Empire, Heraldry, Skulls and Esoteric Imagery In Modern Rap Culture
The Poor Righteous Teachers
The New Jersey 5% Nation of Gods & Earths group, The Poor Righteous Teachers used the Seal of the United States as their cover of their "New World Order" Album. For people in the Islamic Tradition, Black Consciousness and Pan African movements the All Seeing Eye is well known. The Kemetic/Egyptian Eye of Ra or Horus, and its use within the Free Masonic Fraternity, has been much discussed. For The Nuwabian Nation of Moors and its founder Dr. Malachi Z. York it was the Black Man's eye of Kemet, stolen to make him blind, in some Islamic schools of thought it represents the Eye of the Dajjal or "The False Prophet", Shayṭān - The Anti-Christ.
Rocawear Eye of Horus T
But in recent years the Platinum Rap set have been referencing the Eye of Ra and other Magical imagery, invoking it on everything from clothes to video imagery. Many in Religious circles and so-called Conspiracy community, have drawn attention to the heavily Esoteric and Freemasonic themes in modern Rap culture, and begun asking questions. Although some of the arguments are based on what appears to be mob mentality and blind religious fervor, accusing artists of this and that, some people who are knowledgeable in Occult matters, seem to be putting forward very interesting info and arguments based on facts.
Robbie Williams Logo found here
This phenomenon is nothing new or by any means specific to the Rap genre, for example Ex-Take That Robbie Williams recently admitted that he is a Conspiracy Theory buff, and has added an Eye of Ra and Question mark symbol to his logo not unlike Prince's Ankh like Symbol.
Rolling Stones Album Cover "Goats Head Soup"
What is new, is the almost blanket use of Esoteric and Rock and Roll imagery in the Rap visual language. As this has coincided with the "Platinum Plus" school and Multi-Million Dollar CEO Rappers reaching into the upper echelons of Big Business, people are asking whether there is a connection.
Cypress Hill - Black Sunday
Cap less Pyramid Silhouette Sun Rising?
Cypress Hill were the 1st Hip-Hop Group to really use traditional Occult imagery normally associated with Heavy Metal groups, and along with brother group House Of Pain crossed over mainstream Hip-Hop to the white/popular audiences. Also did many Rock Rap tours and songs, & openly promoted Weed use. Signed to "Columbia" Records
DJ Muggs & Sick Jacken
DJ Muggs is the producer for Cypress Hill and House of Pain
W.C. "Dub C" All Eye Seeing from Ice Cube Video "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It"
Throwing up the Dub "W" sign originally represented Watts, but popularized by the L.A. super group Westside Connection (Ice Cube, W.C. & Mack10) to represent "Westside" or the West Coast.
Ricky Ross's Carter City Cartel - Stackin' them 3's/C's
Can you C/See?
Rollin' On Dubs!
Pre-school Hip-Hop asperational programming
Some intellectuals suggest that to maintain the economies of modern "Hyper-Capitalist" economies, where 1st World Nations main industries are Military-Industrial based, a state of "Perpetual War", or a series of prolonged tactically un-winnable wars must exist. A constant state of "Building and Destroying." Most Human beings will refrain from killing, and although it is a base attribute in Human Nature, it has been suggested that to continue a state of war, you must promote a Warrior culture. Everywhere you look in modern entertainment, especially technologically, there is the promotion of "War Games" and in particular, the imagery of Medieval Crusader Knights or "Christian Warriors." It is obviously a part of Western Culture, and part of our visual history, but interesting in light of the recent geopolitical situation, the past 5 years the Heraldic Style has been very popular in Fashion, in particular within the Hip-Hop Community.
"I'm a soldier boy!"
Hip-Hop, Computer Games & The Military Article exploring Raps new role as a recruiting tool, and the militarisation of youth entertainment. For an in depth discussion of 50 Cent and the Militarization of the Hip-Hop Generation check this previous Kool Skool article
Conscious MC Lakim Shabazz of the 5% Nation of Gods and Earths
In the African Diaspora in the U.S. and the West, Islam has been very popular as an alternative to the White Christian power structure. With the ending of the late 80's Conscious Hip-Hop era, the recent "Get Rich Or Die Trying" Crack Rap era, promoted by most Major Record labels, has been King.
Onward Christian Soldier?
Does Pop Rap amount to nothing more than a culture of D.I.Y. Drug distribution, where "Knowledge of Self " becomes a "Self first" attitude? Where Mc's become Gun-slingers and the Almighty Dollar is God, a Hip-Hop Men only jail bait club, perpetual sinners, Hypocrites drapped in Diamond encrusted Platinum Crosses and "Jesus Pieces".
From Righteous Teachers, to Righteous Killers...
Below is a brief look at some of the more recent seasons clothing, and a break down of the alternative meanings of the imagery used by some of Hip-Hop clothing's big selling companies.
Double Headed Eagle
Avirex "Cosmic Gypsy T" Two Headed Eagle "Master of East and West"
"One of the symbols of the military orders of the Vatican, the double-headed eagle emblazoned with the Maltese cross, signifies omnipotent royal dominion over both East and West." Found here
The logo of the Yale "Party Of The Right"
"According to a former Associated Editor of National Review, “The Party of the Right is the most important organization an intelligent young conservative can join in America today. Many Party members have gone on to positions of power and importance in the Greater American Conservative Movement.” found here
Double Headed Eagle of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Scottish Right Double Headed Eagle
Woman playing cards in 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasons hat in Run Dmc's "It's Tricky" video
"What is the Double Headed Eagle
The Double-Headed Eagle of Lagos is the oldest Royal Crest in the World. Nor heraldic bearing, no emblematic device of today can boast such antiquity. It was in use a thousand years before the Exodus from Egypt, and more than 2000 years before the building of King Solomon’s Temple. The Double-Headed eagle was first used in Freemasonry in 1758 by the Masonic Body in Paris known as the Emperors of the East and West which controlled the advance degrees then in use and was the precursor of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite." Found here
Crown Holder "Double Cross" of Orthodox/Byzantine Church
Uncrowned Crest of Austro-Hungarian Empire
Modern take on Double Headed Herald Crest of Role-Playing game Warhammer 4000.
The Warhammer 4000 game is based on Christian Holy Knights of the past in the future fighting "Aliens and Mutants" More info here. As you can see, obviously this imagery doe not just feature in music culture,
"In the grim darkness of the Future, There is only War". Note One Eye damaged like Horus
Futuristic Aryan Knights of Holy Byzantine Empire
Crusaders of the Maltese Cross, Space-age Knights
A&V Logo at centre of Maltese Cross
"The double-headed eagle with the sympilema (dynastic cypher) of the Palaeologi in the center.
The double-headed eagle motif was used as the emblem of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) during the 14th and 15th centuries, when ruled by the Palaiologos Dynasty." Found here
"The Double Headed Eagle"
The last German Emperor and King of Prussia Kaiser Wilhelm II the Double Headed Eagle was his crest.
Notice Eagle and Sun on 3rd Eye Chakra on Helmet
Eye Of Ra
Eye Of Ra Fitted
Recently there have been examples of hats that feature the Egyptian Eye of Ra or the Pyramid Eye of Providence or a Cartoon version of a single Eye at the Crown Chakra
Sacred Geometry of the Eye
"Triangle Fitted Cap" Secret Society found here
Triangle or Seal?
Rocawear Beanie with very prominant un deniable 3rd Eye/Eye of Providence
Voyerism one eye fitted cap
Rocawear "We Never Sleep"
All Seeing Eye features prominently
G-Unit "Rebirth T"
Praying hands Circled in an Egyptian winged Solar Disk
Another symbol for Ra or "Heru"
Compass & Set Square
Avirex "Dull Wings"
Crown capped Double Griffins facing into merged A & V representing Compass & Set Square?
Compass & Set Square
"As above, so below"
Artful Dodger "Compass T"
Artful Dodger "Compass T" Detail
Compass & Set Square in an almost tracing board format
Baphomet T by Mishka NYC found here
Rocawear T back
Who is your God?
Rocawear T front
The Cabbala "Tree Of Life"
Cypress Hill - Skull missing an Eye
Designed by Mr. Cartoon.
Latin Gang visual culture relates to Aztek and 1st Nation Religeous imagery, traditionally skulls have always feature prominantly in tattoos and album art.
Skull & Bone Cap
The Corner Stone sits at the 3rd Eye of the wearer, as we have previously discussed before recently the "Skull And Bone" imagery in particular has been popular, and has reminded some people of the Skull and Bones Fraternity.
G-Unit "Honour Code"
Beat Boxer Rahzel wearing Skull Sweatshirt
Detail - Skull copied from Punk band the Exploited
The Exploited original image
Misfits - another example of the Rock and Roll Skull
Scientologist Will Smith right rocking a Skull Tee
Compass and Set Square and Pyramid, as discussed in a previous article
Perhaps it is all just a coincidence... Obviously some Artists are unaware of the alternative meanings of the images that they wear on their clothes, as explained before it is a fashionable visual style. As a Musician you can not be overseeing everything your clothing company puts out, but is it the same for them all? You make your mind up if there is anything in the above information, but it is worth mentioning that unlike little N.Y. limited edition boutique companies, these companies make thousands of the same shirt, so you would think they might have noticed.