7 Moor Questions-Cyrus El
1. Where do you hail from Moor?
Praise Allah, Honors to the Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali, and everything pertaining to Islam. I’m hailing from Brooklyn New York in the area of Fort Greene and Clinton Hills along Myrtle Avenue. This area (between Ft. Greene and Marcy projects) is where Rakim Allah and Jay-Z are native to. There’s a lot of history in my neighborhood spelled out in a documentary titled “Brooklyn Boheme” about my hood where personalities like Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Rosie Perez, Biggie Smalls, and Wesley Snipes all originate. I moved there in 1991 to attend Pratt Institute and never moved out. I’m a fixture in this area. I have roots all throughout the neighborhood from decades old relationships, many of whom I work with in music etc. Thus I have many close relations with Biggie and 2Pac Shakur’s personal network. Our community was further galvanized in the process of severe gentrification which started after Sept 11 2001 and took its toll on our per capita makeup.
2. You’re a very prolific MC…how long have you been making music? –
I’ve been scheming on the game for a long time. I’m a very systematic emcee. I play everything like it’s chess, and have schemed on the game since the time it turned negative (which we found out was by design) in the early nineties. I sensed that rap music was taking a negative dive from 1992 and so I held back from getting professionally involved because it seemed like suicide going against the grain at that time, and I refused to rhyme in a prefabricated negative way. I spent that time freestyling instead and recording on wax in misc basements and home studios. I used the time to learn how to freestyle. There are countless cassette tapes floating of me and guys like Half Man Half Amazin’ going at it in basements all over Brooklyn. Around 2003 I started to get together every Saturday at my house (on Claremont Ave – where the Cosby Show was shot) with a group from my neighborhood that would later make up a band called The Committee or CMG for short (The Committee Music Group). CMG precedes the Moors on the Move by about five years. We’ve made over 10 albums and mixtapes together and still record under that banner to this day. CMG was a worldly street demo in which I was the only Moor in the cipher. Actually I was the only overtly conscious emcee of the group. Sharif Aniel-Bey did a feature with CMG in ’06 on a record entitled “Red Pill”. Two of the CMG team members are former Decepticons (Blitzkreig and Ali Shine) and Half Man was a Harlem Rutgers park legend. I used this venue to float seeds of truth to listeners whom otherwise would never have entertained anything dealing with Nationality, positivity or Islam.
3. How has being a member of the MSTA affected your art? –
I decided to record my mental development in records since approximately a year prior to my first Temple visit. I wanted to artistically document my personal development as a Moor on the path. I have an album prior to knowing who Prophet Noble Drew Ali was (Return of the Jedi 2003), and I recorded one during my first few years in the Temple (Insomnia 2007). My brother Mark Jenkins (Malik Juuma-Bey) and his wife (Who was the Cadi of my study group SG9 NYC) listened to Insomnia and said they would like to hear something that was “specifically Moorish”, and that planted the seed that would eventually become a third solo album titled “Mental Revolution” (2009) and pave the way for the group, the Moors On the Move (M.O.M). I met Brother T. Hopkins-Bey in 2010 and listened to the format that he and D. Lewis-El used for their Conquer the Physical (C.T.P.) album, and this also had a profound effect on me. I met my partner R. Hagans-Bey (Glorious Quan – of Brooklyn’s Temple No. 21) who was on the same path with his work and we started to record together that same year. Quan (GQ –and Member of the Zulu Nation) was the one who came up with the name Moors On the Move.
4. What prompted Moors On The Move?
When I joined Temple No. 34 in April of 2010 the Chairman of the Temple (and Also the GG of New York) Bro. C. Ferguson-El found out that I was a recording artist and put me in touch with Brother Hopkins-Bey, Lewis-El and Hagans-Bey. So I give credit to him for bringing M.O.M together. Those that know him know that’s the type of person he is.
5. Who are the members and are they all proclaimed Moors?
All of the Members of M.O.M are proclaimed and active Temple members although we are not all from the same Grand Body. The original members include myself and Bro R. Hagans-Bey, Bro. T. Hopkins-Bey, Bro. Lewis-El, D. King-El (Stafaaa) and a brother we know as Saladeen (Law Deen). Sharif Anael-Bey introduced us together in 2012 while you were still living in ATL which initiated your collaboration with us in 2013 (Bro. Lasana Tunica-El) aka LuT. Newer members include Bro. J. Santana-Bey (Murk-El) of Temple 34 and Shaheen Alazar-El (Seth Decibal) also from Temple 34, Brother J. Fuquay-Bey (Temple No. 9 Chicago), and Bro. K. Amir-El (Temple 34).
6. Are there any other projects that you are involved in?
Currently I’m working on the street side of the label to launch Ali Shine’s (member of the Committee) 2nd Album in late summer 2014. We’re also prepping to release solo albums for CMG members Scorp Dolomite and Blitz but drop dates have not been decided. The plan is to create a buzz by coming into the industry’s front door via these artist whom I have seasoned and prepped to develop into conscious artists and set the stage for the official release of the Moors on the Move. In this case, timing is everything.
I’m also an artist and industrial designer. I’ve been in the sneaker industry for a long time. I run a sneaker company (VSG International LLC) and own a luxury sneaker brand called Kustome Collabo. The Hosts of the Know Thyself Radio (Moorish American Radio) did an interview with me about this sneaker business last week. We talked for a while about how the business works and how I got involved in it. The Link for that May 19th show is at the bottom of this article. Presently (and ending July 5th) my brand Kustome Collabo is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for it’s initial launch. We’re asking Moorish Americans from all around the country to contribute to this epic launch.
You can find our kickstarter campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kustomecollabo/kustome-collabo-luxury-sneakers
7. What is your vision of the potential of the Moorish Divine National Movement?
I see only great things in the future for the MDNM. I believe there’s infinite potential for the Moorish Nation at this specific time. I don’t think it will manifest without hard work and sincere focus and so I’ve also dedicated my life, my talents and effort to helping make it happen. I’ve been saying lately that the MSTA MDNM is like a spaceship that Allah and the Prophet built for us. But we need to learn how to power it on and operate it. Currently we are barely utilizing 1% of its potential. So in essence it’s like we’re using this ‘Divine vehicle’ (capable of traveling throughout the universe), as a simple shelter (a cave). It’s parked and not even powered on. This is definitely not a knock on any of our beloved elders. We need to awaken more of our brothers and Sisters at this time. We need to get our membership numbers up. This is why the MOORS on the MOVE are making music, to get the Prophets program out there.
CMG vol. 1: http://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-detail.php?id=258276
Mental Revolution: http://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-detail.php?id=287745
CMG vol. 2: http://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-detail.php?id=260630
Moors On The Move Mixtape vol. 1: http://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-detail.php?id=551795
CMG vol. 7: http://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-detail.php?id=262510
Know Thyself Radio: