Ottawa-based Muslim hip-hop duo "Deen Squad" launched a crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday, seeking $33,000 to continue their mission to "guide the Muslim youth."
Lebanese-Canadian Karter Zaher and Ghanian-Canadian Jae Deen shot to social media fame this year as several of their online music videos went viral. "Muslim Queen" was posted to Facebook on June 7 and has already received more than 4 million views. Posted on April 23, "Friday (Halal Remix)" has already been viewed more than 5.5 million times.
According to the artists' crowdfunding video, they have been overwhelmed by the positive messages they have received from fans as a result of their "halal" musical style.
Of course, not everyone is supportive.
The duo goes on to say that they don't seek fame or fortune and only desire to make a positive impact in the world.
"Young Muslims in our era are in need of role models who can connect them to their deen. We represent the Deen Squad and we truly believe that we can make it happen," the duo have written on their crowdfunding page.
Continuing, the page says, "Now imagine a world where all of the youth are going to the masjid, fulfilling all their responsibilities as Muslims and volunteering their time to help give back to the Ummah. We believe in this dream and by Allah, we strive to make all of that happen InshAllah."
"Alone we can only do so much, but together, as a community, we can accomplish anything!"
In the video, both Zaher and Deen talk at length about the violence and sex often portrayed in mainstream media and music. They see their music as an alternative combating these societal influences. Zaher talks about how awful he feels seeing young children listening to explicit lyrics, emphasizing that he wants to change this.
Deen, who was raised Christian, also talks at length about his conversion to Islam at the age of 15, pointing to his own personal experience as a reason for the duo's mission. He explains in the video that his friends and family were initially confused by his conversion, but since have become supportive.
So can these salam-cap-wearing and bearded-king-t-shirt-sporting Canadian rappers propel their Engish-with-the-occasional-Arabic-word-thrown-in music to greater mainstream success?
According to their crowdfunding page, Deen Squad appears optimistic.
"By the grace of Allah, we are now the fastest rising young Muslim talents in the world! Please help us push forward as we plan to have projects that can truly change the world."
Watch Deen Squad's crowdfunding video below.