Kareem Rasheed Muhammad was born on March 31, 1975. After receiving his Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University, and a Bachelors in Technical Writing at Chicago State, he pursued his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in Sociology. Dr. Muhammad has used hip-hop culture to reach the bourgeois and rock the boulevard, exemplified through his dissertation entitled, “CREAM: The High Cost of Sustaining Hip-Hop Community in Chicago.” “CREAM” used hip-hop culture to explore the ways that neoliberal capitalism has helped to facilitate the decreasing space in which individuals can gather, the ways that it makes progressive outlets more costly and the manner in which it forces people away from collective modes of behavior. In CREAM, Dr. Muhammad positioned hip-hop as a culture that was based on collective principles but argue that these values are difficult to sustain in the face of neoliberal capitalism which forces hip-hop headz into a dog-eat-dog mindset that is not consistent with the culture’s value system.
He has also presented his controversial article “Pearly Whites: Minstrelsy’s Connection to Contemporary Rap Music” at several universities throughout the country. In this article Kareem ponders what quantitative and qualitative evidence exists to make the connections that Little Brother suggests with their classic album, The Minstrel Show. The question at the center of this research was: What are the ways that contemporary rap music mirrors historical patterns of minstrel performance in America? Dr. Muhammad’s examination found that modern rap music not only shared many historical parallels with minstrel performance, but perhaps should be de-categorized as separate from hip-hop music altogether as this music promotes values that are vastly at odds with those laid out by hip-hop’s pioneers.
Kareem has taught a wide range of collegiate courses including social stratification, impacts of globalization, crisis intervention and deviant behavior, as well as the first sociology of hip-hop course at the University of Illinois. Presently he teaches a variety of criminology, sociology and political science courses at East-West University in Chicago’s South Loop.
Kareem’s primary status is his 13-year position as CEO of Illanoyze, Inc, a hip-hop media, promotion and fashion company based in Chicago. He and his two partners began the company in 1998 to provide an array of services to the disenfranchised in the form of clothing, shelter, entertainment and information. One of the company’s most recent endeavors came in 2006 when Illanoyze began a talk show hosted by Dr. Muhammad called “Noyzemakers: The Talk Show of Hip-Hop, Politics and Entertainment.” Falling back on his journalism background, Kareem has pressed some of the city’s biggest movers and shakers including Chicago Reporter editor & publisher Alysia Tate, Sen. John Cullerton, Alderman and Cook County Board President nominee Toni Preckwinkle, Ald. Sandi Jackson, Virgin recording artist Mikkey and Fred Hampton, Jr. Kareem has made it a point to use the show as a medium to discuss subjects that are not given as much traction in mainstream media including immigration, black relationships, the stigma of homosexuality in the black community, legalization of marijuana, and alternative views on 9/11.
In his ongoing effort to be the nympho of info (fucking what you heard) Kareem’s latest venture came in the publishing of his debut novel, Quiet Riots. Contemporary America’s news headlines are chopped full of explosions of violence that seem to emerge from out of nowhere. From Steven Kazmierczak at Northern Illinois; Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech; Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood; to Andrew Joseph Stack III’s terrorist attack on the IRS Building in Austin, more and more seemingly well-adjusted Americans appear to be releasing misplaced, pent up rage upon an unsuspecting public. However, in Quiet Riots, Dr. Muhammad uses his first novel to paint a vivid picture of how these events are not nearly as isolated or random as they appear.