8:56 AM on 06/30/2011
“They call me King Hov, copy?/Big balling is my hobby/ So much so they think I’m down with the Illuminati …” — Jay-Z, “Hot Tottie”
Like it or lump it, there’s this never-gonna-go-away public fascination and link between hip-hop music and the Illuminati.
But why exactly is that? Listen to any lyrics from a few top acts — and if you have that much time on your hands, maybe you’ve poured over hours of music video footage — and you might have concluded that there is this secret society occult-like connection between the music and the music’s biggest figures.
But guys like Mitch Horowitz laughs at the whole thing.
“The Illuminati was an organization that came out of Bavaria in 1776 and they were in existence for all of about eight years and the fact that people are making these connections today, in the 21st century, between this group that was formed near the start of the American revolution is really strange,” says Horowitz, an occult expert who also authored Occult America.
Horowitz is an occult expert, and says that this is really nothing much more than success breeding examination.
“Whenever people seem to get uncomfortable with individuals who are in positions of power they start to grouse about the existence of the Illuminati or free masonry or some kind of hidden hand,” he says.
“As if Jay-Z or Kanye West couldn’t be successful simply because they’re outstanding musicians and brilliant businessmen. Why not look there first? But here seems to be a segment of society that wants immediately to go toward something conspiratorial. That’s been a paranoid streak that’s been around in American politics for a long time.”
It’s actually almost impossible for the Jay-Z’s, Rihanna’s, Beyoncé’s or an artist who was most recently accused, Lady Gaga’s of the world to even be apart of such an occult. And any flirtation musically or even in interviews is just that — a cat-and-mouse type game played with conspiracy theorists. Do a quick search on a site like YouTube, and you’ll find hours of footage and videos and analysis pegging some of the biggest money-making and most influential artists with the organization.
“They’re just brilliant musicians and artists and they have a sharp taste for the power and the pull of occult imagery. Occult imagery isn’t just a matter of fantasy and imagination, some of these symbols — whether it be the pentagram or the square in the compass — do have a kind of magnetic pull on us, similar to the crucifix or the star of David, and when artists employ those symbols in their work, they do generate a kind of intensity of reaction.”
But why this particular connection with hip-hop?
Horowitz proverbially tosses his hands in the air.
“Jimmy Page did the same thing when he was writing music for Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page was a serious student of the occult, much more so than some of the figures that we’ve just been talking about and he selected these things for their fascination, for their power, for their magnetism,” he says.
We’ve never really been able to digest occult symbols as a society and when they ap1pear people feel nervous around them, people feel aroused by them and these artists understand that, but I don’t think there’s any hidden hand behind their success as artists and businesspeople,” he says.
But, there is a particular scholarly connection to it. There are avant garde ideologies that link the imagery with that of the Five Percenters and the Moorish Science Temple, which was a movement that was heavily based on free Masonic and theosophical images and ideas. Those very ideas, says Horowitz, branched off and influenced leaders such as Marcus Garvey and movements like the Nation of Islam.
“Jay-Z grew up around five percent ideas, because one finds the references in his songs. He’s very upfront and straightforward about it,” he says.
“Plus, I don’t think it’s any great sin for somebody to have a little fun sometimes and maybe drop hints here and there of membership in free masonry or some other organization.