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The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip hop and the Gods of New York
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The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip hop and the Gods of New York

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Sensationalized and reviled as the Hell’s Angels of Black America, the Five Percenters (also known as the Nation of Gods and Earths) began as a cluster of outcasts from the Nation of Islam’s Harlem mosque in the 1960s. Led by a man named Allah, the Five Percenters taught the city’s black youth that they were gods. From their marginalized beginnings, the movement’s history ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published May 24th 2007 by Oneworld Publications
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Benjamin
Dec 04, 2007 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: grafted seeds
Shelves: hip-hop
This book has completely changed not only the way I listen to artists like Rakim and Wu-Tang Clan, but also the way I think about the public bus I ride to work. It's not the 92A, it's the Born Knowldege Allah bus. Seriously, this book tells a sympathetic version of the story of how Clarence 13X taught Supreme Wisdom Lessons and a new mathematics to youth in New York City and how those youth became a new religious movement, a movement that insists it isn't a religion. Some of the stories in here ...more
Matt Friedman
Mar 20, 2015 Matt Friedman rated it it was amazing
Clearly the definitive text in print on the subject. I appreciate the manner in which Knight wishes to look for ways to link NGE with "al-Islam," especially in comparison with certain streams of "intoxicated" Sufism (e.g., Hallaj, Ibn Arabi). As he himself notes, however, this may be a bit of a stretch, even a tad naive. Well-done overview, almost a monograph with some personal narrative thrown in, and extensive use of primary sources (including oral sources, clearly important in this context).
Martin
Jan 06, 2010 Martin rated it really liked it
Knight's book, while uneven at times, is a densely packed look into the world of the Five Percenters. The book begins primarily as a historical account, becoming at the end more akin to Knight's strength, travel writing. The account to say the least is amorphous, yet this aptly reflects the oral nature of the sources at hand as well as the malleable sense of memory cultivated by the community. While the whole may be difficult, if not elusive, to grasp, it is well worth the time.
Q
May 01, 2009 Q rated it really liked it
kinda blew my mind. i knew a very little bit about the five percenters from paying a little attention to various hip hop lyrics over the years, but really delving into the history and ideology of both the NOI and the Five Percenters is really crazy. totally recommended for those of us who listened to lots of hiphop growing up. peace!!
Travis
Aug 27, 2009 Travis rated it liked it
Curious about the 'mathematics' references certain rappers (GZA, Rakim) drop? The 85%, 10% & then the 5% of 'poor righteous teachers' get covered here.

Even just as a historical overview of the genealogies of Black Muslims in the U.S. the book is really interesting. Might depend on your tolerance for numerology, cults & the oral tradition though...
Bob
Mar 18, 2012 Bob rated it it was amazing
Excellent and well-rounded (and personal) (and well-researched) exploration into the world of (NYC's) Harlem's indigenous social-mystic movement, The Nation of Gods and Earths. Otherwise known as The Five Percenters. Think Wu-Tang and Supreme Mathematics....
Isaac Holloway
Oct 04, 2012 Isaac Holloway rated it liked it
very dense well researched book almost to the point of going seemingly off topic. I came to this book seeking a description and analysis of the 5%er philosophy and got more of a genealogy. it became a lil laborious to read but it provides excellent insights nonetheless.
Calvin
Dec 23, 2008 Calvin rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I found it slightly repetitive. But, then again, I didn't finish it :) But I didn't finish it because I found it slightly repetitive. Ah, well, still interesting topic.
Beautiful
Dec 29, 2007 Beautiful rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want another perspective of the NGE
Very well written book. Disheartening at times when you learn what the elites have attempted to do to dismantle a powerful movement of original people who was in quest for knowledge of self.
Darrell
Jan 30, 2008 Darrell rated it really liked it
everything i wanted to know about NY rap but had no way of asking

terrific!

a whole culture is made clear to me
Bo'kem Allah
Jan 09, 2013 Bo'kem Allah rated it it was amazing
Excellent book to gain an understanding of how Allah's 5% Nation of Gods & Earths started and how it grew and developed throughout the early years.
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Who designed the Flag on the cover? 1 3 Oct 13, 2014 08:55PM  
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Michael Muhammad Knight (born 1977) is an American novelist, essayist, and journalist. His writings are popular among American Muslim youth. The San Francisco Chronicle described him as "one of the most necessary and, paradoxically enough, hopeful writers of Barack Obama's America," while The Guardian has described him as "the Hunter S. Thompson of Islamic literature," and his non-fiction work ...more
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