylings of Hammami.