Heaven, Hell and Hip Hop: Has Rap Lost its Religion?

“What do you believe in Heaven or Hell ?/ You don’t believe in Heaven cuz we’re livin’ in Hell”
-“Heaven or Hell”, Raekwon and Ghostface Killa

While making a surprise visit to WLTI 144FM, last week, Platinum-selling artist, Emperor Nero D, was asked for the millionth time about the rumors that he was a devil worshiper. Obviously annoyed, the artist vehemently denied the accusation and flashed his $50,000 golden cross necklace to prove his point. However, on his way out he tagged the station’s celebrity graffiti wall with “666,” winked at the DJ, and faded into the New York night…

Although the issue of Hip-Hop and Spirituality has been discussed over the last couple of years, Nicki Minaj’s “exorcism of Roman” performance at the last Grammy Awards show has once again sparked the discussion.

Has Hip-Hop lost its soul?

Since its genesis, Hip-Hop has had a strong link with Spirituality. As far back as the early ’80s, Melle Mel was preachin’ that “God is smilin’ on you/ But he’s frownin’, too” on “The Message,” and RunDMC told Hip-Hop kids to “stop playin’, start prayin'” on “It’s Like That,” so the spiritual connection has always been there.

During the mid to late ’80s, Hip-Hop began to embrace other forms of spirituality outside of the traditional “Western” theologies, when Boogie Down Productions put sections of Ella Hughley’s book “The Truth About the Black Biblical Hebrew-Israelites ” into lyrical form on “You Must Learn.” Also various groups like Brand Nubian started teaching the doctrines of the 5% Nation of Islam (NGE) and Jaz-O and others embraced the “Factology” of the Nuwaubian Nation. Even Jay Z was, at least, exposed to Factology as evidenced by his appearance in Jaz-O’s video “The Originators.”

Hip-Hop has also had a darker side. As early as 1991, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony were playing with Ouja Boards, and in 1994 The Gravediggers introduced “horror core” into Hip Hop. However, it was not until Snoop Dogg’s “Murder Was the Case,” that same year, that the notion of rappers selling their souls to the Prince of Darkness become believable.

The next year, the group Three-six Mafia was accused of devil worship because of its name and song lyrics. However, when properly understood, people who rep 666 (or according to some scholars, 616) are actually paying homage to to the Roman Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) who the early church thought was Nero reincarnated according to James Efird’s book “How to Interpret the Bible.” Also, Dr. Hugh Schonfield in “Those Incredible Christians” wrote that those who did not wear the Emperor’s stamp (the Mark of the Beast) on their right hands or foreheads would not be able to buy or sell.” (Kinda like if a rapper doesn’t have tattoos and saggin’ pants, he won’t be able to get a record deal.)

The reason why the dark side has been able to dominate Hip-Hop today is that we have been trained to accept half truths and lies with questioning them.

According to Alan Watts in his book, Myth and Ritual in Christianity, “Christian mythology involves problems of interpretation because it is a strange confusion of two types of knowledge metaphysical (beyond nature) and science.” Much of the discussion about Hip-Hop and religion has dealt with metaphysics which cannot be proven nor disproven, so we must deal with it as a science, which can.

In his book, The Origin and Evolution of Religion, Albert Churchward wrote that all religions derived from either the ancient Stellar, Lunar or Solar cults thousands of years ago. So all religions have a common origin.

Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan in his book, African Origins of the Major Western Religions, argues that the traditional religions of the “indigenous African people” are the forerunners of the “Nile Valley Religions” which produced the mystery systems from which Judaism, Christianity and Islam are derived.

However, the “Euro-Christianity” that was introduced by Portuguese missionaries was not a spiritual practice, but a tool to colonize and later enslave Africans. Also, it must be noted that during chattel slavery, it was illegal for Black people to read the Bible so, they had to accept the slave owner’s version as the Gospel.

This has caused a confusion regarding religion that has been inherited by the Hip-Hop generation.

Although America prides herself as being a “Christian” nation according to Anthony Browder in his book, Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization, the founding fathers of this country were not only slave owners but also deists who believed that man could know God through reason and refinement of intellect,” even though they were well aware of the power of African culture. (Just look on the back of that dollar bill in your pocket.)

As Erykah Badu sang on “On and On,” “Most intellects do not believe in God, but they fear us just the same.”

So, this country has a tradition of reppin’ a religion that it never truly practiced. (Just like the rapper who wears a Jesus piece but has never set foot in a church.) And the masses have accepted myths as reality.

It must be noted that the Western concept of “Devil” and “Hell” are taken from a combination of Greek myths and Dante’s “Inferno,” but the real power of the Luciferian doctrine lies in “deception,” and since the oppressed have been robbed of the knowledge of their spirituality, they can be easily deceived – so much so that Jay Z, can reportedly say that he “believes in God but not the Devil,” and people accept this without question. Even though it defies all laws of physics. And Nicki Minaj can perform a ritual on stage, and people accept it as Hip-Hop.

Spirituality is a major part of any civilized culture, and without it the culture spirals downward into absolute chaos – the type that is present in Hip-Hop in 2012. With all the mayhem going on around the planet, it is imperative that Hip-Hop gets back in touch with its spiritual side.

As Craig Mack said on “When God Comes,” “I hope the subject won’t turn you away/ But the whole Hip-Hop generation needs to pray.”


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 or on his website, Follow him on Twitter (@truthminista).

  • There is no God!

    • God is alive within you. Don’t look for a living GOD in a dead book.

      Metaphysically speaking I’ll go clearer ,if you wanna see God take a look in the mirror.

  • H. U. S.

    Hip-hop is just music, the same thing has been happening in all genres of music! people are easily brainwashed or suede with music, it’s every-damn-where you go!

    It’s in the churches, on the radio and almost every media website, on every Awards show, and even and grocery stores!

    So no 1 can xscape music, but we can’t accept it as/or along the lines of religion!

    It’s entertainment and if it seems too demonic or spiritial..just turn it the hell off! Damn!!!

    • Ay bee see dee eeee efff geeee ……knowledge put to rhythm, like abc song.

      This is the knowledge / tricknowledge the seeds are being fed…mentally.

  • Jay Z, can reportedly say that he “believes in God but not the Devil,” and people accept this without question. Even though it defies all laws of physics
    Physics?!? don’t involve something real like physics with superstition like religion.  And according to whatever faith you have your god existed before the devil even created him so it doesn’t defy any law that one can exist without the other. 

    If Hip-hop is losing god…Great! Its about time we got some rationality in the culture

    • Bible doesn’t say when GOD created angels, nor if he did, if I remember correctly ( post the verse / source & I’ll check it out ) , but good point.

      Still, if GOD created everything , he created the laws of physics too???? Those laws hold true , because even GOD acknowledges the existence of the devil.

  • EG

    Good article, HipHop is much deeper than the masses think. The folks paying J and Wayne to make music dont have our (the 99%) best interest at heart. So they pay these decivers and put them on tv so we can walk right into a LIE.
    Folks saying they Christians (a follower of Christ) but have no idea what it even means.
    DONT GET CAUGHT UP NO THRONE, They silver and they gold aint ever saved no soul.

    • go to hell and burn

    • Yasin Bey ( Mos Def ) Ni99az in Poorest

      Youtube it if you don’t already know.

      Comment was on point!

  • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Hip Hop is the only genre of music that genuinely gives a shit about devil worship, like it’s a real, scary thing. 

    • I dont know about you but in the black communities people are getting murdered left and right. Murder is a influence from Satan, Jehovah says thou shalt not Kill, Jesus Tells us to love our brother, so if you kill you are going against Gods will. Anything not according to the will of God would be in accord with  the will of Satan, because Satan stands for everything that is opposite of God. If God says go right and you go Left you just may have  unknowingly sided with satan. Satans whole puprose is to oppose Jehovah. Shout out to Christ the King, and our Heavenly father Jehovah, bless up 1

      • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

         Satan doesn’t kill people. Crazy, poor, desperate, or sociopathic people kill people. It’s this type of thinking that doesn’t solve any problem. You’re basically saying that people should look at an invisible monster to drive down the crime rate, rather than social programs, education, and job creation. There’s not “more Satan” in black communities than anywhere else. That’s a funny thing to say, cause that would mean… black communities are more satanic?

      • “The fight is against the spirit , not the flesh.”
        Ephesians 6:12 

        Spirituality prevents crime. Subconscious magnet. When you live your life as if under the eyes of GOD , trying to please him , you act differently , than when GOD is removed from thought.

        IE: How many Muslims make Salat ( Touch their head to the floor to humble themselves to GOD , 5x a day , then start rapping like Rick Fawlse or acting like Yeezy , & dressing like Weezy? Golly be Jeezy , If I were GOD , that conduct wouldn’t please me!

      • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        I don’t think that’s true. I don’t think spirituality has anything to do with crime. I think everyone who robs and kills and commits assault justify it under whatever god they have, like every other instance in the world where someone wants to do something they know they shouldn’t (from affairs to going back to an addictive substance.) This is why religious wars exist. 

      • “It’s not natural if it goes against GOD” – KRS -ONE ” The Truth”

        Youtube it if you don’t already know.

    • Not true , Ozzy Ozbourne with Black Sabbath ( Sabbath Bloody Sabbath )
      Ripped shop for white kids. That got shut down asap.
      Now he got a vh1 show……

      • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

         Yeah that’s the point. The last big panic they had about this was in the 80’s. And that turned out to be ridiculous; they used to think Led Zeppelin records had satanic messages played backwards. It was all bullshit. Every other genre of music treats it for what it is: pomp and drama and shock value. Except hip-hop. They think it’s a serious thing, which is really funny.

  • rep87

    This was a good article and at one point in hiphop we recieved different climps of all religions today its over saturated with satanic crap more of shock to gain attention and someone exposed the hidden devil crap going on in hiphop, like Tupac said dont just bop your head to a beat hold the artist accountable for his lyrics look at lyrics and all this chanting and crap call them out on it Love the article AHH

    • In Dead Prez voice : ” Hell yeah ”
      >>Side Note: the “Hell Yeah!” video & track was / is off the hook.

      Youtube it if you don’t already know.

  • Lord Saltsworth McGinty III

     Not believing in Satan defies the laws of Physics!?! That statement is laughable.

    • He stating that if you believe in God then you had to know that there is a satan who exist. Why is this because the bible introduces people to satan/devil/lucifer and it gives you the meaning of Satan. So to say you believe God exist but not the devil, is a contradiction to the word of God, because God Jehovah says that the devil is here upon earth going to and from trying to devour.

      • Lord Saltsworth McGinty III

         No. Men that wrote the Bible said that.

      • True, but Jay Z is talking about the GOD , based on the bible.
        God = English word. Different cultures / languages call GOD different things. 
        Albanians say ZOT
        Vietnamese say thaon ( tha’n )
        Philippino’s say maykapal

        Not sure what they say in Japan , but I’ll try & get Judah Nazurah to chime in & get deep.

        Check back for his comments.

      • True

    • Believing in GOD , but no Satan defies the laws of physics.
      Every action has a reaction. ( Albert  Einstein )

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  • il_nonno

    We would all be very grateful if the author could kindly come and clarify his Jayz’s apparent disregard for the laws of physics through his beliefs comment. Even though hiphop has sort of transcended being just a musical form to being a form of cultural expression, it is still a subset of black culture and must be addressed accordingly. At the end of the day, let us not pretend the music is more powerful than it really is….

    • ( I’ll try & explain , because the author won’t respond, he wants you to do your own research: )
      Yin & Yang = The science of Contrast. You can’t have one , without the other.
      No darkness, unless there is light. Can’t have cold , unless there is hot.

      ” There can be no great disappointment , unless there was once a great love.” MLK

      There can be no GOD , without the devil. ( Technically speaking , there can’t be a church either , but that is another topic.)

  • who cares if ppl worship de devil??? even de devil dont give a shit if u worship him lol. he just do wat he gotta do and thats it. And ppl seem 2 4get that God made Lucifer in de 1st place. Soo we ALL have god n devil attributes within us. Just gotta figure out which 1 out weighs the other. Also, there are soo many contradictions and pot holes in this MAN MADE bible its not even funny. We gave de white man our culture, land, women, children, etc. and he gave us de bible….think about that ppl….

    • Good post , but use THE instead of de , it adds to the post’s credibility. ( Not yours, just the post. Step you game up & others will follow suit!
      Good look on the perspective!

  • insaneangelic

    Sad how religion is being driven out of the world the Corporations are rejoicing because there goal is becoming a reality, People are so smart they’re becoming drunk off of ignorance

    • Inebriated , or GOD intoxicated , but not with the true , but the one the devil created.

  • Another dope article!

  • I think there has been a desensitizing of religion in the American society. Remember life mimics art, and art mimics life. Its a symbiotic relationship. So when your society does not believe in, trust, or embrace religion the way they once did, it will be reflected in the music we make. If you wish to say there are forces that are expediting this trend’s impact, I wouldn’t disagree with you.

    I believe in spirituality, and I’m a lot more concerned that facet of the average American’s life is becoming less meaningful. I absolutely agree spiritual is necessary for the balance and harmony within an individual and a whole society. 

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  • ilikeyou900