Black History: Malcolm X & His Influence In Hip Hop

Posted By on February 12, 2015 @ 10:21 AM | OP-EDs

Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, also known to many as El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz was a black Muslim minister and human rights activist born in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 19, 1925. He was a courageous advocate for the rights of Blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against Black-Americans, and his detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. Malcolm X was murdered in New York, NY on February 21, 1965, however, his name still lives in the hearts and minds of many hip hop artists around the globe and fans alike. To many, he is the greatest and most influential African-American in history.

In commemoration of Black History Month, here are a list of artists, and their works, that have been directly influenced by Malcolm X and his passion for uplifting the people:

1. Tupac’s Speech at the Malcolm X Banquet in 1992 in Atlanta, GA

Makaveli gives a raw, uncut speech in Atlanta at Malcolm X banquet honoring the slain icon’s personal influence on him

2. Self Destruction-Stop the Violence Movement

After the death of DJ Scott La Rock in 1987, Hip Hop pleas to end black on black crime by the KRS One founded movement “Stop the Violence”

3.”Black Is Black” – Lakim Shabazz
The 5% MC dropped this track on his 1990 ‘Pure Righteousness’ album, sampling Malcolm’s fiery “The Black Revolution” speech

4. KRS One’s By All Means Necessary Album cover
For their sophomore album, KRS & BDP drew inspiration from Malcolm X in creating their cover photo and choosing the album title making it stand out as one of the most dynamic albums in rap music at that time

malcolm x

5. “Tonz ‘O’ Gunz” – Gangstarr
Rapping over a melodic and infectious beat the emcee educates his listeners on the track featuring Malcolm X’s famous “Fire and Fury Grass Roots Speech”

6. “Malcolm” – Ghostface Killah
The most consistent and lyrical wordsmith of the Wu-Tang raps, “Ayo/I’m like Malcolm out the window with the joint/ hooded up,blood in my eye/I let two fly..”

7. “Malcolm, Garvey, Huey” – Dead Prez
In a remake of Lloyd Banks’ “Beamer, Benz, or Bentley”, new millennium conscious pioneers dead prez dropped this ode to their three favorite Black leaders

8. “No Mercy” – Immortal Technique
Hardcore, underground hip hop song that samples Detroit Red’s famous speech “The Ballot or the Bullet”

9. “Bring The Noise” – Public Enemy
Malcolm introduces the phrase, “too black, too strong”, to the Hip Hop culture, and ironically, Chuck D mentions Minister Louis Farrakhan’s name in the song as well

10. Artist names/group names derived directly from Malcolm X (Sadat X, Mia X, and X-Clan)

These are just the most notable of artists that adopted the “X” for their identities in the rap game, showing their respects to Malcolm X

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A former contributor at The Source Magazine, SheWise is best known for coverage of Ferguson in the September/October 2014 Power 30 Issues of the The Source Magazine. She is a vegan/raw chef, master gardener, a self-professed healer, hip-hop junkie, and lover of the arts.

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