Forged at the intersection of Islam and hip hop, Muslim Cool is a way of being Muslim that draws on Blackness to challenge white supremacy and the anti-Blackness found in Arab and South Asian U.S. Muslim communities. Muslim Cool is constructed through hip hop and the performance of Blackness illustrating that the ways young Muslims draw on Blackness is built on interconnections and intersections, rather than divisions between “Black” and “Muslim.” Thus, Muslim Cool poses a critical challenge to dominant ideas that Muslims are "foreign."
Muslim Cool’s challenge to anti-Blackness manifests itself in ideas, dress, social activism in the ’hood, and in complex relationships to state power. This makes the connections made to Blackness by young Muslims critical and contested interventions. They are critical interventions because they push back against the pervasive phenomenon of anti-Blackness. Yet they are also contested because tensions of race, class, gender, and nationality complicate and trouble Muslim Cool’s relationship to Black identities and cultures. Thus one of the critical insights of Muslim Cool is that at the meeting of Islam and hip hop, intersecting notions of Muslimness and Blackness challenge and reproduce the meanings of race in the United States.
In the book I follow what I call “the Loop of Muslim Cool.” I take the “loop” from the hip hop sampling technique in which a selected piece of music is looped to play over and over as part of the creation of a new music. For me, the loop is a metaphor for the links between Islam, hip hop, and Blackness in the twenty-first century that create Muslim Cool: Islam, as practiced in US Black communities, shaped hip hop, which in turn shapes young twenty-first-century Black and non-Black US Muslims who return to Black Islam as a way of thinking and a way of being Muslim—as Muslim Cool.