Many hip-hop artists, from Busta Rhymes to The Wu-Tang Clan, have been influenced and inspired by the teachings of the Five Percent Nations. Among them is hip-hop legend Big Daddy Kane.
Here are five things to know.
Born Antonio Hardy, Big Daddy Kane began his music career in 1986 as a member of the famed Juice Crew out of Queens, New York. Today, he’s revered as one of the most influential and skilled MCs in hip hop. His second album was his biggest hit, “It’s a Big Daddy Thing. ” It included hits like “Smooth Operator” and “I Get the Job Done.” In 1991, Kane won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance. Big Daddy Kane is currently nationwide.
The 5 Percenter Nation of Gods and Earths was founded by former Nation of Islam member Clarence 13X in 1964. There have been different reports as to why Clarence 13X left the NOI, during which time he worshiped at the same Temple Number Seven where Malcolm X preached. Some say Clarence 13X left after being caught gambling. Other say he did not agree with the NOI’s ban on gambling, drugs, and alcohol.
Under the laws of the Five Percenters, mankind is divided into categories. “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 believed that Black men were God and could tap into their inner godliness with intense meditation as well as acquiring knowledge through systems like ‘Supreme Mathematics’ and ‘Supreme Alphabet,’ which attach a deeper meaning to the English letter and number system in order to bring enlightenment,” Bustle reported.
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In one song, Kane told of the Five Percent origin of his stage name.
“The name Kane is superior to many people; it means King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal,” he rhymed on the 1988 track “Just Rhymin’” done with Biz Markie.
Kane is an acronym for King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal.
In one of the books from “The Righteous Way” trilogy, published in 2020 and written by Starmel Allah, included an interview with Kane during which he explains how he first heard about the Five Percent Nation. Kane recalls being a teenager when friends started joining and telling him about the Five Percent Nation.
Allah’s trilogy includes “The Righteous Way (Part 1),” “The Righteous Way: Golden Jubilee Edition (Part 2),” and “The Righteous Way (Infinity Edition).”
Kane recalled friends “told me different things. I found it intriguing and I was asking questions about the Five Percent Nation. They are telling me what…was wrong with this and what’s wrong with that as far as food, as far as now we are deceived as Black people in America and all of this…and I wanted to know more.”
He added, “When I really got with it is when I started making records because that’s when I met Born Justice. That is when I really had an Enlightener.”
For Kane, the teachings are more than just “scriptures” it’s about action. In the interview relayed by Starmel Allah, Kane said, “I think that sometimes brothers get so locked into their lessons where all you do is what people refer to as ‘quoting scriptures.’ There has to come to a point where you say, okay listen, now in order to do that, this is what we have to do to own land in the hood. To take our hood back.”
Big Daddy Kane performs at the 2013 Essence Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 6, 2013, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)