Yet, beyond a shared expressive element hip-hop provides an active vehicle for social protest as part of the "transglobal Islamic underground." Drawing on a history of giving voice to the faith in elegaic prose and poetry, Muslim hip-hop artists now engage in lyrical activism by studying Islam, applying it to their lives, and sharing & spreading their views to build an Islamic "class" consciousness focused on explicitly Islamic notions of piety, justice, and peace. Muneera and Sukina form an active part of this "transglobal Islamic underground" as they seek to combine faith and feminism. Indeed, they attempt to demarcate the boundaries between putting on a show for pleasure and a showcase for pondering the faith. Bemoaning the performance act of the game Muneera exclaimed, "it's not supposed to be entertainment, it's supposed to make you think." For the "hip-hop hijabis" rap music becomes not only a vehicle for their expression of Islam, but also a way to confront, and tackle, the issues pertinent to them as Muslim women: modesty and stagecraft, sexuality and solemnity.
Part of this protestation is by proclaiming their racial and/or ethnic identity alongside their religious character. Whether it be Poetic Pilgrimage expressing their Africanity through Muslim infused tunes or Hamza and Suliman Perez from "New Muslim Cool" embodying their Puerto Rican identity, Islamic faith, and street smarts in fresh-pressed lyrics for youth in Pittsburgh, rap becomes a way for worlds to merge for many Muslim musicians. Attempting to forge an identity as "quadruple minorities" Latino Muslims like Hamza and Suliman Perez use hip-hop as a conduit for the imaginative work of identity construction, crafting a hybrid identity that is local to their city-streets yet connected to the global umma, one that is both Latina/o and Muslim, one that is both soulful in its beats and spiritually infused in its lyrics.
James Samuel Logan wrote for Sightings from the University of Chicago's Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion of how rap is central to the African-American's struggle following #Ferguson and other "terrorizing deaths" of blacks in U.S. city-streets and bayou backwaters. He wrote, "Hip Hop artists offer an important, costly and often unsanitized embrace of Black subaltern 'otherness,' an embrace which cyphers problematically-yet-hopefully toward justice and love in this particular place and circumstance of time." This force of hip-hop is most evident in the burgeoning Muslim rap scene that emerged out of NYC in the 1970s and 80s alongside the Nation of Islam and the Five Percent Nation's materializing influence.
Even so, on the borderland between hip-hop and culture, in the streets of struggle and subaltern dissent there can be tension and bloodshed. In attempting to forge a musical and spiritual fusion of faith and hip-hop heritage there can be conflict.
As Mette Reitzel, the "Hip-Hop Hijabis" filmmaker, reflected, the merging of rap music and Muslim sensibilities is not utopian. She said: