When Busta Rhymes debuted his latest single, “Master Fard Muhammad” featuring Rick Ross, many wondered why there were so any references to the Nation of Islam, the Five Percent Nation and the NOI founder.
The NOI references didn’t stop with the one track. They continued throughout the entire album, “Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God,” which is composed of 22 tracks.
Released on Oct. 30, the album features Kendrick Lamar, Rakim, Mariah Carey, Q-Tip, Mary J Blige, and MOP, among others. Busta Rhymes’ first album in 11 years, it also features NOI leader the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on the track titled, “E.L.E. 2 The Wrath of God.”
The latest album is a follow-up from Rhymes’ third album from 1998, “E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front.”
Of course, Busta Rhymes isn’t the first hip-hop artist to rhyme about the teaching of the Nation of Islam or the Five-Percent Nation. Over the years, a large segment of the hip-hop world has done so, from Nas, the Wu Tang Clan and Rakim to Public Enemy, Mos Def, Jay-Z, Jay Electronica and Brand Nubians. Many hip-hop artists are Five Percenters — members of the Five Percent Nation.
The Five Percent Nation is a movement that was influenced by Islam and founded in 1964 in Harlem, New York City by Clarence 13 X, a former student of Malcolm X.
When Clarence 13X split from the Nation of Islam, he centered his new religious sect around the notion that “10 percent of the world knows the truth about life and they keep 85 percent of people in ignorance, so it’s up to the remaining Five Percenters to enlighten others.”
Clarence 13X introduced systems of knowledge he called “Supreme Mathematics” and “Supreme Alphabet,” which interpret a deeper meaning to the English letter and number system, Bustle reported.
Here are five things you need to know about the new Busta Rhymes album featuring Five Percent teachings.
In an interview with Starla Muhammad, the Final Call newspaper’s managing editor and NOI student minister Dr. Wesley Muhammad, Busta Rhymes said he had always dreamed of meeting Farrakhan.
When he did recently do so with the help of TV personality and film producer Daphne Wayans, the concept for the album started coming together. The result was “E.L.E. 2 The Wrath of God.”
The meeting was monumental, Busta said. “It was doing something else to me. I couldn’t even describe it. I’ve never seen a man on this earth talk like that,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that I was being a little mindful on how this would affect people…It’s not regular talk.”
Busta Rhymes said he wanted the song featuring Farrakhan — the album’s sixth track — to be disruptive. “In his verse, Busta Rhymes goes deeper into the idea of injustice, corruption and God’s wrath in the form of natural disasters,” The Final Call reported.
“It’s a day of reckoning happening right now,” he said. “It’s our duty to teach. It’s our duty to empower the people. It’s our duty to give the science to everyone that is willing to listen, especially when it comes to our people,” he said.
Busta Rhymes is a part of the Five Percent Nation. He said he first met members of the Five Percent Nation when he was a young boy. He was intrigued by the names members would adopt as well as the men being called “gods” and the women “earths.”
“We come out the store and the gods would be there,” he said, speaking facts like how far away the sun is. “I’m like, these are the transformers in real life!”
For Busta Rhymes, the leaders of the Nation of Islam and the Five Percent Nation are Black icons.
“I just felt like it was a duty,” Rhymes said, explaining how he always had a problem with Black History Month because the same people are honored again and again.
“They never mentioned the father, Clarence 13X. They never mentioned the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan…the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. They absolutely never talk about Master Fard Muhammad,” he said.
When asked by Variety about how currents events such as the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and a divisive political landscape affected the songs on the album, Busta replied,
“I think the last song recorded was ‘Freedom?’ and was probably written in the middle of September. I turned the album in (the) first week of October. I don’t believe I was ever playing at being a prophet. I just paid attention. I asked questions. The answers were fascinating and ironically, those responses came true: Big Brother shit was implemented. Civil liberties were questioned. Phones got tapped without permission.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
Rhymes talked to Final Call about prophesies.
“Remember too, 1998, the cover of ‘E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front’ featured the Wall Street area on fire with no World Trade Center in sight. The biggest difference between now and then is that now the shit is happening in front of everyone. It ain’t just talk anymore. We all have to pay attention, now. We don’t have a choice. I just hope that people are here and present enough, this time, to accept the information.”