Dr. Wesley Muhammad, a student minister in the Nation of Islam, recently spoke out about the influence of rappers and the impact drill rap is having on the Black community.
Here are 5 things to know about Muhammad’s views on hip-hop and drill rap.
1. Muhammad said rappers are the gods of the Black community.
During an interview with Sa Neter, a top YouTube content creator, Muhammad said rappers have the most influence in the Black community but are using it in a way that causes destruction.
“I have said, and it was somewhat controversial to some, that the rappers are the gods of the Black community,” Muhammad said before going on to explain he defined god as “a being of power and force.”
“There is no class, there is no occupation, there is no group among Black people who wields more power [or] influence over the thinking, over the culture … of Black people collectively than the hot rapper,” Muhammad continued. “So, rappers are the gods of the Black community and that is not a bad thing.”
2. According to Muhammad, hip-hop can bring life or destruction.
Muhammad went on to compare hip hop to “a beautiful Black stallion” that has the potential to lead us to either “the promised land” or “hell and doom,” noting it was dependent on who was controlling the journey.
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“Our enemies control the reigns of hip-hop. In its current state, hip hop is leading us to hell and doom,” Muhammad said. “Drill music. There’s a science to sound. God is a musician like God is a mathematician and Satan has mastered the manipulation of frequency and mastered the manipulation of sound.”
3. There is a major difference between gangsta rap from the 1990s and drill rap today, Muhammad said.
“The difference between drill music today and so-called gangsta rap of the 90s [is] most of that gangsterism was studio. Most of the gangster rappers weren’t gangster before they got in the studio,” Muhammad explained. “They were handed a script and they morphed into gangsterism as a performance. With drill music, the death is real. The blood feud is real and it’s hard to tell is life imitating art or art imitating life.”
After referencing the “slew of rappers” that have been murdered, Muhammad said it was because the “chickens were coming home to roost.”
“We have put out so much death, so much ratchetness in our music, it was inevitable that that karma would catch up with us,” Muhammad said.
4. White people control hip-hop, Muhammad said.
He then said while rappers themselves have” tremendously” benefitted personally and financially from “messages of death and evil directed at Black people for the benefit of white; white people benefit the most in hip-hop.
“White people buy most hip hop. White people control hip hop. White people write script for our artists and white people consume and enjoy hip-hop,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad isn’t the first to call out the dichotomy between the Black talent in hip-hop vs. the white label owners and executives who benefit most from the genre.
In a 1991 article titled “The Rap on Rap,” writer David Samuels also discussed the topic.
“Rap’s appeal to whites rested in its evocation of an age-old image of blackness: a foreign, sexually charged, and criminal underworld against which the norms of white society are defined, and, by extension, through which they may be defied,” Samuels wrote.
Hip-hop artist Mos Def also decried the hip-hop industry being controlled by people other than the artists themselves.
“Old white men is running this rap sh*t; Corporate forces running this rap sh*t; Some tall Israeli is running this rap sh*t. We poke out our a**es for a chance to cash in,” Mos Def rhymed in his 2004 song “The Rape Over.”
5. Muhammad believes hip-hop can be a conduit for good, but it has to be reclaimed by Black people.
Muhammad said hip-hop has the potential to lead the Black community in a positive direction but that won’t happen until Black people take control of the genre.
“We have to replace the writing. It is on the Black stallion called hip-hop. Until we get control of it and produce another message in it, the death we put out will continue to visit us,” Muhammad concluded.