Missing Malcolm X: Are Rappers Scared of Revolution?

Malcolm X photo courtesy of indeliblephotos.com

“How long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look ?” – “Redemption Song”, Bob Marley

On February 21, 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom in NYC, Malcolm X was gunned down just before he was about to put America on blast for dissin’ Black people. On that same date almost 50 years later, aspiring rapper, Murda U was shot in that same spot for dissin’ another rapper on a YouTube video. Although, there were several witnesses, because of the “no snitchin’ ” code of the streets, the shooter remains at large…

One of the best known icons in African American history is Malcolm X. Although he started off hustlin’ in the streets as “Detroit Red”, while in prison, he accepted the teachings of the Nation of Islam and devoted the rest of his life to the liberation of Black people.

What is most important about Malcolm X was not the man, himself, but his eternal symbol as the epitome of uncompromising, Black manhood. Part of his popularity was being the antithesis of the nonviolence of Dr. Martin Luther King, giving America the old school Hip-Hop duo Black Sheep’s option, “You can get with this/ Or you can get with that.”

Of course, Malcolm was not the first advocate of Black Power. During the 1830s, according to Vincent Harding in There Is a River, Martin Delany was already advocating Black Nationalism. Nor was Malcolm the only one during his time rejecting the idea of nonviolence. In his book, Negroes With Guns, Robert F. Williams said that as early as 1957, he was strappin’ Black people in Monroe, North Carolina, to protect themselves from the Ku Klux Klan. However, Malcolm X still holds a special spot in the Black psyche.

The spirit of Malcolm X has long been present in Hip-Hop. In 1983, Keith LeBlanc sampled his speeches on “No Sell Out” and Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force shouted him out on “Renegades of Funk.” However, it was during the late ’80s when Hip-Hop became infused with the ideology of Malcolm X courtesy of groups like Public Enemy, so much so that by the early ’90s, the X caps had replaced Kangols as the official Hip-Hop head gear.

So the question in 2012 becomes, why is Hip-Hop producing so many Meek Mills and so few Malcolm Xs ?

Back in the 1970s, the forefathers of rap, “The Last Poets,” released “N*ggers Are Scared of Revolution”, a song that proclaimed that some Black folks will do everything under the sun except engage in rebellion against the system. So, in 2012, are rappers scared of revolution, too?

In his 1963, “Message to the Grassroots,” Malcolm said that “revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way…”

For many rappers that may sound like a hot lyric but in reality, that ain’t happenin’. Although many of them claim to love the ‘hood, they ain’t givin’ up their Maybachs for none of ya’ll. Despite all the tough talk and street swagga, few are really willing to commit what Huey P Newton would have called career “revolutionary suicide.”

And on some level, who could blame them?

In the mythos of Hip-Hop culture, if you go out in a blaze of glory like ‘Pac and Biggie you wind up in some Ghetto Heaven and the homies in the ‘hood will be forever pourin’ out liquor and sportin’ T-shirts in your memory. But if you go out fighting the power like Lil Bobby Hutton or Fred Hampton, you will be forgotten a week after the funeral.

After all, although members of the Nation of Islam were convicted for the murder of Malcolm, almost 50 years later we are still no closer to solving the mystery of who really gave the order for the hit than we are solving who killed Pac, Biggie, or Lil’ Pookie from down the block. However, we are left with some clues that have been rarely discussed.

In his book, To Kill a Black Man, Louis Lomax points out how, before his death, “Malcolm X was becoming a major threat to American foreign policy.” He alleged that “the American government, particular the CIA was deeply involved in Malcolm’s death.”

Researcher Steve Cokley has long suggested that we reread the often overlooked page 418 of Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X, where Haley revealed that an unnamed “close friend” arranged a meeting with the president of a still unnamed “large private foundation” and the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights section, Burke Marshall, shortly before Malcolm’s death. According to Haley, he was grilled over Malcolm’s “finances” and how his recent trip to Africa had been funded.

Of course, there are some underground Hip-Hop artists today who are spittin’ truth to power like Immortal Technique, New Orleans’ Dee-1, and North C’arolina’s Homebase, but they are few and far between.

Some have suggested that the responsibility of Hip-Hop artists is to make music, not lead movements. Perhaps they are right.

Maybe the revolution won’t come from the rappers but from the writers. What good is a “revolution” if there is no one to explain to the masses who they are revolting against and why they need a “revolution” in the first place. This is especially critical when, since the end of the Civil War, the masses have been continually duped into believing that “we have overcome” and “there is nothing left to fight for. ”

After all it was the “militant minded” journalists who were the original Black freedom fighters in this country. Remember early revolutionists such as Martin Delany and David Walker were writers. It has even been rumored that Nat Turner might have been influenced by “David Walker’s Appeal.” Walker posed such a threat to white supremacy that, according to Dr. James Turner, around 1830 there was a $10,000 bounty placed on his head by a group of wealthy white planters.

Whether it be a rapper or a writer, the world needs another Malcolm.

Someone who is not afraid to grab the mic or the pen and tell the world, that we demand Freedom, Justice and Equality, and we intend to bring it into existence…

“By any means necessary.”

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop,” a column for intelligent Hip-Hop headz. He can be reached at info@nowarningshotsfired.com, on his website at www.NoWarningShotsFired.com, or on Twitter (@truthminista).

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31 Responses to “Missing Malcolm X: Are Rappers Scared of Revolution?”

  1. rep87

    This was a good artical we all know who control what we here and see on tv and radio and they are pushing gang and gay crap off on our youth today along with devil satantic nonsense they saw the Black pride and Black power movement such artist as KRS 1 PublicENEMY and many others were doing they silence that movement and pushed gangstr type hiphop, Blacks are the most divided race of people on earth it was design  this way to keep control just as it was done with slaves .Back during the 60s they had to kill a Black leader, today the media does it for them .Media blow up any negitive black person, the buffons running around in hiphop pants hang down a jail style for homosexuals brought to the streets as style men kissing men wearing women clothes and still trying  to give them a pass if your music sucks but you try and shock to stay relevent , America has a large Hispanic population taking over states like California and Texas,Arizona,Blacks are not the only target anymore the old power structure is crumbling ,

      • Daniel Davis

        The truth is aint nobody scared of Immortal Technique, KRS1, Dee whatever or any other of them lames… Malcom X was a Street dude then he became the leader that he was.. WE have yet to see that in our time but it is very possible that, a leader will arise….But first the enemy must be revealed AGAIN because it was clear in the sixties who we we up aganst now a days not so much.

    • Who What Why When

       Yea I agree with your comment. They are and have been draining the dignity, hope, bravery, education, and love from us since the 60’s scared the shit out of them. The work they put in then is starting to pay off now because our people giving up and accepting humiliating shit and any other form of undignified shit all in the name of money. The broken families produce daughters who resent men because of fathers who werent there or influence from mother’s pain and emotionally fragile sons who cling to their mothers. Its all kinds of issues overlapped and layered. The struggle has takin a toll on us and we are loosing our will/drive to make it as a people. Its becoming every man or woman for themselves.

      • Telltinalina

        I think I see this from a different side. 1st, I’m a white woman who lives in Seattle, I was raised in Chicago in a very segragated neighborhood. I never thought things were right, the injustice and prejudice and almost vile contempt on both sides was scary. I was to young to know how we a got there, but there we were. I left that city far behind at 18, and alot of that outright hatred with it. I am in my 50’s and going to Community College at night. I have been almost consumed by Malcolm X’s speeches, his writing’s and can’t take my eyes off him in videos. I have great admiration and love and respect for Malcolm X. This was a loss of a warrior, a prophet, a  man who stood up and put into words with passion and conviction, what needed to be done. His lessons are important to all, and hopefully now aknowledged by white people, as wrong’s and ignoranceracist. I think the Dixiecrat’s are behind us. I think we all live here together and basing an opinion of a person on color of ones skin is pure ignorance and probably evil. I know I live in a very liberal city, and I see folks daily being who they are and celebrating, embracing our differences. There are certainly still racial situations, it’s not Utopia, but I think the intolerance of bigot’s is pretty quick. I think it is no longer about race, it is about class. I am embarassed and terrified by the fact there are such stupid, fanatical, blind white racists still in existense. They spew crap, vote in the very element that is out to destroy them and their lifestyle, they are the sheepeople.          Malcolm X said

         ” I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone, and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t believe it will be based on the color of the skin…” 

        I think that time is growing nearer.
        . You speak of the draining of hope and loss of pride and the toll it has taken. There needs to be a revolution, but the teams have changed. Repairing and healing the multi-generations of abuse and systemic toxic shit, is to crazy big for me to wrap my head around. But, I think knowing it needs to happen is a start.      

    • Q.

      The days of leading mass Black movements and revolutions has long come and gone. This is a new day and there is no messiah coming for us. Your savior is YOU. Get your mind right, lead YOURSELF in truth, build with like-minded individuals, and stop supporting the bullshit…hopefully, others will be inspired. That’s your revolution right there.

      • EG

        Sad day when i tell myself im my own Savior…U must have done a LOT of reading Bro. Just seems like there are things one can not do for self…

      • rep87

        You are correct , MY ONLY ANSEWER IS GOD , as far as music goes today these  youth  have nothing to choose from and its sad , I was raise never to follow because my father was a real man who taugh me valuable lesson in life that i may carry on give to my son

  2. Baby_Bluez

    It used to be about segregating Black culture with inferiority goals for the long-term. In this day and age, it’s not about color, religion, beliefs, etc. These are all the “topics” used to distract people from the truth. Meek Mills is an example of a “tool” used for all the “Lil Pookie’s” in the hood to stay the unchanged with the same Lil Pookie thought process that sees the next block as a line he can’t cross. It’s not any different from people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine etc. Do you really think muslims partake in such a lifestyle?
    Unsurprisingly, people continue to believe what they’re told (tv, media, radio) – not questioning the source who regulates such mediums? I am not trying to preach but here is some Food for Thought (TV – Television – Tell a Vision i.e. tell someone (the masses) the way I see it, inevitably, you believe what you keep seeing as your subconscious can draw the plot without the script – Dangerous!)
    Keep reading folks, change your thought process if you’re not seeing your way in life, educate your mind and our young ones. Watch what you eat and “FDA approved” food and drugs that goes into your body.

  3. LetsBeRealpeople

    HipHop(mainstream) is bought and sold to the highest bidder between likes of Sony and Viacom. They keep the lid tight on who stays at the top of the crab barrel of the popular side of the  industry. We are supposed to look at Jay-Z and Kanye, because they are the idea House N$$gaz for branding and a assimilating. They are not going to step out of line to be heroes. Heroes get plotted on and killed.There will be no El Hajj Malik Shabazz in mainstream hip hop. That is a threat to control, and none of the elite is sacrificing there position in Forbes as the top sponsored “artist” Kanye is as far as it will go, and he is the puppet pawn to keep us distracted. They gave him just enough to keep cool but he is the head c88ning mo’fo, and its sad to watch, because that’s his role. Our parents warned us about this, though they where afraid of Malcom X, but they warned us about the time we live in. Bless local hip hop! We can afford to honor leaders and birth new ones.

    • LetsBeRealpeople

      BTW, I am in that nuance of knowledge to be grateful to Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, and Kanye. I am 32, so I grew up at just the right time for listening to music. It wasn’t until Tupac got shot in my hometown, that I realized what was going on in real time.  I am grateful to Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, and Kanye, because I saw what the end had come to for mainstram hip hop. It came to money. They taught me that if other people can count your money, you are not making money. Their messaging has been off, but they get paid. Their money is not their own. The Industry already has a cap on what they will make and how far they can get with it. So, for that I am grateful to see that truth. It’s vital and sad, but vital.

  4. EG

    1st the Rappers are now paid by the same people we “fighting against” dont be lead to believe they still are still in the 99%…
    2nd Everyne with this “all seeing eye” mess is against the masses (Look @ your Dollar Bill, Mass communication/Media:CBS, AOL, Jay? and Ya “watch the throne…r u serious? and look at the other FALSE POWERS THAT BE)
    3rd Folks been scared since the 70’s, after seeing Malcom,Martin, Hampton, JFK and many others killed…who would step into that spot???
    4th Look to Christ, like any hiphop trend, everyone saying I’M Real today? Everyone saying “Im a Christian” but would follow LilWayne on Facebook before reading the GoodBook….

    Aint no leaders because aint no army to lead in 2012!!! U looking for the writers, but no1 puts more than 5 sentences (text messages, facebook, twitter) together in 2012…WE DUMB’in DOWN AND DONT EVEN KNOW.

  5. Josh Smith

    Obama did support the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and the NTC (National Transitional Council) of Libya who were admitted Al Qaeda and some who we tortured in Guantanamo Bay!!!

    Obama also supported LIFG attacking all black Africans in an ethnic cleansing of Libya. Blacks had a mass exodus of Libya on overcrowded boats. Some of which sank and killing hundreds of people on board.. 

    Obama did bomb the Libyan rebels in Brega Libya as they tried to scale the oil facilities. smh (THEY CAN HAVE THEIR REVOLUTION BUT NOT THE OIL!!!???)



    • EDOGZ818

      Actually AHH was leading the way , on Libya , when ILLSEED ran “$CHOOL ‘EM $ATURDAYS – Libyan Lies” …with a section on Libya , featuring SMZ ( . ) Net

      ( He was probably the ILL’eST IC’er ( ILL Community ) on the whole site.

      His whole feature on Libya has been completely deleted from the web.
      You can google the whole $E$ , except for the libya section. Vanished. I may still have it.
      email me at EDODZ818   aol ( . ) com   & I’ll email it to you…if I got it.

      Went into how Qadaffi was Mandela’s people’s & provided every Libyan with free medical , housing & school. Even sent them abroad , at government expense , if the education or schooling wasn’t available in country. Talked about Libya’s “SWEET CRUDE” , a specific grade of oil , that was most suitable for European refineries. How Libya wanted “GOLD” for OIL , as opposed to paper currency & that is 

      At that time $E$ was probably the illest column on the web, next to Truth Minista Paul Scott ( No Warning Shots Fired ).

      $CHOOL ‘EM $ATURDAY$ ( or $E$ ) addressed domestic & international U.S. polices , presence & power , or as it’s referred to on $E$ : The 3 E’s , energy , economy  & environment.

      $E$ was AHH’s ( Via ILLSEED”s Rumor Section ) Jab that set up the big right Hand ( truth Minista’s Paul Scott’s weekly ” No Warning Shots Fired ” )

      ILLSEED left after site “UPGRADE” & …….

  6. JOEL

    Its plenty of people not just artist that speak about those topics, people are not listening, even artist plenty of them spitting that stuff but people are not listening, I think it has to do with so much media and channels, back in the day you only had a hand full of tv channels or radio or papers, now its so much media so much tv so much radio its hard to get alot of people to listen to one thing, You dont have to wait for a rapper to save the day most cities have groups that people should look for and get involved 

  7. Lost

    As far as the emcees go, it’s about making money.  Mainstream gives all that money.  Enter Viacom and its ilk. So, if they choose to evoke a name on the topic of race relations, it would be some one that white folk would deem safe, MLK.  No disrespect to the man and his principles, but people love him for the message that he put forth without “inciting” the anger in black people. 
    Malcolm X didn’t do that either, IMO, but he was much more stern and less forgiving with his words when it came to calling people out to who they are and the truths they tried to hide.  With that said…MLK would be the “safe-negro” that these mainstream rappers go for…

  8. Raymundo Az-Tek Valentin

    Word, In my opinion I believe that young minorities should start reading some Karl Marx, Lenin, Angela Davis, of course Malcolm X and some stuff from Mao Tse-Tung and then the masses will wake up. What is crazy is that when a young black man in the Bronx gets shot by the Pigs no one wants to take arms and take care of their own neighborhood and revolt or protest such atrocities. But! young minorities would riot for a pair of Foamposites until Riot cops come out…

  9. 1Imhotep_92

    The growing whisper with fully informed blacks is sports and entertainment have carried us far as the 2 can.   No disrespect to the rappers but they are ill equipped to lead anyone, let alone lead god choosen people, he left that up to people like Moses and Brother Malcom.  You can hear their sup par education in their lyrics, including the great Hova.  To all the informed blacks, keep doing your thang, its working.  Continue to let the rappers and athletics run cover for the real movement.

  10. Mental22

    First and foremost, I have to give props to AllHipHop for posting an important topic.  I’m in my early 40’s and have worked in the music industry throughout my 20’s and the difference between then and now is that my generation dropped the ball with educating and keeping the true Hip Hop alive with this generation.  Hip Hop was sold to the highest bidder (i.e. Program Directors + DJ’s = Payola) in an effort to dumb down the next generation.  

    And it’s not just Hip Hop or Rap…various media channels focused and promoted more and more dumb down programs via tel-lie-vision (unreality shows), music, marketing, etc. with bling bling, I’m rich when I’m really not (aka fake it till I make it mentality), I’mma do me mentality, and last but not least…the constant push of rappers mentioning “The Hater” message.  And this major dumb down shift came at a time when technology was moving fast and becoming easily accessible.  At least during the 80’s and prior we could reverse the onslaught of bafoonery, but when the machine (aka the media) is campaigning 24/7 + 365 days with the dumb down programming on it’s various platforms (and you combine that with the surge of the internet), you have this generation that’s only concern with what’s happening in the now, because technology breeds impatience and narcissism to many.Numbers don’t lie, that’s why this country is ranked #20 in education (literacy rate) and ranked # 43 in technology usage and awareness.  We need some leaders to come back to the hood and place a major emphasis on educating the youth because it’s only getting worst.  I challenge anyone that reads this message to rent the documentary “Waiting for Superman” and you’ll see how real it is.

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