Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!
The Spook Who Sat By Hip-Hop’s Door
(Deconstructing Lord Jamar)
By Khalil Amani
This old-head rapper, Lord Jamar Allah of the old school rap group Brand Nubians has been on a quest to be hip-hop’s anti-gay mouf-piece, yea, the poster-boy of archaic, antiquated and outdated thinking to a generation of young’uns who really don’t give any f#*ks about kilt-wearing or skirt-wearing—who care very little about Mister Cee’s sexuality. Of all the rappers, young and old, Lord Jamar is the most outspoken on gays and hip-hop! Dare I say dissing gays has become his “Raison d'être” (reason for existence)? I'm starting to think that Lord Jamar is an agent provocateur for the so-called "Gay Agenda" (whatever that is!) If it weren't for the “Gay Agenda” this man would get no press at all! Without the "Gay Agenda" Jamar would be totally irrelevant! VladTV is giving him hella face-time! He is introducing himself to a younger hip-hop generation who knew not Brand Nubians from back in the day.
Lord Jamar's claiming that whites are “guests” in hip-hop and his critique of gays not being allowed in hip-hop is a patriarchal-centric, homophobic, racist (you can debate whether black people can be racist. Have at it!), prejudiced, classist, and infantile bromide (hackneyed statements or notions), which is devoid of any substantive historical, social and psychological rigor. (i.e. It's some bulls#*t!)
Lord Jamar has positioned himself as “The Spook Who Sat By Hip-Hop’s Door”—decrying gays who would speak their truth in this rap game and condemning any fashion statement that appears feminine and putting white rappers in their musical place when they presume to speak in hip-hop’s name. Someone has given him the proverbial “keys to the kingdom” and he's wreaking havoc on all cultural bandits and interlopers (i.e. gays & whites).
Let me explain Lord Jamar’s thinking.
Many moons ago (when I was a young jit) I had my coming-of-age internal religious struggle over the faith I’d been raised with (Baptist) and all of its Eurocentric trimmings and my newfound understanding that the religion of my upbringing had been handed down to me from one religiously ignorant generation to the next—from the jack-leg preacher of the Antebellum South of slavery times right on down to my new-jack preacher, Rev. Chickenfoot. How could an image of the oppressor of my people save me? Am I to believe that this blond, blue-eyed hippie-looking dude from Woodstock is my savior?
This is the point in my young life where I began to undress to dogmas of my Christian faith and seek my salvation elsewhere. I began to study Islam as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, but after reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” I found them to be hypocritical, rigid, dogmatic and too steeped in mythology. (Outside of their writings I couldn’t verify that some cat named Yakob grafted the white race and that all white people were “devils.” And to add insult unto injury, they were asking me to give up my white Jesus only to be replaced by another white savior—Master Fard Muhammad.)
Stay with me! All roads lead to Lord Jamar.
Next—I stumbled upon the “Five Percent Nation,” aka the “Nation of Gods & Earths” aka the “Five Percenters,” who are a splinter group of the Nation of Islam started by Clarence 13X. (ca. 1963) They taught no such a-thing as a sky god, but rather stroked my ego by telling me that I was (a) god! These guys were the coolest religious Negroes I’d ever seen! Before “rap” music they were rapping. My dude, Lord Jamal Allah, who we affectionately called “Chitlin’ Head” used to spit game to us—“My man! Let me tell you who I be! God, the black man, cream of the planet earf… Why? ‘Y’ is the twenty-fifth letter of the alphabet that most people use when they don’t know the answer to a question! I cannot answer WHY with Y! That’s why! Yo’! I’ll bow ya legs! Rip ya lip! Kill ya will! Have you cryin’ for tryin’! Beat you upon ya head & shoulders with words that will cripple, stagger and jagger your very vivid imagination! You can’t win against men like me! What? W.H.A.T. stand for 'Wasted History And Truth'.” That nigga would spit that ish rapid-fire!
I couldn’t quite get with the whole 5% “way of life” thingy, so I took leave and started studying the teachings of Imam Issa Muhammad aka Malachi York from Bushwick Ave. Brooklyn, but when I learnt that them niggas was planning an insurrection against America I was Audi 5000! My next stop-over on my way to spiritual enlightenment was becoming a Hebrew Israelite (what Chingy and gay-dude-turnt-straight-man Antoine Dodson are) and joining the Nation of Yahweh in Miami under this cult leader turnt god, Yahweh ben Yahweh. For five years I was part of that fuckery, rising to the rank of “elder” at 23 years of age and being the local Newark rabbi. But enough about that!
The Five Percenters (5%ers) believe that 85% of the earth’s people are dumb, in darkness and unenlightened; that ten percent (10%) know this subjective thingy called “truth” but ain’t talkin’ and the remaining 5% (them!) know the truth and are willing to teach this truth to the unenlightened 85%. This “truth” includes knowing that we are gods—Allah and that A.L.L.A.H. is an acronym for Arm, Leg, Leg, Arm, Head—the supreme mathematics.
Like any good cult, the 5%ers believe they hold the keys to supreme knowledge and salvation. Yes! They are a religious cult and that’s not necessarily a bad thingy. “Cult” simply means a religion which has not received mainstream acceptance. The 5%er membership has not grown and still remains on the fringes of society. And yes! They are a religion despite their claims of being a “way of life.” That’s simply their religious semantics in which they try to separate themselves from other understandings of divinity. Any time you put (a) god into your “way of life” you are engaging in religious worship. The same can be said for a country ruled by religion. It is a theocracy—a government centered on the worship of a god.
With the 5%ers—they have cast off the shackles of Christian oppression and put on the armor of our (blacks) other former Arab oppressors, basically trading in one oppressor’s religious symbolism for another oppressor’s symbolism. Indeed, the Arab and Islam taught the European and Christianity the worth of black flesh. As the great (black) scholar John Henrik Clark (R.I.P.) once said and wrote, “All of them [religions] have blood-stained hands! None of them are exempt! They have all raped Africa in the name of the cross and the crescent!”
Are you still with me?
What does all this 5%er stuff have to do with Lord Jamar and hip-hop? First and foremost, Lord Jamar Allah is a 5%er, so everything he has said must be understood in the context of his religious leanings. (I know these niggas get seething mad when I call their “way of life” a religion, but it-is-what-it-is!) When hip-hop came on the scene the Five Percent Nation and their religious philosophy crept in without so much as a peep. Five Percent phrases like, “Word is bond,” “Droppin’ Science” and “Sup G? (Meaning god, not gangsta) became rap slang. In those early years lots of rappers carried the 5%er flag, like Eric B & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Gang Starr, Public Enemy, Wu Tang Clan, Brand Nubians (Lord Jamar’s group), Busta Rhymes, Digable Planets, Queen Latifah, Nas, Jay Electronica, DJ Kay Slay and even Erykah Badu.
So now Lord Jamar has shifted from the gays to the whites. White rappers and white hip-hop heads are “guests” in our black hip-hop world. From his 5%er perspective what should we expect? This egregious bastardization of hip-hop is right out of the racist and backwards teachings of the 5% nation. This separatist ideology is par for the course coming from Lord Jamar. He is staying true to the teachings of the 5%ers when he says white people are “guests” in hip-hop and “guests” on the planet earth! Why? Because the “Asiatic black man” was and is the ORIGINAL man! This is in the lessons of the Five Percent Nation, so we should not be at all in awe of what this man speaks. He is conditioned, yea, brainwashed to believe the ass-backwards rhetoric of a reject from the Nation of Islam! (Some say Clarence 13X was excommunicated. Others say differently.)
Instead of praising Macklemore for bringing a positive message of inclusion, Lord Jamar is appalled that this “white devil”—this melanin-less UN-hue-man of the Caucasian persuasion has invited homosexuals to have a seat at the Good Ol’ Boys table of homophobic hip-hop; That Macklemore is speaking on behalf of progressive hip-hop heads. How dare this cracka-ass-cracka presume to speak for our (black) culture! You’re a guest whitey! Know your role!
What a mess we have in hip-hop! Can you imagine (black) jazz saxophonist John Coltrane or jazz Hammond B-3 organ player Jimmy Smith telling (white) Dave Brubeck that he can’t speak on jazz—even though Brubeck experimented with time signatures, recording "Pick Up Sticks" in 6/4, "Unsquare Dance" in 7/4, "World's Fair" in 13/4, and "Blue Rondo à la Turk" in 9/8, thus revolutionizing the jazz genre?
And what would professional football, baseball, basketball, boxing, etc. be if white folk reminding black people that, "We started this shit! You niggers are guests!"?
The same can be said of Eminem. Arguably, probably, perhaps the best rhyme-spitter evaaar is a white dude from 8-Mile Detroit! And Lord Jamar says this guy is limited because of his whiteness? (Side-eye, sucks teeth and cursing under my breath)
I say again, Lord Jamar is, "The Spook Who Sat By Hip-Hop’s Door!" By that, I mean, he thinks he can regulate who enters the doors of hip-hop. “I am the door! No white or gay comes through the door, but by me!” Saith Lord Jamar. (Taking his cue from the good Lord Jesus who said, “I am the Door!”)
Instead of using the Five Percent teachings as a stepping-stone on one’s path to true spirituality and enlightenment like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali did with N.O.I., guys like Lord Jamar are religiously stuck-on-stupid. They can neither transcend what was taught to them or make their religious views transcendent. Without telling the world why he believes like he believes—his religious beliefs (Oh! Excuse me! His “way of life”) is at the crux of his diatribe against white people speaking for hip-hop and gays doing hip-hop. He is spewing that archaic, antiquated and old-timey “Asiatic black man” stuff cloaked in the garments hip-hop, which this new hip-hop generation give no f#*ks about!
It’s quite pathetic hearing Lord Jamar try and steer this young person’s culture. He’s like an old washed-up boxer sitting on the front porch (or, in this case, Vlad’s couch) telling the young’uns war stories—lying to the kiddies about what hip-hop is
Yo’! Lord Jamar! Take ya’ hightop Pro Keds off and get yo' old ass off the front porch and join me in a rocking chair! You’re scaring the kiddies!
Khalil Amani is a blogger for AllHipHop. He also writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. Amani also writes for Hoodgrown, Maybach and Sext Magazines. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12 Khalilamani@yahoo.com