Noble Drew Ali founded the Moorish Science Temple of America in 1913. He had a following of thousands of converts. His teachings have been said to have influenced the teachings of America and the Nation of Islam. In fact, the leaders of the NOI often praise and give credit to Ali. Despite this, there have been tensions between the two groups throughout the years.
Hip-hop has long embraced the teachings of Ali. Here are 10 hip-hop artists who gave a shout out to Noble Drew Ali, founder of Moorish Science Temple. Lyrics were gathered from Genius.
The song: “Triumph,” featuring Cappadonna, from the 1997 album “Wu-Tang Forever.”
On a verse by Ghostface Killah, Ali is mentioned. Ghostface Killah rhymes: “Yo, yo, yo, fuck that!/Look at all these crab niggas laid back/Lamping like them gray and black Puma’s on my man’s rack/Codeine was forced in your drink/You had a navy green salamander fiend/Bitches overheard you scream/You two-faces, scum of the slum, I got your whole body numb/Blowing like Shalamar in ’81/Sound convincing, thousand dollar cork-pop convention/Hands like Sonny Liston, get fly permission/Hold the fuck up, I’ll unfasten your wig, bad luck/I humiliate, separate the English from the Dutch/ It’s me, black Noble Drew Ali, came in threes/We like the Genovese, sazon season these degrees.”
Brooklyn, NY, artist Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire wrote a song called “Noble Drew Ali.” It is from the collection of songs called “Kismet,” and is inspired by the Moorish Science Temple leader. It was released in 2013.
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Queens, NY, hip-hop legend Nas dropped the 2008 track “Y’all My Niggas” on which he rhymes about Ali.
The lyrics read: “Everybody bleeding, the cops are the demons/Courtroom’s full of goons, jail buses leaning/Handcuffs squeezed too tight on youth life/If you fight, they just give in, people used to do sit ins/They got Nigeria and Niger, two different countries/Somehow Niger turned to nigga and shit got ugly/The problem is we started thinking like the colonists/’Til Noble Drew Ali started dropping that consciousness.”
Veteran artist Common penned “A Bigger Picture Called Free” with a shout out to Ali. The track appears on the album “Black America Again,” which was released in 2016.
The lyrics read: “Living in a glass bubble, the fast hustle/The masked struggle that I’m in, the same one that you in/I knew inside when I was outside on the south side/Had to take it a step further the way that Ralph tried/Oh that’s my stepfather/He stressed harder to make that bed and lock them doors/For the perfect picture, I forgot to pose/Used to rock Jabos and go out with bros/Tryna get lots of hoes till I got exposed/To a bigger picture called free, in the picture, it was me/Al-Hajj Malik Shabazz, Muhammad, and Noble Drew Ali.”
Hip-hop duo Blu & Exile released a song called “ Roots of Blue,” the twelfth track on their album “Miles: From an Interlude Called Life” from 2020.
The song features Jacinto Rhines. In a verse by Blu, Ali is remembered. The verse states: “Yo, I’m Kunta Kinte ‘fore he was enslaved by America/Picture the freedom before the terror/Who had to carry the black burners to Nat Turner/During a slave revolt/ we came before Columbus dumped us/Off the slavery boat, the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman/Yeah, we probably would still be slaves if it wasn’t for Fredrick Douglas/I’m up in his government before all them like Booker Washington/With all his boys like W.E.B. Du Bois and Noble Drew Ali and Marcus Garvey/Takin’ us to Africa like Chancellor Williams, Chandler Owens and Asa Randolph.”
L.A. hip-hop artist ScienZe dropped a track entitled “Charlie Brown,” from the collection “Ella” in 2013.
The song featured Blu, who rhymes: Yeah, word up/This is living when living is lie/Living is love, living is life/Whatchu living it for?/I’m living for life/Give me a life/I would close my eyes and give it to Christ/Buddhu, Muhammad, Noble Drew Ali/Elijah Muhammad/Martin, Malcolm, Master Fard Muhammad.”
Hell Razah is better known by his stage name Hell Razah and as a member of Sunz of Man. He released the solo collection “Renaissance Child,” featuring the song “Chain Gang.” DJ Battle produced the song.
On it, Hell Razah talks of revolutionaries worldwide. He rhymes, “Nat Turner, part of the ‘chain gang’/Noble Drew Ali, part of the ‘chain gang’/Fidel Castro, part of the ‘chain gang’.”
Wu-Tang Clan affiliate Killah Priest dropped the song “I Destroyed You In Front of Your Leaders” in 2015. It is from his “Planet of the Gods” album.
The song’s lyrics include a shoutout to Ali. They read, “You an android something that my hands destroyed/The feds built you I’m a push you into a asteroid/Then hole till you turn into the black noise…Kids slam dance to Biggie with mohawks/The missiles to Mars attack of the gods/The cat people found the math to the stars/The wizard of Oz The Land of Nod/Noble Drew Ali Master Farad i’m back on my job/My writing is pure de ospa, street opera part film noir.”
9th Prince, one of the founding members of rap group Killarmy, penned “Revolution Music” for the 2010 album “Revenge of the 9th Prince.”
On the track, which features Planet Asia, 9th Prince rhymes: “Before the hip hop community, drown in the devil’s pool/I’m Malcolm X, I’m Noble Drew Ali, I’m Martin Luther King/I’m Nelson Mandela, fresh out of Sing-Sing/Or Abraham Lincoln, freeing the slaves and paving the way/My tongue is an AK, the world is a battlefield/I aim to kill all negativity, trying to lock down my will…We can listen to Farrakhan, pop champagne and still chill.”
Artist Sindian dropped “SheLord Heroin” in 2013 and the lyrics read: “Goddess Elect, Noble Drew Ali/soaring in/My soundcloud raining lyrics and they soaking heads/Wet, drop jewels then I lift/She’s the tree of life, crush the piff.”
Photo: Association for the Study of African American Life and History