Members from the Nation of Gods & Earths, a.k.a. the Five Percenters, held an afternoon press conference Aug. 21 in front of their national headquarters, the Allah School in Mecca at 2122 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., to announce the plans for their half-a-century anniversary commemoration next month.
“Fifty years of the Nation of Gods & Earths on October 4 at the Apollo Theater, this is the bringing together of two historic Harlem-based entities, to make a historical event,” declared Lord Jamar, whose group, Brand Nubian, will be featured at Harlem’s Apollo Theater that Saturday evening.
During the weekend of Oct. 3 to Oct. 5, the NGE will commemorate their 50th anniversary with speaking panels addressing the youth organization’s history, their relevancy to hip-hop culture, the group’s direction and other topics.
“The golden era of hip-hop helped proliferate knowledge-of-self throughout the streets during the ’80s and ’90s,” commented King Kasim Allah, one of the event’s moderators. “This is the reason, as a 16-year-old, I was studying my history and culture, and runnin’ around with red, black and green African medallions, and learning about the original man, instead of trying to be a thug.”
Channel Lives’ Hakim Green added, “The NGE played a very pivotal role in hip-hop since its foundation. You can’t discredit what this means, not just for the NGE, but for hip-hop.”
Mention was also made of the NGE’s influence on hip-hop culture, from the “truth or square” origins of the B-boy stance, to “buildin’ in a cipher” references of many MCs sharpening their lyrical skills together, to “droppin’ science,” indicating the depths of an individual’s knowledge being displayed while speaking.
“We’re going to show that the NGEs have been instrumental in the foundation of hip-hop since its inception,” suggested Lord Jamar, “from the matrix of the language, to our mannerisms in hip-hop, showing the correlation of the knowledge and wisdom that were injected in hip-hop.”
Positive, uplifting messages promoting Black self-awareness, self-empowerment, self-enlightenment and self-improvement, which also educated people about their true culture and heritage―or “making knowledge born”―was a main criteria for MCs affiliated with the NGEs during the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, the media has been saturated with rap “music” from unconscious artists advocating self-destructive behavior.
“In the streets, that positivity was taken away when the media decided to change up what they were going to put on the airwaves, into your heads and ears,” Kasim assessed.
Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Brand Nubian, Papoose and Erykah Badu are scheduled to perform, with Boot Camp Click, Just Ice, King Sun, Poor Righteous Teachers, Wu-Tang, Jay Electronica and Jay Z being among those invited.
Lord Jamar concluded, “Some of your greatest MCs in hip-hop were either from the NGE or influenced by the NGE. That’s something that needs to be acknowledged.”
For more information, visit noge50thyearconcert.com.