Hip-hop culture is a melting pot of various sounds, languages, dances, fashions, and lifestyles. One way of life that has an undisputed imprint on hip-hop is the Five Percent Nation of Gods and Earths.
From pioneering rap group, World Famous Supreme Team, who, according to a book written by members Allah B and Divine Culture Allah titled Show and Prove Pioneers: The Gods, the Earths and the Babies Are the Greatest, were the first men or in rather Five Percent terminology, Gods, in the Five Percent Nation to include their teachings in rap, to modern rap prodigies in the likes of Power Allah aka Planet Asia and I Power Allah aka Raz Fresco, the Five Percenters continue to make their presence known in the culture.
According to Five Percent Media:
“The 5% Nation of Gods and Earths was founded on October 10, 1964, after Allah the Father, born on February 22, 1928, as Clarence Smith, brought his understanding of the Supreme Wisdom Lessons of the Nation of Islam (NOI) to the youth of Harlem. Allah the Father charged the collective cream of his students, known as the ‘First Nine Born,’ with the task of spreading the message that ‘THE BLACK MAN IS GOD,” with Black people including the entirety of the global majority of Black, Brown, Red and Yellow people and with the duty to teach civilization to all the human families of the Planet Earth being neither Pro-Black or Anti-white. The mission is popularizing pro-righteousness and advocating anti-devilishment wherever it may exist.”
The golden era of hip-hop is home to a prime age in Five Percent culture. By the mid to late eighties, Hip-hop was globally cemented as a music genre and ultimately set a standard for the entertainment and arts of North American youth. With Five Percent terminology such as “Peace,” “cypher” or “cipher,” “square,” “Queen,” “God,” running rampant through the vernacular of golden era rap circles and most notably, golden era class acts like Just-Ice, Rakim, Lakim Shabazz, Poor Righteous Teachers and Big Daddy Kane spewing their bond to what is known as “knowledge of self” through song, hip-hop became a strong outlet of exposure for the Five Percent Nation.
Once known as King Asiatic, Big Daddy Kane is among a select few golden era rappers, who is often recognized for his bold display of Five Percent symbolism. In an interview featured in The Righteous Way: Infinity Edition by Starmel Allah conducted by Queen I-Wisdom Earth, for the first time ever, the Brooklyn rap legend delves into his history with the Five Percent Nation.
According to the interview titled, “King Asiatic’s Qur’an: Big Daddy Kane and Allah’s Five Percent,” Kane’s beginnings with the Five Percent Nation is stationed in Brooklyn at the “Head of Medina” in Fort Green projects. Although he is from Bedford Stuyvesant, Big Daddy Kane attended a public school near Fort Green projects where he encountered many ciphers featuring the Gods.
“They told me what they wanted to say and left it at that. They felt like anything other than that needs conversation amongst Five Percenters, not with the 85. I’m like well, I think this is something that I want to engage in. This is something I want to be a part of. I just want to learn more about it,” said Kane.
“I wasn’t at a point where I could really present myself as Godbody, but I’m still studying. It wasn’t until high school days when I first went to Park West and I used to be with this God named Cee Wonderful. He used to build. He was a funny dude, but he was real sharp,” he continued. “By the time 10th grade came around, I got kicked out of Park West and ended up in Sarah J Hale in Brooklyn. In Sarah J, that’s when I really took on and was like yeah, I’m Godbody. By then I was MC Kane. So, I just took the Kane and used the King Asiatic from that.”
It wasn’t until the infancy of his career as Big Daddy Kane in the late 1980s that he met his enlightener, Lord Born Justice Allah.
“When I really got heavy with it is when I started making records because that’s when I met Born Justice. That is when I really had an Enlightener.”
Knowledge of self is culturally recognized in some sects of hip-hop as being an element. In a soon the be released documentary presented by Born King Productions, White Lion Studios, and Atlantis School for Gifted Youngsters titled, Knowledge of Self: The 5th Element of Hip-Hop, Big Daddy Kane along with fellow hip-hop class acts including Rakim, RZA, GZA, Method Man, KRS-ONE, Raekwon, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Nelly and more present their own experience with obtaining “knowledge of self” beyond the scope of their emcee identity.