Esoteric and Occult Themes in Rap Artists Imagery Part 3
This is the 3rd part of a on going exploration of the Occult and Esoteric themes and imagery, that can be found in Modern Rap imagery. Originally, it was going to be one quick article, but the more you look for it, the more there appears to be. Perhaps that is the point, if you are looking for it, your mind will usually find it, right or wrong. But that said, for whatever reason, as The Kool Skool's investigation into the Empire, Heraldry, Skulls and Esoteric Imagery In Modern Rap Culture and clothing design showed, there does seem to be without a doubt, some pretty heavy imagery being put out there.
This part is a continuation on certain new artists, and some that we have looked at previously, and a recap on older imagery that some of you might have missed. It is in no way accusing the artists of following a particular spiritual path, it is simply looking at the imagery they are releasing, or are releasing on behalf of others. Make your mind up...
Programming - "What Does It All Mean?"
Havoc of Mobb Deep demonstrating the popular "Gun Pose"
Does the imagery put out by Artists reflect on their reality? Do artists attract the negativity they release?
As opposed to the current Crack Rap "drama" culture, in the past there, was space for a variety of voices and alternative viewpoints in Hip-Hop music. Many Old School MCs often discuss that as an artist, there was much wider scope for the choice of subject matter. Why is that?
Crime as Entertainment
Brisco "getting Jacked" live on CCTV.
Like the long line of supposed leaked "confidential" Police Evidence photos, like the Rhianna Chris Brown Assault photos, video footage and photos like these are ending up on Prime Time news. Why are they being leaked, and by whom? Surely the leaking of Police Crime evidence photos are ILLEGAL?
On the internet there is are whole new genres of videos and gossip sites dedicated to the downfall of the top Entertainers of the moment. Rappers "Getting Jacked", or their expensive Jewellery getting stolen is one such negative genre. The jealousy created by a Rapper wearing the cost of a house around their neck in the competitive and cut throat environment of Hip-Hop has really upped the stakes. Rappers performing in little towns where lack of jobs and poverty are rife, big time rappers "caught slipping" appear to be easy pickings, and a quick way to gain local kudos for those that way inclined. Due to the internet, the negative vibrations of one incident in one small part of Harlem, or Memphis or indeed London rebound through the African Diaspora, and the Hip-Hop community in general. Copy cat celebrity robberies, and Jewellery hostage videos have becomes a fad, like murdering for expensive Sneakers, or happy slapping.
Unrealistic overt hard personas and unbeatable bravado often encourages people to test that image, rappers are entertainers, and although it is undeniable that there are many REAL Gansters in the "Rap Game", statistically it is impossible for the majority of them to be so. Rappers are like anyone else if not more so, fearful of being the victim of crime, not unlike the "Exposed" video trend, it could be the end of their career. But in the WWF style world of Rap, who is pulling the strings? Who benefits from a one dimensional negative image of Black people? Or the promotion of Black on Black crime and the wholesale celebration of Gang culture? Perhaps there is some truth in ex-Correctional Officer, turned Drug Baron Rapper Rick Ross's catchphrase. Is it really "deeper than rap?"
Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers speaking at a Nation Of Islam discussion
Wise Intelligent mentioned in a previous article breaks down the corporate change over, and gives reasons for why the Conscious movement, in mainstream Hip-Hop could not be allowed to continue.
"Hip-Hop changing from from positive to negative, was not a consequence of history" - Wise Intelligent (Poor Righteous Teachers)
All over the internet commentators and video makers are accusing Entertainers and Celebrities of many things based on a few photos and putting "Proof" in the title. But just saying that is not enough.
What is "proof?"
Proof is according to The Oxford English Dictionary
1. Evidence establishing a fact or the truth of a statement.
2. The proving of the truth of a statement.
3. A series of stages in the resolution of a mathematical or philosophical problem.
Battle of the will, throwing caution (& educated decisions) to the wind...
When do gestures and symbols mean more than just that, gestures and symbols? In Part 2 we looked at the ancient hand symbol - "Hook'em Horns", and it has been much debated elsewhere. But whatever the case, replicating a jokey Rock sign does make anyone "a tool of Satan". With any of this imagery or symbols of power, metaphysically its all down to the INTENT or nature of the practitioner, (or their puppet master).
Rhianna Courting Controversy?
Rockin' & Shockin'!!!
Del The Funky Homosapien - throwing up the Zulu Funk hand, but to some it means something very different...
So ask yourself, what is "Proof?"
Corporate Mental Training
Stealing innocence: youth, corporate power, and the politics of culture By Henry A. Giroux
Stealing innocence: youth, corporate power, and the politics of culture By Henry A. Giroux - Page 9
It is no secret that music is geared to children and young adults, and like all forms of entertainment, it increasinly contains content and subject matter that is not suitable for children. There has been in recent years much discussion of the sexualization of children, and children are the least equipped to discern and understand, extremely complex, cross-brand corporate advertising strategies. It may seem "cute" and harmless, but what kind of aspirations and values are being fed into our childrens consciousness? Are they yours? Or General Motors?
"Power Wheels Limited Edition Cadillac Escalade For Your Puff Daddy in Training"
Looking to pimp your kids ride?. Well the Signature Cadillac® Escalade™ Limited edition should certainly do just that. Loaded to the hilt with luxury features just like the real thing there is a sound system that features a real FM radio with rear speakers, battery charge indicator on the dash, chrome wheels and grill, doors that open and close, an a 12-volts of battery power for two speeds forward. It even says ‘hybrid’ on the back of the car. The Power Wheels Escalade retails for $374.00" - Found here
Should "Pimp" and "your kids" ever be put in the same sentence?!
Lil Kim - The De-valuing Woman-Hood
Teen Sex Toy???
Lil Kim is a female MC from Brooklyn and one time member of Junior Mafia. Her image has always been raunchy, but over the years it went to the extreme. Previously it had always been difficult to be a female in a very male dominated aspect of Hip-Hop culture, but with a few exceptions, female MC's were fine examples of strong positive female role models. But as Hip-Hop became more Hollywood, in its home (West Coast location) and mentality, the image of the female was degraded to that of Stripper/Rapper or "Video Hoe" (not our expression). Lil Kim is one of the first female MCs promoting her sexuality as her main subject matter. Many people who analyze the more sinister side to the media, and imagery discuss the concept of a female "Doll". In the ironic "Reality Show" Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For the Next Doll, Lil Kim appeared on the show helping the manufactured band of "ex-Strippers" find more manufactured band members. Interestingly enough signed to the shady Interscope Records
Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For the Next Doll
Lil Kim Clothes Horse
This was for a Rolling Stone feature and it is highly likely that the photographer David LaChapelle had creative control, not Lil Kim. All the same, it gained her a lucrative Louis Vuitton advert deal. If you really understand the concept of a "Brand" and its disgusting connotations, this isn't as "sexy" as it appears
"Marking the rightless
The origin may be the - symbolically dehumanizing - treatment in Antiquity of a slave (by the harshest definition legally not even a person) as mere livestock: just a biological entity owned and sold for arbitrary use and abuse (as agricultural work unit, house slave or toy).
European, American and other colonial slavers branded millions of slaves during the period of trans-Atlantic enslavement. Sometimes there were several brandings, e.g. for the Portuguese crown and the (consecutive) private owner(s), an extra cross after baptisement as well as by African slave catchers." - Wiki
Slave Brands found here at the excellent www.opendemocracy.net
Brothers of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity photographed at the 1990 at the annual Black Greek Parade in Philladelphia. Branding is once again becoming popular, like Tattooing, as it does not fade or discolour as quickly. Humans have always marked their bodies, and this image is put here strictly as an example of that, and in no way a disrespect to the above charitable organization.
Lil Kim is one of the best examples of the extreme aspirational Rap-star lifestyle. She is one of the first generation of artists to take part in subversive advertising, this is done by name dropping brand items and names into her rhymes for a fee. And although it is easy for Hip-Hop purists to blame "White Corperate Executives" for the watering down of our culture... The artists themselves allowed this to happen, Rap opened the door...
Black American Express
Are celebrities selling future generations into mental bondage with "Brand" loyalty, material obsession and quick satisfaction?
Snoops Evil Eye
Traditional "Turkish" Evil Eye
This amulet protects the wearer from the evil eye The Turkish name for this amulet is Nazar Boncuk. It is very typical in Turkey, and all over the Medditeranian and the Middle East. It can be found in peoples houses, offices and also at their car, women have it on bracelets, earrings or necklaces; also babies have it attached to their cloths. It should be mainly blue and look like an eye. There are very different sizes but the shape is usually round.
Evil Eye Amulet
Snoop as Malice "The Modern Day Robin Hood"
In his new video I Wanna Rock
An apotropaic blue Hamsa hand wall hanging with an eye in the palm, to ward off the evil eye and protect the home
"Another Arabic name for the hamsa (or khamsa) is the hand of Fatima, commemorating Fatima Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. Hamsa hands often contain an eye symbol. Depictions of the hand, the eye, or the number five in Arabic (and Berber) tradition is related to warding off the evil eye, as exemplified in the saying khamsa fi ainek ("five [fingers] in your eye"). Another formula uttered against the evil eye in Arabic is khamsa wa-khamis.
The khamsa is the most popular of the different amulets to ward off the evil eye in Egypt — others being the Eye, and the Hirz (a silver box containing verses of the Koran). The Hand (Khamsa) has long represented blessings, power and strength and is thus seen as potent in deflecting the evil eye. It's one of the most common components of jewelery in the region." - From Wiki
Erykah Badu Hamsa Israhel Tour poster
Erykah Badu, has always been involved in the Consciouness Movement, and her imagery reflects that.
Do it to the crowd
Kanye West part 3
We have already discussed Kanye West's part in the so-called Rocafella Trinity, and the strange Rocafella Pyramid Stage Rituals here. Of many of the modern Platinum Rappers, Kanye has represented the alternative voice of reason in Hip-Hop culture. As religion and spirituality, is all but absent from most Rappers subject matter, when Kanye West released his song Jesus Walks, to the Christian community, he seemed like a breathe of fresh air.
He seemed to tick all of the boxes, until he dressed up as
Jesus carrying a cross to his Crucifixion to promote Jesus Walks as discussed here.
"Does Kanye West's Jesus Pose Go Too Far?
Rapper's Image on Rolling Stone Is Latest Magazine Cover to Push the Envelope
In his song "Jesus Walks," Kanye West sang, "God, show me the way" - but critics wonder what showed him the way toward the latest cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine, on which he poses as Jesus Christ. "Bad PR showed him the way to this cover," comedian Mo Rocca joked on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition." "Yet, here I am talking about it on network TV."
Rolling Stone said the West cover was meant to be artistic and wasn't meant to offend any group. - ABC News
But this is the fine line, as it is often out of the artists hands, who is responsible for "Bad PR"? Is there such a thing in this Press manipulated age? Is it even possible? Is it Rolling Stone Magazine as they commissioned the cover photo shoot? "Artistic" expression as mentioned before, is often out of the artists hands. Could it be that the Religious commentators who critisised the imagery, were more offended that Jesus was being portrayed as a Black African American in appearance, as opposed to the fact that Kanye West was Blaspheming by portraying himself as Jesus?
In the Christian community it got even worse when he referenced the Takbir "Allahu Akbar" (or "God is [the] greatest" in Arabic), in his song "Heard 'Em Say". His signing of Lupe Fiasco (who is a practicing Orthodox Muslim), was seen as "proof" that he had converted to Islam. So once, again Mr. West found himself criticized by many of the same people who had championed him as a "Christian" Rap hero.
"Just because something talks about Jesus doesn't mean it's Christian. And if Kanye West was interested in glorifying Christ I'm sure he could do it without swearing." Found here on this Christian website.
In this series we have tried to stress that we are not accusing anyone of anything, only that it is important to be open to the imagery that is put infront of our eyes by huge Corperate companies and their cross promotional interests. Just because some one raps the Takbir in their lyrics does not make him a Muslim, likewise, wearing a t-shirt with a Occult image on it does not make someone a Satanist. Hip-Hop musicians, like any Artists, experiment with different imagery and concepts, it does not mean that they believe in the subject matter being discussed. However if it becomes a running theme, maybe there is more to it...
Kanye West Chose or Lose
Rockafella number 2 wearing a T-shirt with Charles Manson (leader of murder cult "the Family") represented as Jesus. Manson was described as "Jesus" or a "Prophet" by his followers, also alledged to have links to the California branch of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis O.T.O. Lodge through an organization called The Process Church of The Final Judgment. Charles Manson claimed to be a "Clear" of the Church of Scientology. Interesting choice of T-Shirt... Talk about wardrobe malfunction!
"Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor of the Charles Manson Family trial, comments in his book Helter Skelter that there may be evidence Manson borrowed philosophically from the Process Church, and that representatives of the Church visited him in jail after his arrest. According to one of these representatives, the purpose of the visit was to interview Manson about whether he had ever had any contact with Church members or ever received any literature about the Church. As a result of a lawsuit, the publisher of Ed Sanders' book The Family agreed to remove the chapter about the Process from this book." - Found here
Cease To Exist - 2007 watch here
'Cease To Exist' explores the music motive to the Manson murders and uncovers Charles Manson's relationship with Beach Boys' drummer Dennis Wilson and record producer Terry Melcher
A Process ceremony in the 1960's
Some Process members were allegedly people who had left L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology and the Process was accused of Satanic leanings as they preached a Duality of Jesus and Satan.
"Christ's teachings to "love your enemies" became their prime rule of behaviour. They love the individual, but not his/her evil deeds. These beliefs led to a love for Satan - not to his acts but to Satan, the Being.
The Process taught a dual concept of divinity. That is, that there are two more or less equal powers in the universe: Christ and Satan; one all good - the other all bad. The historic roots of this belief are traceable to the Zoroastrians in Persia in the 6th Century BCE.
Deviating from traditional Christianity, God and Satan are not opposite and conflicting supernatural entities. They are both believed to contribute to the world and the rest of the universe. Their long standing enmity has disappeared. Jesus is pictured as the judge at the end time, while Satan becomes the executor of Christ's judgments.
Misinformation about The Process:
The Process held to a unique theology which worshipped God while loving Satan. Being an open and proselytizing religious organization, they were exposed to criticism by other Christians. Having such an unorthodox response to Satan, they were easily misunderstood." - From the net
Love Sex Fear Death: Inside The Process Church of the Final Judgment with ex-Process member and author Timothy Wyllie
In the film, the author refutes the claim that Manson had anything to do with the Process.
More info can be found here
Love Sex Fear Death: Inside The Process Church of the Final Judgment with Timothy Wyllie
The book can be purchased here by excellent publisher Feral House
Poster Promoting the Process Book
Kanye West in the much publicised Baphomet T-Shirt
Kanye West with a Chanel Broach
The broach is a direct replica of the Double Headed Double Headed Eagle of the Holy Roman Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Double Headed Eagle of Freemasonry as we discussed in detail here
Kanye Discussing his faith
Bossip: So do you believe in Jesus at all?
Kanye West: I believe in Jesus as an icon
"Jesus Pieces" are Gold or Platinum effigies of the Christian Jesus Christ. They were originally popularised in the early 90's by East Coast Hood rappers such as Fat Joe and the Wu-Tang, but have maintained their popularity (along with Crosses) since transferring to Platinum, as Gold became passe. This T-shirt appears to be a play on the imagery.
"I ain't here to argue about his facial features, But here to convert atheists into believers" Jesus Walks-Kanye West
Recently Kanye was seen wearing this Wooden Jesus piece which harks back to the Afro-centric era of the late 90's. During that period, Rappers shunned Gold as it was seen as funding the Racist South African Apartheid regime, which relied heavily on its Gold industry and African suffrage to produce it.
Queen Latifah in 1989, a prime example of the Positive Golden Era image of the strong Black Woman
Many rappers wore cheap leather or wooden Africa and Peace medallions instead of Gold, also Gold theft was a major cause of "Black on Black" crime in Black communities the world over.
"It’s [religion] also like branding. Some people go Bapes head to toe, some people do Polo head to toe. Some people go Rocawear head to toe. Me, I kind of just go into the store and take the piece that I like the most. I’m no poster child for any particular brand. What I have to realize and what shocks people, or polarizes people is that I’m actually a brand. I’m something that people build up and believe in. They name their kids because they believe Kanye believes this. But I’m also a real person; a growing person and an artist." Kanye West from interesting article with Bossip
Glow In The Dark Tour Book
KANYE WEST "Glow in the Dark" book promo from Gus&Clara on Vimeo.
Illuminate In The Dark Promo
Much has been made of Kanye's choice of his recent tour's title. Obviously, Stars shine in the dark, but some people have suggested that it has a more esoteric reference, as in "Illuminati" or the Illuminated Ones or even Lucifer the "light-bearer". We definitely inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, but all the same, check some of the thickly layered imagery...
Glow In The Dark - Illumination
"The Stone that the builder refused"
"Eye of God"
Space is the place
David Icke fans will love this
Kanye battling Reptile
3 Six Mafia
Rock and Roll trappings
3 Six Mafia are a long running Academy Award winning Rap group from Memphis, Tennessee. They are draped in the much mentioned Skull, and One Eye imagery, and there titles are full of metaphysical referances. Their record label was called Prophet Entertainment, then changed to Hypnotize Minds Records...
"On March 5, 2006, Three 6 Mafia made history as they became the first black music group to win an Academy Award for Best Song (the first black artist to do so was Isaac Hayes for Theme from Shaft in 1971) and also became the first hip hop artists to ever perform at the ceremony. The group was nominated for the song "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" from the Hustle & Flow soundtrack." - Wiki
Three Six Mafia
Interestingly, Aton/Aten was a representation of Ra the Sun god (also represented by the Eye of Ra), which Amenhotep IV later Akhenaten "The Blasphemer" revered as the one true god, above all the many gods of Egypt. Some theologians suggest Akhenaten was the founder of Monotheism, and that the Jewish faith was a continuation of Atonism, and so continued through Christianity and Islam.
Fire and Skulls
Weighing that Crack, or mens souls...
Skull hat and fang fronts
(Note Juicy J (right) is NOT throwing up the horned hand, It is the middle finger and last finger, "3" for 3 Six Mafia)
Birdman "Number 1 Stunna"
Birdman is one of the most successful Business men outside of the Rap powerhouses of New York and L.A.
Cash Money Records
"Started by brothers Ronald “Slim” Williams and Bryan “Baby” Williams in the early ‘90s out of the New Orleans housing projects, Cash Money Records has gone on to become a true American success story, selling more than 45 million albums, and wracking up more than two dozen multiplatinum and gold awards from artists such as Lil Wayne, Juvenile, B.G., Turk, Big Tymers, Mannie Fresh, Hot Boys and Baby/Birdman, two of Bryan’s hip-hop alter egos." - Found here
The Late Rap Mogul J Prince
Black Rap Entrepreneurs have always been thwarted from total control of their empires by lack of control of the lucrative Distribution market. US Cross State Distribution networks have often been synonymous with Organized Crime, Mafia controlled National Labour Unions, and centralized Corporate Music domination. It has been suggested by those in the know, that when Black Music Moguls, J Prince of "Rap-A-Lot Records", Dame Dash of "Rocafella Records" and Suge Knight of "Death Row Records" all met to flesh out a Black owned Distribution deal, they all ended up loosing their empires, Suge Knight his Liberty and J Prince his life...
Rap is BIG business of that there is no doubt, but it came as quite a surprise when recently it was announced that Cash Money CEO's were getting into the Natural Gas and Oil Business. The Rap generation is now reaching into industries that reach right into the very pinnacle of Elite Buiness and power circles. And why not...
"Entrepreneurs and Cash Money CEOs Bryan "Baby" and Ronald "Slim" Williams are moving their skills to a new venture in Bronald Oil & Gas, an independent company centered on identifying and using gas and oil reserves. Bronald Oil & Gas are using several locations to develop oil and gas outlets, such as Osage County, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and unidentified Central America sites. The Williams brothers have issued a statement:
“Bronald is committed to working cooperatively with governments and private enterprise to recover energy from known oil and gas reserves throughout North and Central America in an environmentally friendly manner.” - found here
Birdman - Priceless
As we have discussed in the previous article the prominence of Red Black & White and Gothic trappings are replicated throughout popular culture at the moment, and Birdman is no exception.
More examples of Red, Black and White album covers can be found here
Birdman Baby 1/2 Eagle, 1/2 Man
Bald Eagle Horus
Birdman's home town, New Orleans is well known as the hotspot to Creole and and other archaic Magic systems in the South
Baby "The Birdman with his very interesting and unusual new tattoo, an inverted 5 pointed Star...
Not unlike Baphomet - The Goat of Mendes Seal
The Goat of Mendes - with reversed 5-pointed Pentagram at the crown Chakra
Currently incarcerated Lil' Wayne and his "Daddy" Birdman
It is well known that Wayne is a heavy user of drugs, and in particular Sizzurp or the Codine based Cough Syrups that are the scourge of poor communities throughout the US. We discussed in depth Sizzurp and the Alchohol Companies targeting of Black and Latino Communities in "St. Ides Ghetto Sponsor - "Sippin' On 40's Of Brew!" It has long been suggested that it is in a Record Companies interest to have their artists addicted to Drugs or Alcohol to keep them tied to bad contracts, opens them prone to bad decisions, and subject to manipulation. We are not suggesting any of the above is true in theis case but, perhaps some of his addiction issues stem from the disturbing allegations mentioned below.
"LIL WAYNE SAYS HE WAS RAPED AT THE AGE OF 11
In the recent documentary movie, “The Carter,” Lil Wanye discusses his first sexual experience with some of his Young Money proteges. He claimed he was raped at the age of 11 and that he liked it. He says that Baby took him into a room full of men and instructed a female to give Lil Wayne oral sex. Now I know that it may seem cool to have oral sex at 11 but to have it forced on you while grown men are watching is quite disturbing. If this were to happen to a female, everybody would be calling for Baby to be put in jail for life. Many people have speculated on the nature of Baby and Wayne’s relationship, even claiming that Baby has sexually molested Wayne. I can’t say for sure, but if child services would’ve found out that Baby had Lil Wayne perform a sex show for his friends, they would’ve taken him away ages ago." - found here
Even Lady Sovriegn's throwin' it up
U.K. Teen star Lady Sovs moved to the U.S. in 2005 and shopped to U.S. labels, and met with Jay-Z in his role as CEO of the labels Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records. Since then she has been seen throwing up the rock at any given chance and wearing Eye of Ra Medallions and numerous Eye and Triangle referances in her videos...
Black Pyramid over the eye
Black pyramid in a female attribute, the clear or white triangle
I can see what you can't see
Recently the Lady was a contestant on the most recent UK "Celebrity" Big Brother, if you didn't see some of the imagery get an "Eyeload of this!"
Gates of Hades?
Red Velvet and Skulls galore!
Lady Sovereign with floating eye on shirt
Lady Sov photos found here
Art is Art, and the beauty of it is the freedom to experiment, and good Art challenges the beholder. We have only presented freely available images, and looked at the similarities. Is there any truth in it? You decide. We hope you have found this interesting, and serious debate is encouraged here...