Khaki Mustafa describes himself as the “voice of the unheard”, and says that his mission is to spread the story of all the disadvantaged people in the world. And you can tell he knows his stuff. We felt like we were getting a history lesson when getting his answers to our questions, I was very impressed. Get to know Khaki Mustafa, the Palestinian-American rapper and what he has coming in store for us!

What does your name “Khaki Mustafa” mean?
“Khaki” is a nickname that I have had since I was a teenager. A friend of mine called me Khaki in reference to my skin color and the fact that I wore Dickies a lot while growing up in the NorthWest (Portland, Oregon). When people first started calling me Khaki I HATED it. I remember wanting to fight people for calling me Khaki, but then it eventually stuck. Even my Mom started calling me Khaki. After a while I would even introduce my self as Khaki. It just kind of stuck.

When I first started pursuing a career in hip-hop I decided that I liked the name “Mustafa” and started calling myself “Khaki Mustafa”. In Arabic the name Mustafa refers to the Prophet Mohammed (SAWS) and means “The Chosen One”. Hence the name, Khaki Mustafa.

How does being both Palestinian and American influence your music?
My music is a direct reflection of my life. Almost every one of my songs is either inspired by realistic events or is a direct account of something that occurred in my life or something very important to me.

Naturally, being Palestinian-American influences my music in many ways. I do take a strong stand when it comes to Palestinian/Israeli issues and this stand is very prevalent in my music. I believe in the right of return for all Palestinian refugees and descendants of refugees, I believe in a one state solution where every person Israeli or Palestinian is treated equally and  with dignity, I believe that all mankind is special and that every life is sacred. With these beliefs weighing so heavily upon my conscious it is no wonder that some of the songs that I write can have strong social and political overtones. I pour my heart out in my lyrics. Just like everyone else I have a wide variety of emotions and therefore a wide range of lyrical content as well.

What are the social issues that really move you that are often reflected in your tracks?
All social issues really move me. We have got to realize that every human rights violation is connected. No one should feel free while others are still oppressed.

Palestinians live under Israeli occupation or in diaspora. Somalians are starving to death and stricken by famine. Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghanis are living in a constant warzone with US drones murdering civilians and tanks patrolling their streets. Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are living among the highest poverty rates in North America. Syria is murdering innocent Anti-government protesters. African refugees in Israel are targets of vicious racially charged attacks and protests. The Uighur population in China is oppressed and enduring mass incarceration and murder at the hands of the government. People in Gaza are living under a military siege which has created an open air prison out of one of the most densely populated places on earth and the list of atrocities goes on and on.

All of these issues and many more are reflected in my music because I care about these people and want to help bring awareness to these issues. My first album was titled “Voices of the Unheard”. I still feel that my voice can speak out for the millions of oppressed voices that go unheard every day, inshaallah.

How did you start rapping and perfect your talent?
I started rapping as a kid. I think I was about thirteen when I wrote my first rap song. I recorded my first mixtape at fifteen. It was called “Full Dedication“. I really developed as an artist and began making more meaningful music as I got older and more educated about social and political issues. I feel that I still get better with every project I release, every show that I perform and with every song I write. I still have so much room for growing. Its crazy how this passion of mine just never seems to reach a pinnacle! There is always room for improvement as a hip-hop artist and as a person.

What are your upcoming projects?
Lately I have been focused on promoting my sophomore album “The Dark Ages & Brighter Days“. This is a thematic album about various ups and downs that life has in store for each person. The overall message of this album is that no matter how dark life seems at the time, if you persevere through the struggle you WILL encounter a brighter day. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, Cd Baby, and pretty much anywhere you can buy music online.

I have also released a new single called “Military Movement” featuring New York’s hip-hop legend Tragedy Khadafi. The song is available for a free download at http://khakimustafa.bandcamp.com/.

Although I have been busy promoting my last two releases, I have also had my sights set on the future. I have started working on my next project, a full length album with great featured artists and a variety of new producers as well. I cant really go too in depth about this one, but I can promise you it is some of my best work as of yet. Meanwhile go pick up my last album on iTunes. :)

What is it like to live as a Palestinian in the States?
I have always been conscious of my Palestinian roots and ethnicity but as a mixed kid (My Mom is White/Native American, my Father is Palestinian) growing up in the liberal North West state of Oregon (in America) I never really felt different from the other children. It wasn’t until after 9/11 that I really started to see the difference between myself and the other kids my age. These differences were mostly highlighted by the fact that some ignorant people would start making “bomb” comments around me, calling me a terrorist and whatever. Racism is still very alive and it is an ugly thing.

These incidents are still very few and far in between and I really cant complain about these. The real victims were the many people that have lost their lives because of this “War on terror”, the 3000 people that died in the attacks on the twin towers as well as the estimated 1.7 MILLION dead in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. These numbers are staggering. Something has to change.

The best part about being Palestinian living in the United States is that I have an opportunity to use my voice and nationality to help the conditions of suffering people around the world.

The worst part about being a Palestinian living in the United States is knowing that the taxes I pay are funding the oppression of not only Palestinians but of many people in the world. I am actively boycotting a list of corporations that sponsor genocide, but as far as taxes go… You have to pay them or go to jail. Unfortunately this is the society that I live in.

There is a lot of hip hop coming from Palestinian rappers, both in Palestine and outside of it. What makes your music unique to the listener?
There is a lot of great hip-hop coming from Palestinians in and out of the homeland. I think it is an excellent movement and a great pro-social way for Palestinians to release their personal frustrations with their current situation. Hip-hop was created out of a thirst for social justice and equality here in the states and has spread internationally as millions of people in oppressed nations utilize hip-hop as a tool to demand change. I have been a fan of Palestinian hip-hop since 2003 when I first heard of DAM. I listened to Patriarch as well. These artists paved the way for the many Palestinian voices in hip-hop today, including myself. I have been impressed with a lot of the hip-hop coming from Palestine as of lately. Artists like Shadia Mansour, MC Gaza, Egta7 Underground, Mohammed AlFarra, P.R.,  DARG team and more are constantly reminding the world that Palestinian hip-hop exists and is not going away.

I believe that each hip-hop artist is unique. To me, great songs are the narrative of each person’s life and experiences, so to answer your question about what makes my music unique i will simply reiterate what I stated previously about my music being a reflection of my life’s experiences. Because of this, my music is extremely unique because there is only one Khaki Mustafa in over 6 billion people. I pour my heart out on every track. This is what makes my music unique.

Connect with Khaki Mustafa!

Facebook: facebook.com/khakimustafa

Twitter: twitter.com/khakimustafa

Bandcamp: khakimustafa.bandcamp.com

‘Like’ Mideast Dynasty on : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mideast-Dynasty/201861306513339

Tweet us @MidEastDynasty and tell us what you think!