NEW YORK – As a member of the famous Tupac’s Outlawz in the 1990s, former rapper Napoleon has revealed how Islam changed his life to the better since converting to the religion in 2005.
“Islam allowed me to discipline myself,” he told Today FM ahead of a documentary on his life being screened in Dublin.
“It stopped me from drinking and partying and I became a family man. It made me want to raise my kids differently from the way I was raised,” he added.
This was not the usual life Napoleon, his real name is Mutah Beale, led for years.
Born in New York, Beale was one of the original members of Tupac’s Outlawz group, which he joined aged 14.
He describes Tupac as “a genius and a very hard worker. I didn’t see many other artists with the same work ethic.”
The young man had a difficult start in life as his parents were murdered when he was just three.
He grew up to witness a lot of violent crime on the streets.
“It was a violent city. I had many friends where one parent was dead and the other was in jail,” he said.
“I knew from an early age that this wasn’t what I wanted for myself. I knew I had to make a change, and that’s when I turned to writing music. I figured that would be my escape.”
He eventually gave up music in 2005.
“I was in the music industry since I was 13 or 14 years old. I lost a lot of friends so it wasn’t the same for me,” Beale said
“We have a lot of people in the rap industry who are involved in criminal activity and drug use, on a level that I’d never seen on the streets. It was worse than the environment I was trying to escape from,” he added.
At a difficult time for Muslims in America, Beale believed President Donald Trump has changed life for American Muslims.
“I’m shocked to see the separation between people who want to take America back and the people who want to take it forward,” he said.
Yet, he added that the reaction he gets from Americans is usually positive.
“A lot of people don’t realize that Islam has always been there. One thing I will say is that most Americans are good people – they don’t care what religion you are. If you’re good to them, they’re good to you,” he added.