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Keeping It HalalThe Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys$
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John O'Brien

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691197111

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691197111.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

“Cool Piety”

“Cool Piety”

How to Listen to Hip Hop as a Good Muslim

(p.22) 2 “Cool Piety”
Keeping It Halal

John O'Brien

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how participation in hip hop culture could lead to recognition from non-Muslim peers. “Hip hopper” was for the Legendz a widely recognized and desirable identity that could momentarily precede and eclipse that of “religious Muslim” in an interaction with non-Muslim peers. In making meaningful social connections with other urban youth based on a shared engagement with hip hop culture, the Legendz were following a pattern observed by sociologists among other second-generation immigrants whose participation in hip hop music and style allowed them to gain acceptance and make social inroads among young people from outside their immediate ethnic community. In addition to employing hip hop as a way to gain acceptance and make connections with a broader urban American community of non-Muslims, the Legendz also actively adapted the genre's music and culture in creative ways to develop their own in-group Muslim American identity and style. The resulting identity performance—referred to as cool piety—tapped into broader African American urban cool while still exhibiting a close association with local standards of Islamic behavior to produce a nuanced and multifaceted presentation of Muslim American self.

Keywords:   hip hop culture, social connections, urban youth, second-generation immigrants, ethnic community, non-Muslims, Muslim American identity, Islamic behavior

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