Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip hop and the Gods of New York” as Want to Read:
The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip hop and the Gods of New York
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Five Percenters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Five Percenters

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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).
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.
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!!
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...
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.
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.
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.
Jan 30, 2008 Darrell rated it really liked it
everything i wanted to know about NY rap but had no way of asking


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.
Jacob rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2015
Stevphen Shukaitis
Stevphen Shukaitis rated it really liked it
Jun 04, 2009
Brandon rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2011
Derrick Henderson
Derrick Henderson rated it liked it
Nov 11, 2015
Veeler.Play rated it did not like it
Mar 10, 2016
Tristan Broomhall
Tristan Broomhall rated it liked it
May 11, 2012
Kerre rated it liked it
Aug 27, 2010
Evan Burke
Evan Burke rated it really liked it
Jun 11, 2012
Mike Jordan
Mike Jordan rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2013
Rachel Giacomodonato
Rachel Giacomodonato rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2015
Charlie Rosenthal
Charlie Rosenthal rated it liked it
Aug 08, 2011
Bryan rated it it was ok
Feb 23, 2012
Patrick rated it it was amazing
Nov 16, 2015
Krupa rated it liked it
May 18, 2015
E Pierce
E Pierce rated it liked it
Sep 15, 2016
Joachim Stoop
Joachim Stoop rated it it was ok
Dec 05, 2013
bfred rated it liked it
Apr 08, 2011
Michael rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2011
Michael Parrish
Michael Parrish rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Who designed the Flag on the cover? 1 3 Oct 13, 2014 08:55PM  
  • Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America
  • The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease
  • The Africans Who Wrote the Bible
  • African Origins of the Major "Western Religions"
  • That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader
  • From Niggas to Gods Part One: Sometimes "The Truth"hurts...But It's All Good in the End.
  • Black Theology and Black Power
  • Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America
  • Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop
  • Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
  • Coltrane: The Story of a Sound
  • Paul Robeson
  • A New Religious America: How a "Christian Country" Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation
  • The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861
  • Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008
  • The Klan Unmasked
  • Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom
  • The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists
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
More about Michael Muhammad Knight...

Share This Book

“Harlem! The Mecca of the New Negro! My God! Carl Van Vechten” 0 likes
More quotes…