Truths and beliefs in hip hop, part two

Jeremy Porter

Jadakiss, whose Kiss of Death CD is pictured here, is one of many rappers who’ve been known to slip a socially conscious lyric in here or there amidst all the party references.

Credit: Andrew popik

Socially conscious rappers like 2Pac and Jadakiss present their opinions and questions through their lyrics in their songs.

In the song “School” on Masta Killa’s No Said Date, RZA seems to be asking questions from his school teacher.

“Why don’t we speak about the wisdom of the sages?” he raps. “And how did Europe black out in the dark ages?/ And when they got light did they white-wash the pages?/ In the Inquisition, why were Christians thrown in cages?”

Killah Priest uses Bible verses in his rhymes on “Hard Times” from View From Masada.

“Christ said those of you without sin, cast the first stone/ Those of you without ends, blast the first chrome/ Is it the prophecies of Deuteronomy/ that drove us to this poverty?” The prophecy I think he’s talking about is in Deuteronomy 28:47-57. These verses talk about God sending nations from afar that will make those who don’t serve God perish. It also says the people who are oppressed will live in poverty and turn grudgingly against one another.

Jadakiss asks a lot of questions in “Why” from Kiss of Death. “Why they gotta open your package and read your mail/ Why they stop lettin’ niggaz get degrees in jail.” Since 1991, 4,600 inmates have graduated from college prison programs. But the number dropped drastically in the mid-1990s, when both state and federal governments eliminated grants to prisoners for college educations.

The reason degrees aren’t for prisoners anymore was written by Commissioner Glenn Goord. “While possession of a college degree may contribute to a lower recidivism rate, the general public does not want tax dollars paying for inmates to attend college.”

The Game raps in “Like Father, Like Son” from The Documentary about the birth of his son. This reminds him of how short life is.

“Lord forgive me for my sins, I know it’s the last minute/ Put the chronic in the air, a lil’ hash in it/ Spread my wings, if only I could fly/ Why fight to live, homey, if we livin to die?”

His question reveals his belief in the afterlife and how much more important it is because we prepare for it.

2Pac is talking about his school not providing information about Malcolm X, but teaching about Martin Luther King in “Words of Wisdom” from 2pacalyspe Now.

“No Malcolm X in my history text. Why is that?/ Cause he tried to educate and liberate all blacks/ Why is Martin Luther King in my book each week?/ He told blacks, if they get smacked, turn the other cheek/ I don’t get it, so many questions went through my mind/ I get sweated, They act as if asking questions is a crime.”

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had their differences and similarities, but for a school to only give one perspective seems like a form of biased teaching on young people.

Tragedy Khadafi gives his views on the war on terrorism and religion in “Walk With Me” from Still Reportin’.

“They in the Middle East waiting for Allah to rein/ While the victims in the World Trade burn in flames/ And even if God came, we wouldn’t embrace Him/ Probably go to war with Him blow guns and lace him/ Like the whole world wanna give they trust to Satan.”

He’s showing both sides of the war on terrorism in the first two bars. The rest of these bars sound like he’s applying the Book of Revelation from the Bible. Revelation talks about people of earth siding with evil and going to war with God.

These are just a few rap artists who give their views and opinions on the world. These opinions can make a person change or stay the same. I hope I informed you on a perspective of hip hop that is not widely looked at.

Contact Pop Arts reporter Jeremy Porter at [email protected].