Five Percent Nation-Hip Hop Essay

Submitted By boomshockalocka34
Words: 1721
Pages: 7

One Nation, Under Hip-Hop Serving as a medium for public opinion, music has had the greatest impact on entertainment and mainstream media. From early on composers and artists alike have formatted their sound from the influences of those who came before them. Beethoven was a large inspiration for Wolfgang Mozart, who together provided influence in the music of musician Charles Rosen. The works of Beethoven and Mozart still serve as the prototype for classical music today. To draw from these examples, is the idea that media and music especially, provide examples for later generations both on and off the microphone. To examine hip-hop music you must understand its brief but heavy history. The first rap artists to come on the scene had a very different tone than that of the music heard in today’s media. Groups like the Sugar Hill Gang and Grand Master Flash used interpolation of disco songs to make instrumentals which they spoke over in a form of spoken word using quick and witty metaphors. However, even before the days of disco, drums and storytelling were a way of life in Africa. These storytellers known, as griots would use the drumbeat to rhythmically tell a story to the children and adults in the village. Much like the griots, an MC in hip-hop rhymes over a beat while sometimes telling a story, other times stringing together a series of uncommon words and phrases making them sound melodic and effortless. Today these characteristics while fading, still serve as the backbone for hip-hop. As the rise of hip-hop progressed, so did its influence on society, most notably in black culture. The late 90’s and present day hip-hop, paint an elaborate picture of money, guns, sex and drugs the rappers from the 80’s and early 90’s were known to be more reflective and rap with a sense of consciousness to the world around them. While these songs and themes seem more appealing for teenagers and adults, children were most influenced by the lyrics. In the 80’s hip-hop spoke about African roots and how they relate to black culture, rappers were often seen wearing dashikis and medallions donning the continent of Africa. This pro black ideology has been a catalyst for hip-hop musicians since it’s beginning. The sounds of East coast music versus West coast have never been a topic of debate. Each area has its own style and sound unique to its location and that style influence remains present in artist from that areas music. While the West is known for its laid back, joyful numbers, the East has always had more of an aggressive, harsh style, Claiming to be the originators of the genre, East coasters typically defend the point that hip-hop originated there while West coasters beg to differ or not care. East coasters would point to the likes of pioneers Erik B. and Rakim as two of the first MC’s. Together they transcended the sounds of Sugar Hill Gang and others like them and put a cold spin on them, using cultural and religious references in a majority of their material. The most prevalent themes in the music of Rakim come from the Islamic religion and the Five-Percent Nation. The Five-Percent Nation is a group who denounced the Nation of Islam’s ideas of Gods true identity. Their beliefs specifically pointed to the idea of the Asiatic black man as the god of all beings, otherwise known as Allah. Debuting in the mid 1960’s the Five Per centers, are a group founded by Clarence 13 X, an offspring of Malcolm X. Clarence did not agree with the NOI’s idea that its biracial forefather W. Fard Muhammad was Allah on the basis that the Black man himself is God personified. Rahkim and many others of his generation took this idea and ran with it and decided that they would spread it to the masses, whether either party knew it or not. The undertones can be seen and heard everywhere, from the 7 circle star pendant, to the mysterious, thought provoking lyrics. In an excerpt from a newspaper article written by Ed Gordon he enlightens us as to some of