Why I Am a Five Percenter
by Michael Muhammad Knight
Why I Am a Five Percenter is an insider view of the community whose ideas and symbols influenced the rise of hip-hop.
The Five Percenters are a movement that began as a breakaway sect from the Nation of Islam in 1960s Harlem. References to Five Percent language and ideas are found in the lyrics of wide-ranging artists, such as Nas, Rakim, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Jay-Z.
Encoded within Five Percent culture is a profound critique of organized religion, from which the movement derives its name: Only Five Percent can act as "poor righteous teachers" against the evil Ten Percent, the power structure which uses religion to deceive the Eighty-Five Percent, the "deaf, dumb, and blind" masses.
- adapted and revised from publisher
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