This paper would not have been possible without the support of the followingpeople. First of all, I thank my Thesis Research Committee, chaired by Dr. Ruth M.Stoneand including Dr. Mellonee V. Burnim and Dr. Daniel Reed. They wereinstrumental in helping me crystallize and polish my research topic, and in dispensingadvice. I am grateful to the former Graduate Secretary, Susan Harris, and the currentone, Chris Roush, for helping me with the required paperwork.I am indebted to the musicians who inspired this study, and who agreed to let meinterview and survey them. They include Shaykh Ahmed Tijani, Naeem Muhammad,Joshua Salaam, Abdul-Malik Ahmad, Zuriani Zonneveld, Dawoud Kringle, HaeroDizaye, Kevin Germain, M. Ali Qazi, Muaath Al-Khattab, Taj Amir, Saja P., SisterEloquence, and Kumasi Toure. I am especially grateful to American Muslim scholar Dr.Umar Faruq Abd-Allah for giving me his time and sharing with me his valuable insightson this topic.I thank my parents, Carol Reed and David Goshert, for their unconditional loveand encouragement.Finally, I thank God for sustaining me through this project and forplacing the aforementioned people in my life.