Professor Christopher Stuart
20 February 2017
Source 1: Gosa, Travis L. “Counterknowledge, Racial Paranoia, and the Cultic Milieu: Decoding Hip Hop Conspiracy Theory.” Poetics, vol. 39, no. 3, 2011, pp. 187–204., doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2011.03.003.
This article discusses the various conspiracy theories and their contribution to the Hip-Hop culture. Rather than validating the truths of these conspiracies, this article focuses on the use of these conspiracies by hip-hop artists to reflect on sociocultural and racial issues. Gosa mentions topics like the New World Order, the Illuminati, and their respective ties with artists such as Jay-Z and others to form Hip-Hop’s counterknowledge: an alternative set of knowledge that questions widely-held beliefs and mainstream media sources.
1. Conscious Hip-Hop: this sub-genre of Hip-Hop is most famous for addressing social and political issues.
2. Freemasons- A widely-known social group known for its infamous ties with the illuminati and hip-hop artists such as Jay-z; as evidence shows he is actually a 33rd degree mason; the highest rank in the group.
3. “Hov”- Jay-z’s alternative rap moniker thought to have been derived from jehova, displaying possible beliefs in an anti-christ.
1. “Similar to hip hop conspiracy theory, the embrace of Obama conspiracy theory obscures the structural sources of discontent”
2. The Nation of Gods and Earths (NGE), better known as the ‘‘Five Percenters,’’ provide a spiritual and social justice flavor to hip hop’s secretive knowledge.
3. “For example, the DVD documentary entitled Jay-Z: Hip-Hop’s Master Mason reveals that Jay-Z is really a 33rd degree (the highest rank) Mason (Anonymous, 2009). “
Travis uses ethos to explain the use of conspiracy theories in Hip-Hop not necessarily because they are true, but to stir up mainstream media in hopes to fight racial injustice. I chose this piece because of its unique approach and attempt to relate two very influential aspects of rap music. After struggling to find many sources that were not just focusing on the existence of these conspiracy theories, this immediately felt like the perfect source. I could use information from this article to cover alternatives to the existence of illuminati and the hip-hop industry and other possible reasons why it has ties with this genre.
Source 2 : Harper, Drake. “The Illuminati and Satanism in the Music Industry: What Is It?, How It's Affected Music Negatively and Why It Needs to Be Stopped.” Millennial Influx, 22 Apr. 2016, www.millennialinflux.com/illuminati-satanism-music-industry-affected-music-negatively-needs-stopped/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.
The Wu-Tang Clan
“Illuminati want my mind, soul, and my body / Secret society trying to keep they eye on me,”
After a while, hip-hop’s paranoia turned in on itself.
Other artists see the conspiracy theories as pointless—or worse, a misdirection.
We have to compromise what we say in lyrics so we don’t lose money on a contract.
Source 3: Horowitz, Steven J. “Why Is Rap So Obsessed With the Illuminati?” Complex, 23 Nov. 2016, www.complex.com/music/2016/11/hip-hop-illuminati-obsession. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.
Summary: This article discusses several reasons for why the Illuminati conspiracy theory has appeared in Hip-Hop. Although Complex is a mainstream Hip-hop magazine website, this article uses many different sources to provide evidence of the influence of the illuminati. He provides reasoning for why the illuminati talk is still prominent in Hip-Hop even though there has been no real proof of its existence.
George H.W. Bush
“Hip-hop culture—the innovator of so many popular fashions, styles, and sounds—rarely sees trends with such extended lifelines”
“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.”
“Tupac Shakur was an early critic.”
“Illuminati want my mind, soul, and my body.”
While this article is mainly factual rather than argumentative, the author considers several different aspects of the Hip-Hop industry that may justify its vulnerability to conspiracy theories. I found very useful information such as various song lyrics and artists involved in the Illuminati’s influence. I can use this information to discuss why people believe in this conspiracy theory, providing a smooth transition to alternative beliefs of why the Illuminati is such a big deal in Hip-Hop.
Source 4: StÃ¦hr, Andreas. “The Appropriation of Transcultural Flows among Copenhagen Youth â The Case of Illuminati.” Discourse, Context & Media, vol. 4-5, 2014, pp. 101–115., doi:10.1016/j.dcm.2014.03.001.
1. sociolinguistics-the study of language in relation to social factors. This could be used to explain the prevalence of illuminati in hip hop.
2. Transcultural flows- the re-emergence of ideas from other cultures to new cultures. This could explain why the illuminati is making a return.
3. Popular culture- Exemplifies the influence of artists on the youth.
1. “The flows are appropriated through the adolescents' new media practices, in particular watching videos on YouTube.”
2. “One of the driving forces behind conspiracy theories are ‘nothing is what it seems’”
3. “But can we – as sociolinguists – describe such globalization processes? “
Summary: This article discusses research conducted on a group of Copenhagen boys of different ages and households regarding the circulation of Illuminati references into their culture. The author mentions transcendental flow and the media’s responsibility for this resurgence of illuminati conspiracy theories. Andreas then relates this information to the moral and ethical effects of illuminati influence on the youth.
This author uses ethos to discuss the possible negative effects that Illuminati references through hip-hop media has on children. This source would allow me to discuss another alternative to the reason for the Illuminati’s presence in the media. I will use information regarding transcultural flow and super-diversity to possibly explain these issues.
Source 5: Stroud, Joe. “The Paranoid Style and Popular Music: The Case of the Vigilant Citizen.” Journal of Popular Music Studies, vol. 28, no. 1, 2016, pp. 75–100., doi:10.1111/jpms.12162.
Summary: In this article, the author discusses several reasons why Hip-Hop is in such a “paranoid” and conspiracy-minded state. He attributes this paranoia to various seemingly- mysterious deaths of music stars and gang-related rap feuds between artists. He discusses and then juxtaposes instances in which artists’s lyrics discussed the power of the illuminati and other lyrics that reflected disobedience of this elite group.
1. paranoia- possibly the reason for the implementation of these conspiracy theories.
2. Concertedness- This belief that the world could possibly be arranged to be governed by one person or group could explain possible paranoia.
3. Sabotage- Many Hip-hop artists believe that someone or something is trying to sabotage their culture.
1. “intrigue as a form of entertainment,”
3. “casual embrace”
The author discusses the politics involved with the Hip-hop industry and questions the actual talent of pop culture artists. This use of ethos creates a mysterious aura regarding Hip-hop music and would allow me to discuss such politics and tie it in with the Illuminati. I chose this article because of the author’s ability to relate past conspiracy theories with present conspiracy theories and discuss several explanations.