Mesa hip-hop artist Tokes, real name Mohamad Tokko, was frustrated with Donald Trump's blustering about how all Muslims are potential terrorists who should be barred from entering the United States — so he wrote a song for the GOP presidential candidate.
“Tryna slander, defame us,” he raps in his latest video. “Terrorism ain’t in us / Feelin' like we can’t win cuz / Propaganda we witness.”
This week, Trump released his first campaign TV ad, featuring Islamic State militants, shadowy figures racing across the U.S.-Mexico border, and a deep-voiced narrator ominously promising that, if elected, the Republican front-runner will ban Muslims from entering the United States until he can figure out how to stop “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“He’ll quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil,” the narrator vows. Then the video cuts to Trump at one of his rallies pumping his fist and thundering: “We will make America great again!”
Tokko said he wanted to stand up as an example of what Muslims “are really like.” Tokko, son of two Lebanese immigrants, has a bachelor’s degree in animal physiology and behavior from Arizona State University and a juris doctor degree from Arizona Summit Law School. He is preparing to take the state Bar examination in February.
While in school, the 26-year-old recorded and released an album, Bowties and Tattoos, which focuses on the contrast between studying to be a lawyer and trying to make it as a hip-hop artist, and an EP, Hear My Reflection.
“Trumps paints us all as terrorists who are trying to take planes and shit,” he said. “We are actually regular people who make music and work as attorneys, etc, etc, etc.”
The song, titled “El Donald Trump Song,” is a remix of The Game’s popular “El Chapo,” which features booming bass lines and triumphant horns, with original lyrics. The music video was filmed by Mighty Giant in an abandoned airfield off I-10 in Chandler.
In the song, Tokko calls Trump a “liar” and a “fraud” who is “blaming my faith for white people problems.”
He also references some of his own experiences being racially profiled because of his name with a verse about being held up by airport security.
Take what you get, when you sit, in a plane
N they all, wanna stare, at your face with a shame
Like we did something wrong, n they hate what we say
We just tryna stay dry, in a World full of rain tho
Hate come heavy with a name like mine tho
Hate that I’m fly tho
Hate that we shine tho, stop all the lies tho, stop all the violence
Muslims are more likely than Americans of other major religious groups to experience racial or religious discrimination these days. Nearly 50 percent of Muslims in 2010 told Gallup they had experienced discrimination in the past year, compared to 31 percent of Mormons, 21 percent of Jews, 20 percent of Catholics, and 18 percent of Protestants.
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While, overall, the number of hate crimes in the United States dropped 8 percent in 2014, the FBI reported, hate crimes targeting Muslims rose 14 percent. According to a New York Times investigation conducted with the help of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, following a series of deadly terror attacks in Paris in November, such incidents tripled from an average of 12.6 per month to 38.
The uptick in anti-Muslim rhetoric, led by Trump, makes Tokko angry, he said. So he appointed himself an ambassador for the misunderstood religion, which he says brings “peace and love” to his life.
“How are you going to blame a whole religion for what a few people do?” he said. “That’s like blaming all of Christianity for the KKK. There are good people and bad people in every religion.”