—The New York Times
"Impressive . . . With the confidence of a charismatic professor, Aidi's discussion wanders through Detroit, Brazil, and 'Jim Crow' Arabia."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A multilayered and intriguing story of the mobilization of Muslim youth through music rather than militancy . . . Moving from jazz to the late Algerian pop star Salim Halali, Aidi's wide-ranging, dense work persuades by its passionate accretion of detail."
"Simply a brilliant, utterly unique, effortlessly transnational and wonderfully written account of hip hop and new Muslim youth culture."
—Marc Lynch, The Washington Post
"Rebel Music offers an extraordinarily rich and variegated [musical] map . . . From Paris to Rio, from Philadelphia and Brooklyn to Morocco and southern Spain, Aidi is the peripatetic chronicler of the intricate intersecting musical and political worlds whose shared issues have never before been so cogently crystallized."
—American Literary History
"Rebel Music has no antecedent or peer in musical historiography . . . [Aidi] acts as historian, musicologist, journalist and theologian, no easy juggling act . . . It is a virtuoso performance of historical knowledge and cultural observations, as Aidi jams on personalities and communities."
—Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"Mohammed meets Malcolm; Gnawa meets Guantanamo; Bandung meets B-boys; banlieues meet Bahia: this is the vibrant, noisy, embattled world Hisham Aidi brings to light . . . In what can genuinely be described as a tour de force for its global scope, historical sweep, cultural virtuosity, and political sophistication, Rebel Music examines this soundtrack in a global context, from slavery to the latest war on terror."
—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
"Rebel Music may be the most bafflingly significant book I've read in years. It is a marvel of Zelig-like appreciation of the global youth culture, of its syncretistic Afro-Muslim energies, and of its fabulously variegated purveyors from creators to calculating commercial and political sponsors. Hisham Aidi is a brilliant expositor of this powerful planetary cultural phenomenon."
—David Levering Lewis, author of God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215
“Highly original and ambitious . . . Rebel Music exhibits a breathtaking familiarity with different forms of radicalizing music . . . Aidi delves far beneath the surface of stereotypes . . . [and lays out] an array of fascinating conflicts, taking on a subject that has rarely been addressed in book form.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Hip-hop is the lingua franca of worldwide youth culture. It all started in the Bronx, and for thousands of young Muslims around the world today, the New York borough remains sacred ground. In this bracing, fascinating, and utterly timely exploration of music, race, and cultural identity, Aidi examines young European and American Muslims and their search for what he calls “a nonracist utopia.” Specifically, Aidi is concerned with how the so-called American dream exists in Europe’s Muslim ghettos, how young European and American Muslims are drawing on African American history (especially the U.S. civil rights movement) for inspiration, and how American diplomacy is using race and diversity to court Muslims around the world. Aidi touches on many issues in this ambitious and far-reaching book, including the rise of the Far Right; the spread of the war on terror; the mind-boggling cultural fusion going on today (Arabic country music in Alabama, punk rockers in Pakistan); and the power of music to effect social change. Sufi rock, Islam and jazz, Gnawa music, Andalusi music—it’s all covered here. This book will be especially appealing to young people who want to better understand the Muslim perspective on war, prejudice, and national identity.
—June Sawyers, Booklist *Starred Review*