Data shows that references to Islam in hip-hop lyrics, once pervasive, are at an all-time low—while rappers are talking about Christianity more than ever. Why has rap forsaken one god for another?
By Adam K Raymond
Back in July, reclusive Roc Nation rapper Jay Electronica emerged from self-imposed exile to the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, playing a raucous, cameo-filled set that ended with his mentor Jay Z conferring a righteous honor upon him. Flanked by besuited members of the Nation of Islam’s Fruit of Islam wing, Jay Z removed a glistening Five Percent Nation medallion from his neck and placed it over the head of his enigmatic charge. For a fleeting moment, hip-hop appeared as it once did: powerful, black and Islamic.
That moment quickly passed. With rare exception, the Fruit of Islam, Jay Electronica’s Nation of Islam uniform and Jay Z’s Five Percent Nation necklace were not mentioned in the festival coverage that followed.