"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 email@example.com or on his website, www.NoWarningShotsFired.com Follow him on Twitter (@truthminista).