Category Archives: Rap and Hip Hop

What’s Behind Hip Hop’s Illuminati Music Obsession?






What’s Behind Hip Hop’s Illuminati Music Obsession?

Rap has often been defined by its fixation on money, power, and influence. What’s behind hip hop’s Illuminati music obsession?

The story of how the Illuminati first ended up in a rap song is a lot like your average Illuminati conspiracy: There’s a byzantine plot and a shifting cast of somewhat famous characters with varying allegiances and interests. The genesis of the lyrics quoted above, from the 1995 remix to LL Cool J’s “I Shot Ya,” involves a beef between Tupac and that song’s featured artist, Keith Murray; Murray’s subsequent beef with Mobb Deep’s Prodigy; and a notable cameo from a 15-year-old Foxy Brown. The particulars aren’t especially important. What is important is that line, from Prodigy, that everyone remembers. It was the first time the Illuminati was mentioned prominently on wax, nestled in the middle of a needlessly complex series of beefs.“Illuminati want my mind, soul, and my body.”




It was the beginning of an entirely new school of thought in hip-hop, one as intelligent and informed as it was suspicious and paranoid. Prodigy was referring to the Illuminati conspiracy theory: the idea that there’s a network of shadowy, powerful individuals bent on controlling society by rebuilding it as a “New World Order” under a totalitarian worldwide government. Around the same time, CeeLo Green made reference to it on “Cell Therapy,” claiming, “Traces of the New World Order/Time is getting shorter if we don’t get prepared/People it’s gon’ be a slaughter.” Mentions of the Illuminati in hip-hop quickly spiked from there: Jay Z sampled Prodigy’s line from “I Shot Ya” for “D’Evils” on his 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt, sparking rumors that persist to this day that he is associated with the organization; U-God encouraged listeners to “get your shit together before the fuckin’ Illuminati hit” in 1997 on Wu-Tang Clan’s “Impossible.”Rap’s Illuminati talk wasn’t just a one-time fad, however. The fervor died down a bit, right up until 2008, when Prodigy published an open letter he’d written in jail to URB magazine, alleging that his old rival Jay Z “promotes the lifestyle of the beast.” Hip-hop culture—the innovator of so many popular fashions, styles, and sounds—rarely sees trends with such extended lifelines. And as usual, this trend among rappers has crossed over to pop culture in a big way.

Today, the Illuminati theory is as relevant as ever, often used as a way to justify the continued success of artists—Jay ZBeyoncéEminemLady GagaKanye West—who are accused of being puppets of this mysterious web of faceless figureheads. There’s an endless stream of books, podcasts, and blogs examining the Illuminati’s use of media and entertainment to carry out its agenda, and there are innumerable YouTube videos about the Illuminati with millions of views. The Illuminati is always somehow part of the conversation when a celebrity like Whitney Houston or, more recently, Prince passes away prematurely. Its signifiers—triangles, covered eyes, devil’s horns—are consistently evoked in music videos and press photos.

What’s so perplexing about the Illuminati theory and its continued life is that it’s just that: a theory. Despite the term’s prominence in hip-hop and pop culture, there is no proof that the Illuminati still exists, and not a single artist has admitted to being affiliated with it. Then why, for more than two decades, has the existence of an unconfirmed secret society been consistently connected to the music industry? Why do the rumors refuse to go away?






A Time Like This: A Hip Hop Lament For America

A Hip Hop lament, critique, and call to action. Maybe there’s a reason we were made for a time like this.
Micah Bournes “A Time Like This”

When I was younger, I wished I could have participated in the world-changing demonstrations of the American civil rights movement. Bittersweetly, my wish has been granted. Recent events have revealed that institutional racism and racial wounds in the U.S. are deep and festering.

With increased awareness of police brutality due to technology, with incarceration rates of Black Americans being grossly disproportionate, with the political power swing in our latest election, the nation is more divided than it has been in recent years. I realized, whatever I am doing now is exactly what I would’ve done back in the 60’s. “A Time Like This” was birthed out of frustration, righteous anger, and a conviction that ugliness should be countered with beauty, we should fight evil with poetry. Tired stereotypes must be undone with creativity.

The title, “A Time Like This,” is from the story of Queen Esther, a courageous woman in Jewish history. She lived in a time of great injustice. Genocide was about to be committed against her people and she had the choice to hide her racial identity, or risk her life by challenging her husband; the very King who ordered the genocide. Esther’s uncle Mordecai wisely suggested that there may be divine purpose for her existing among such injustice; “who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Heeding his advice, Queen Esther was able to save her people from extinction.

I believe it is no accident that I am here, in America, 2017. This album will explore what that reason could be via hip hop and poetry. There is purpose in this madness and I am thankful to all who will partner with me in fulfilling that purpose. There’s a reason we were made for a time like this

FIGHT EVIL WITH POETRY POSTER
FIGHT EVIL WITH POETRY POSTER

TUBE & BERGER BRING UNDERGROUND HOUSE TO THE MASSES





It’s Friday night and we’ve been invited down to Electric in Brixton, to witness German Duo Tube & Berger, open up for tropical house favourite Bakermat.

Bakermat is essentially accessible deep house music for the masses, and what Tube & Berger manage to provide, (without alienating the otherwise commercial audience), is a more underground deep house and techno set, which goes down an absolute storm.

Ahead of their eagerly anticipated second album, ‘We Are All Stars’ which drops sometime in May, Tube & Berger include a live element to their show with vocal PA, Richard Judge. His soulful voice and energetic enthusiasm pump up the fans and connect Tube & Berger to the crowd on a whole other level. Richard sings along to their collaborative singles; ‘Ruckas’, ‘Set Free’ and ‘Disarray’. This makes it fairly clear to see who is in fact here to see Tube & Berger, with a number of sing-a-longs now erupting from the audience.

Source: Gemma Bell




Tube & Berger may not be the headlining act tonight, but their rare London appearance has brought out of the woodwork their own mega fans, as Kitball t-shirts and banners appear waving in the front row!

Amongst their own productions which span across deep house, and a darker more progressive house, they dropped classic tune Mylo’s; ‘Drop the Pressure’, Green Velvet, Pork & Fitch’s; ‘Sheeple’ and this years’ Ibiza dance anthem, Raffa FL; ‘How We Do’.

Also making a debut appearance was the new single, also named ‘We Are All Stars’. It was one of the more radio friendly tracks of their set, but in this setting, with this kind of audience, it was an absolute highlight! Signed to label Embassy One, which is also home to Booka Shade, Röyksopp, Robyn, Moby and Björk. You can hear it here first; We Are All Stars




I’m told there will be more live elements added to their already stellar performance, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for the latest news and tour dates; Tube & Berger Facebook




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