Deen Squad finds viral video fame with Muslim rap remixes
Ottawa duo's catchy videos are racking up views online
They're salam cap-wearing, Arabic-speaking, bearded, t-shirt-sporting rappers — and you likely haven't heard a riff like theirs.
Karter Zaher and Jae Deen are the Deen Squad, religious rap duo putting the "halal" (or the holy) into hip hop. The 20-something Muslim maestros from Ottawa have catapulted to social media fame with their remixes of popular rap tracks. Their catchy videos have racked up millions of hits and counting.
Deeply devout, the two set out to create a virtuous voice for their generation by tapping into what their rap-loving peers already listen to and remixing the lyrics to reflect their faith.
Fetty Wap's chart-topping Trap Queen became Muslim Queen, a rap about finding a romantic and religious partner.
OMI's hit Cheerleader turned into a quest for a fellow female Believer to pray with.
The mix of clean and cool has earned them tens of thousands of followers around the world and accolades from traditional religious leaders and non-Muslims alike.
"We do our music to show the world who we are," Jae Deen tells CBC News. "I am proud to be a Canadian. I'm proud to be a Canadian Muslim ... My music is showing that 'Hey, I'm like you, but I go to a mosque and pray.'"
A viral novelty? Maybe, but these two plan to ride their Muslim moment. They intend to create their own music and hope the faith that propelled them to this point will keep delivering.