Spies Like Us: The Secret Relationship Between Rats and Rappers

“Can’t win a debate so they sponsor every threat to me/ I wonder if Agent 800 is standing next to me” – “Young Lords”, Immortal Technique

During a recent panel discussion, Hip-Hop artist, Knowledge the Revelator, was just about to expose the diabolical plot of how they are using rap music to dumb down the masses. Suddenly, Alfred Jenkins, aka “King Alfred” pimp, slapped the person sitting next to him, which started a brawl that abruptly ended the conference. While fists and chairs were flying, Jenkins quietly exited through a side door where he was met by a man in a black suit and sunglasses, who handed him an envelope addressed to “Agent Rex 84…”

Last month, the Associated Press reported that Muslim students at “a dozen campuses in the Northeast” were being spied on by the NYPD. Coincidentally, around the same time, the NY Confidential website released a report that alleged that a 2008 meeting of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network was also infiltrated by the NYPD following the trial of the police officers who killed Sean Bell.

Although it came as a shock for some, the “Alphabet boys” (as Young Jeezy would say) have long sent snitches into organizations – both criminal and political.

One of the earliest rats to infiltrate a Black organization was James Wormley Jones (Agent 800), who spied on Marcus Garvey and the UNIA during the 1920s. According to a February 11, 2011, article posted on the FBI website, “A Byte Out of History,” other agents assigned to the UNIA included, Earl Titus, Authur Lowell Brent, and Thomas Leon Jefferson. Also, according to the PBS documentary, “Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind,” one of Garvey’s closest associates, Herbert Bowlin, “owner of a Harlem based Black doll company,” was an informant known as “Agent P-138”

Later, Civil Rights organizations came under scrutiny by the Feds.

More than a decade ago, researcher Steve Cokely, shed light on a March 21, 1993, “Memphis Commercial Appeal” article that accused the NAACP’s former board chairman, Joel Spingarn, of being a major in the Military Intelligence Division who, “used his post to obtain critical information for MID, such as a list of the organization’s 32,000 members. ”

The same newspaper also reported in a September 12, 2010, article that noted Civil Rights photographer, Ernest Withers, was not only an FBI informant, but took the pictures at the scene of the Martin Luther King assassination.

It is more widely known that the Black Panthers and other “militant” movements of the late ’60s-early ’70s were heavily infiltrated by informants such as William O’Neal, who supplied intel to the Feds that led to the murder of Fred Hampton “and BOSS (Bureau of Special Services) agent, Eugene Roberts, who, not only was spying on Malcolm X when he was assassinated but, according to John Potash in his book, The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders, was later an original member of the New York Chapter of the Black Panther Party of which Tupac’s stepfather and mother were also members.

Although, Tupac Shakur inherited the legacy of government persecution from Mutula and Afeni Shakur, he was just one in a long line of rappers from NWA to the Wu-Tang Clan under investigation by the Feds. Back in 2000, Cedric Muhammad of Blackelectorate.com began releasing a series of “Rap COINTELPRO” articles exposing this fact.

So why would federal and local law enforcement agencies still be interested in a music that has become increasingly apolitical since the early ’90s?

According to Supreme Understanding, author of How to Hustle and Win, “Hip Hop is just a euphemism for the Black and Brown underclass.” The author who also released the widely circulated guideline, “How to Spot an Agent,” also said, “Hip Hop is not as apolitical as people think. Many mainstream artists have a political element.”

Perhaps the most detailed evidence of law enforcement’s attack on Hip-Hop is the first hand report of the the NYPD’s “first Hip-Hop cop,” Derrick Parker. The book mentions the infamous “Hip-Hop binder” that the Miami police used to keep files on Hip-Hop artists, as well as other surveillance activities against New York rappers.

What is not often mentioned is that, although Parker was primarily assigned to watch rappers, he also tailed the late Black nationalist, Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, whose voice was sampled on early Public Enemy, Ice Cube, and Tupac Shakur songs. This is proof that you don’t have to be a criminal nor a Hip-Hop superstar to be under the watchful eyes of the “Alphabet Boys.”

Just as the FBI used the techniques that it developed fighting the mob during the ’30s on activists during the Civil Rights Era, they have used the same techniques that they use to go after drug dealers on Hip-Hop artists of today.

This has raised a lot of questions that always go unanswered.

Since, according to John Potash, an FBI agent was present when Biggie Smalls was murdered, why didn’t he stop the bullets? Also, with so much government surveillance going on, how can the Feds catch rappers like T.I. with guns, but not see the trucks that are hauling them into the ‘hood? And, if they can catch members of street crime families trafficking drugs, how can they miss the planes and ships that are bringing them into this country?

This actually goes back to the Civil Rights era when activists asked if the FBI had so thoroughly infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, why were civil rights workers still being murdered? The flimsy answer given then – that they were an “investigative” unit not a “preventive” unit – I suppose, still applies today.

The mistrust of law enforcement leaves the ‘hood caught in the middle between those who do dirt and hide behind the “anti-snitch” attitude of the streets, and law enforcement agencies that refuse to admit why the “stop snitchin’ ” code was created in the first place.

If we are going to stop crime in the ‘hood, we must first have an honest conversation about government surveillance and its ramifications.

But until then, as GZA said on “I Gotcha Back”:

“I gotcha back but you best to watch your front/because it’s the brothas who front/they be on a hunt.”

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 NoWarningShotsFired.com, or on Twitter (@truthminista).

  • adam pitterson

    Great article!

  • rep87

    This was a good article some rap artist dont understand the power they have when they are playing your videos and music nation wide he or she only learn when he go against the system and try and educate his people to the tricks the industry playing thats when they shut you down, they bought off some artist for example Queen Latifiah use to promote positive images for young black females but in order for her to go main stream tv shows and movies she had to come out the closet and be seen with women on her arm no longer does she talk about sistas having pride and being Queens ! When Ice Cube was doing his black militant thing something made him stop and his life change ,Movies and he return to gangsta rap he does slip alittle knowledge in his music they infiltrated P.E. and yes Flavor Flav sold out they broke him down first arrested on drug charges numerous times once he came in they gave him tv shows and movie roles now no one will ever take him serious they own him .They dont own Chuck D Paris or KAM , you know this because these men cant get radio air play or videos played . Any of the top artist today arent talking bout nothing thats Jay Z or Kanye West ,LIl Wayne these dudes are control !

    • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

       So you’re saying the government made Queen Latifah gay?

      • rep87

        No she had to come out to the industry who control hollywood ,as long as she did positive things they looked over her , Once she started the gay thing hollywood let her in and she got movie roles and tv show and to stay there thats why she parade around with differnt females on her arm she went from positive to negetive to make it in Hollyweird look it up !

      • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        So you’re saying if Lil Kim was gay she could be in the movies too?

      • SDS_Overfiend


      • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        ATTN HIP HOP: Become gay and people will buy your terrible mixtapes and you’ll be on TV.

      • SDS_Overfiend

        Exactly!!! It works for Nicki

      • Not sure about all that…but you will get shine on AHH!

    • KRS-ONE too! << Not owned.

  • rediculus

    It couldnt possibly have to do with the fact that most mainstream rappers make a living bragging about selling drugs, murder and other various activities….

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  • same shit different day.While some rappers are affiliated w/ crime,realistically rappers are ppl working a job.

  • immackulate

    its called the KING ALFRED plan – since 2000 white folks (being of a recessive gene/trait) are decreasing in population – the govt is aware of this thats why they increase destruction on top soil in afghan/africa to promote desert conditions and pollute water and force people to result to cow dung to fertilze crops as a last resort – they have statutes and population polices that keep US (blacks/mexicans) at each other necks GLOBAL 2000 report by Jimmy Carter admits this shyt – exterminating blacks and latinos.  then google “PPS23”  and “Nat’l Sec Memorandum #46, and #200

    thats why they push JEEZY and arrest MOS DEF

    • Good $hyt!
      I googled that info & you were %100 corect!

  • one thing’s for sure two things for certain…. a good article means that sydney lace was no where near the building

    • LOL! You dead wrong for that!

  • Queen Latifah produces most of her own movies,Ice Cube does also.All their doing is balancing off the roles that they play with what most of their audience will like to see which means they pretty much have complete control of their careers…….or at least what the audience will go see or want to hear from them. It’s called The Entertainment Business if I don’t entertain you,even a third of being entertained,would you pay to come see what I’m about?

  • It is a bit flattering, though. They spend all this time worrying about “colored” folk trying to up-lift themselves through education and various social depths to achieve success, and yet it’s their own folk that’s going to ruin everything with their infectious hate and ignorance.  Pretty sad, when considering we are all human beings and we’re treated like pond scum.


    Wasn’t until later in career that Ice Cube produced his own movies , that’s over simplistic example of independence and besides if the Industry wants to eliminate your career , your done .
    Michael and nobody has ” complete control” of their career , you live a fantasy world .
    Everybody is beholden to SOMEBODY , who launched them , gave first break , fronted money , etc etc .and as Prof. Griff exposed Ice Cube was PUT into position to make his movies by his selling of gun , drug culture , Michael , besides calling him an “Actor” is too generous .
    And there is more to ” being Entertaining ” then people will come . Certain projects are REJECTED from get go and besides I’m sure Cubey ,doesn’t mind how DUMBED DOWN the culture is , because he profits from pushing the crap , THEY WANT pushed , Mikey .

  • ace batolini

    jeeyz was the snitch in bmf thats why he got off and all them niggas got locked up but somehow he still manages to talk bout wrappin birds and gettin them mr17.5 thas why pimp exposed dat nikka 4 a fraud he is .meech put him on so when he got him the deal with puffy (bmf and meech funded bad boy with drug money they gave puff to establish) so all the money was moved to and through jeezy account to make it look like he made it from rap sales.

  • Sho Tunez

    no jessie?

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  • Al Sharpton wore a wire for the feds in the WedTech scandal? or something , with Lee Ioacoca? Unsure of the details, but saw the video of him in a brown suit , negotiating over bricks.

    Ahmed Obafemi , Father of Shaka Zulu , Ludacris’ road manager , and former Political Prisoner , Black panther & Republic of new Africa supporter , has alleged , personally to me , that Al Sharpton was trying to set up Assata Shakur , when she was in the city.

    AHH should do a story about that!

    Truth Minista: Link up with Ahmed Obafemi