Truth and beliefs in hip-hop

Jeremy Porter

From Dead Prez to Kanye, hip-hop artists influence world

Kanye West, shown here at this year’s Grammys, is one of many socially conscious rappers putting his personal beliefs on record.

Credit: Jeremy Porter

Hip-hop artists have spread their knowledge and beliefs in their rhymes throughout most of the genre’s time frame. With the power they have on the mic, artists like Dead Prez, Kanye West and Killah Priest can influence the world with their knowledge and wisdom. These artists have let their opinions be heard on their records.

The members of Dead Prez give their opinion on the school system of America on the song “They Schools.” This song is about their disapproval of the school system in America.

One member states in these bars: “I tried to pay attention but they classes wasn’t interesting/ They seemed to only glorify the Europeans/ Claimin’ Africans were only three-fifths a human being.”

The members of Dead Prez are saying that our education system is propaganda.

Another socially conscious rapper, Cormega, raps in the song “The Saga” about problems with the ghetto where he is from. Cormega vividly describes these problems “as if Picasso spirit entered me.”

Some of his lyrics state, “I see a little snotty nosed kid with his sneakers on backwards/ Sleepin’ on a mattress when I go to make a sale/ At times I wonder, are we goin’ straight to Hell?/ Or does God realize we’re tryin’ to make it as well/ My sleep is interrupted by food on the stove/ Not gun shots, we’re immune to those.”

I can understand the drug dealers he’s talking about are trying to make it. Being oppressed by the government who wants certain races or creeds to stay beneath the majority makes them cry out for an economic right to succeed in life. This song gives you an idea of how bad it is in some parts of America and that there needs to be a change.

Grammy Award-winner Kanye West put out a song that touched on the hearts of many people. “Jesus Walks” is a song about the significance Jesus brings to all people. Some of his bars state, “They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus/ That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes/ But if I talk about God my record won’t get played, huh?”

West proved the media wrong and even won a Grammy for this song. “Jesus Walks” has opened up creativity in hip hop with religious beliefs. With all the popular dance songs, this song really stands out and displays a truer form of hip hop. Hip hop itself is about more meaningful topics other than getting your dance on.

Another religious rapper is Killah Priest, who gives his understanding on the Bible with the song “B.I.B.L.E” from Gza’s/Genius’s album Liquid Swords.

He presents his knowledge on the white image of Christ by saying, “I even learnt Caucasians were really the Tribe of Edam/ The white image, of Christ, is really Cesare Borgia/ And uhh, the second son of Pope Alexander/ The Sixth of Rome, and once the picture was shown/ That’s how the devils tricked my dome.”

This white image of Christ has been written down in history, yet it has tricked those who believed it. describes Cesare Borgia as intelligent, cruel, treacherous and ruthlessly opportunistic. When you see his picture, it is the exact same face of the Caucasian image of Jesus Christ.

Inspectah Deck’s song “Show and Prove” off the Uncontrolled Substance album is about having the power of God inside one’s self. Inspectah Deck says a lot in these two bars: “Then the older gods put me on, on how to rock this/ Maintain, 360, Lord and live prosperous.”

When he mentions the older gods, Deck is referring to the human beings who taught him. Based off the Wu Tang Manual, the reason why he calls himself and others “god” is because of the teachings of the Nations of Lost-Found Lessons, founded by a Muslim named Clarence 13X.

Clarence 13X’s teachings deny the existence of any supernatural “mystery God.” Instead, the idea is substituted that the black man himself is god: a god of his own family, universe and destiny. The “maintain”ing of 360 means 3 things: 120 degrees of knowledge, 120 degrees of wisdom, and 120 degrees of understanding. It basically teaches freedom, justice and equality, and it comes from the foundation of Islam.

These songs present beliefs, knowledge and understanding. They can make a person think for change or stay the same. I hope I informed you of these songs that aren’t as popular as the dance songs out there.

I would encourage you to seek out songs with similar moral content. Let this article give you a better understanding of these aspects.

Contact pop arts reporter Jeremy Porter at [email protected].