RapCOINTELPRO IX – The “Biggie’s-Behind-The-Murder-Of-Tupac” Theory


Cedric Muhammad

Cedric Muhammad

Yesterday, while a panelist on Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s Hip-Hop Braintrust issue forum, at the Congressional Black Caucus convention, I commented on how many were inappropriately describing last week’s Los Angeles Times’ series on Tupac’s murder – which attempts to position the Notroious B.I.G. as the conspiratorial mastermind – as bad journalism and sensationalism. Considering that we have spent tens of thousands of words, over a two-year time, in an 8-part series, describing the real probablility and evidence that the government is involved in destablizing Hip-Hop culture and the industry that it has spawned, and as a result an entire generation and people(s); it is only natural that we would reject the sensational/bad journalism explanation as too superficial, and even, an unintentional trivialization of the murder of Tupac.

While many leading figures in the Hip-Hop community rapidly responded to the story – denouncing, dismissing and refuting it, there is still missing a serious critique as to what the driving force is behind not only the most recent reporting on Tupac’s murder, but the entire “cottage industry” that has developed around both murders. Is it purely the profit motive and/or bad reporting that is at the root of the documentaries, articles, and books that claim that Suge Knight is behind the murder of Biggie and now, that Biggie was behind the murder of Tupac?

We think not.

In 1994, I received a letter from the late Colonel Fletcher Prouty who served, at one point, as the liasion between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA. Part of what Colonel Prouty wrote in his letter to me, and which he elaborated upon in greater length, in several of our conversations, in his Alexandria, Va. home, last decade, was that the “cover story” of a criminal event is just as important as the crime itself. Colonel Prouty spoke specifically of this concept in terms of the murder of President John F. Kennedy (it was he who wrote the portion of the script for Oliver Stone’s movie that explains who may have been behind the assasination of the President of the United States). In an August 1994 letter, he wrote to me:

“…you will recall that I view the whole assassination process in a much different way than others.

Man-lookingThroughBlinds-Rap-cointelproFrom my experience and point of view the whole thing was an elaborately planned conspiracy to accomplish a Coup d’etat. To do so it was necessary to kill JFK, among other things. This is why there has never been any prosecution or trial for anyone since that crime. A coup d’etat of such dimensions is carefully planned, is the consensus decision of many powerful people, and then the work of pure professionals who are highly skilled.

For such a plan, the most important part is the “Cover Story.” The murder took a bit of deft work and then a terrific load of cover story all the way from Oswald to books and media collaboration and the masterful scenario of the Warren Commission Report. We live with a 30-year old story today.

When I was the Chief of Special Operations in the Pentagon during the years 1955-1964, I worked at three levels, Air Force, Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In all cases wherever my office was there would be a “Cover and Deception” office nearby. I had the operations to run. They had the big job of covering the operation. That’s work, and effective.”

It is a historical fact that the media has been used, willingly and unwillingly, to write cover stories aiding government efforts to disrupt Black organizations. One example, which we have presented and which none of our detractors have been able to overcome is the manner in which the media was used against the Nation Of Islam in 1959. Here is what we wrote in part III of this series on :

In a book entitled This Is The One, written by Nation of Islam Minister Jabril Muhammad (he was known as Minister Bernard Cushmeer when he wrote This Is The One) the question of the coordination of media outlets in a propaganda war against the Nation of Islam was raised. Keep in mind that Minister Muhammad began writing this book in the late 60s when COINTELPRO was not known to be in existence by the general public. This kind of reminds me of the situation that we find ourselves in today, where, for the most part members of the Black and Hip-Hop Community don’t have public knowledge of any intelligence campaign being waged against them by the FBI, CIA or NSA. Here is the actual quote of what Minister Muhammad wrote in his book which he began in 1968:

“Back In 1959, the white press, as if on signal, launched a furious attack on Messenger Muhammad and The Nation Of Islam, following the dishonest portrayal of us entitled: “The Hate That Hate Produced.” Through such publications as Time, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, The Reporter, Esquire, Confidential, True, Saga, and a host of other magazines and newspapers; white America spewed forth a flood of articles, both superficial, spurious and poisonous in nature. A few among them did a creditable job, as far as they went. But the bulk of what was written was insidious and rotten to the core. But it did not hurt us.

“There is plenty of evidence to show that much of the material was deliberately misleading. There are instances when reporters found interpolations in the text of their stories that were altered, here and there, by their ‘bosses’ so as to misrepresent their findings of the Messenger and his followers.

“The white people – newscasters, commentators, etc., – have lied in concert. The television newsmen were not, and are not, above editing their films in such manner as to actually tell lies to their viewers. They conspired to deceive the public regarding Messenger Muhammad. This can be proven with ease. Members of a large orchestra do not accidentally play the same tune.”

Was Minister Muhammad right? According to a White Swedish Scholar, Mattias Gardell, he was absolutely correct. In Mr. Gardell’s book, In The Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan And The Nation Of Islam, published in 1996 (28 years after Minister Muhammad began his book) Gardell verifies the truth of what Minister Muhammad wrote. Gardell writes:

In 1959, the FBI launched a large-scale media campaign. In this first phase, the FBI briefed selected journalists who wittingly channeled the view of the bureau to the American public. The special agent in charge (SAC) in Chicago, wrote: “Originally the program was centered around espousing to the public, both white and black, on a nationwide basis the abhorrent aspects of the organization and its racist, hatetype teachings. This was done in such leading magazines as Time, U.S. News and World Report, Saturday Evening Post etc., as well as through newspapers.” The sudden outburst of media interest is commented on by NOI apologist Jabril Muhammad (then Bernard Cushmeer). His view might have seemed overly paranoid to some readers, but Cushmeer was correct: “Back in 1959, the white press, as if on signal, launched a furious attack on Messenger Muhammad and the Nation of Islam…white America spewed forth a flood of articles, both superficial, spurious and poisonous [sic] in nature…They conspired to deceive the public…Members of a large orchestra do not accidentally play the same tune.”

In the notes in his book, Gardell makes reference to the actual FBI files that he saw, on which he bases his statements.


Some have been offended by our constant admonition, begun in the year 2000 to consider that the very same tactics used against organizations and communities under the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO)run by J. Edgar Hoover, are being used against Hip-Hop. Others, especially Hip-Hop magazine journalists, have argued in public and private that our effort has trivialized COINTELPRO.

By now, since we first presented our thesis, we think that plenty of evidence has surfaced and been reported by the mainstream media, that supports the validity and legitimacy of our arguments. Not the least of these forms of evidence is the fact that the New York City Police Department (NYPD), has publically admitted that it has the city’s Hip-Hop community and industry under surveillance. The arrest of Jay-Z, in 2001, on gun charges, at a New York nightclub was partly the result of this effort, which involves the New York Street Crime Task Force Unit. Anyone who knows the history of COINTELPRO can immediately make the connection betwen local innercity police departments and the FBI.

More evidence was provided in 2000, when we were the only alternative media outlet, that in detail covered the Congressional hearings on the DEA investigation of Rap-A-Lot Records, James Prince and Scarface which involved several informants in Houston’s 5th ward and an admitted attempt to turn Scarface against Rap-A-Lot Records founder, James Prince or James Smith.

A letter was also released during the hearings written by James B. Nims, Group Supervisor in the DEA, to Rep. Dan Burton (R-In), chairman of the Committee on Government Reform which revealed that multi-platinum artist, Scarface, was a significant target of the DEA investigation and that the DEA was working to get Scarface to “turn” against James Smith, whose innocence has been maintained.

In the letter Nims writes to Burton:

“In regards to the US Attorney’s Office, we could not convince them to indict Brad Jordan, AKA “Scarface”, even though I strongly believe we had him tied in solidly on a federal drug conspiracy charge. This was devastating to the case as we felt that Brad Jordan could have provided us with important leads and information regarding Mr. Smith.”

And of course, there is the still unresolved matter of the fact that Biggie and Puffy’s entourage were being trailed by undercover NYPD, and ATF agents at the very time that Biggie was murdered. Members of the entourage were shocked, during questioning by police, when they were shown photograghs of individuals and vehicles said to be taken by law enforcement officers only moments before the murder took place.

Like the assasination of JFK, no one has been arrested or prosecuted in the murders of both Biggie and Tupac. Yet, despite the fact that it is in the public record that both Death Row Records and Bad Boy Records were under FBI, ATF, IRS, NYPD, LAPD, Las Vegas PD investigations at the time of both murders, the books, articles, and documentaries that are in the most plentiful and prominent supply revolve only around the theories that Biggie and Tupac and/or their associates and allies were behind each other’s murders. The furthest anyone seems willing to go (unfortunately, even Biggie’s family) is to say that the LAPD is involved in a cover-up. Why, we consistently wonder, isn’t the suspicion involving both murders taken up to the NYPD, ATF and FBI who had Biggie and Tupac under their watchful eye?

Looks more like a cover story than bad journalism to us.

Congresswoman McKinney, yesterday, in speaking about the matter, made a powerful point about one of the 5 major goals of COINTELPRO, outlined in a March 4, 1968 memo by J. Edgar Hoover. Rep. McKinney said that one of the goals of COINTELPRO was to make sure that Black youth never had a spokesperson. The Congresswoman stated that Hip-Hop was supplying such persons.

The fifth goal of COINTELPRO was :

5. A final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of militant black organizations, especially among youth. Specific tactics to prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed

We should consider all of this when we are tempted to believe that all of these articles which pit East Coast Rappers against West Coast Rappers; Bloods Vs. Crips; Biggie Vs. Tupac; Suge Knight Vs. Puffy; New York vs. Los Angeles are explained away as mistakes or poor forms of journalism.

In light of the documented history of COINTELPRO which involved the U.S. government’s use of media against organizations that it disliked, we must be wiser, more alert and studious in our view of media reports that aggravate underlying tensions that exist within the Black community – and which pit Brother vs. Brother.

Next Week: What we can do to get to the top and bottom of both Biggie and Tupac’s murders.


Cedric Muhammad

Friday, September 13, 2002

Rap COINTELPRO VIII pt2 Jada vs Beanie and Suge’s Release

Cedric Muhammad

Cedric Muhammad

Underneath the braggadocio, hubris and arrogance in the comments that Hip-Hop artists direct at one another in the media, is a mixture of unwarranted confidence, greed, vanity, insecurity and envy and jealousy. The vast majority of the aforementioned characteristics have little or no redeeming qualities at all. They have led to the shedding of blood, lying, robbery, slander, libel, and the general disrespect for others. Most rappers, even in their creative works, speak in great detail, in a negative way, of the destruction that these human traits often cause. It is obvious from just a cursory sampling of the most popular rap songs, that Hip-Hop artists are intimately acquainted with the dark side of human nature and frequently criticize what they witness and experience in this area. Artists have proven that they are capable of identifying and condemning these qualities. If that is the case, and it is, then why are these character flaws so pervasive in the music business and among entertainers, in general? And more importantly, why are they so visibly displayed in the public conduct of Hip-Hop artists?

At a certain point Hip-Hop artists seem to recognize that even within the music industry, these character flaws not only put their lives in danger, but also pose a serious threat to their careers and business enterprises. However, by the time artists honestly admit that their lives, careers and business enterprises are threatened by their personal imperfections and those of others, and the manner in which they manifest themselves in the music business, many artists think that it is “too late” to alter the image that has been crafted for them, or to change their public conduct, even, the very words that they use in public and the tone and spirit in which they convey those words.

A large part of the inertia, resistance and fear that keeps artists from evolving toward greater consciousness and conduct comes from, or is directly connected to, the pressure and temptation to use the media for personal and professional gain.



It is this dynamic which we have focused on in recent weeks in both the end of the Beanie Sigel-Jadakiss “problem” and the release of Suge Knight from jail.

In the Beanie Sigel-Jadakiss problem we identified how, regardless to the conduct of the reporter and media publication involved, both artists attempted to use the controversy stemming from the rumors, perceptions and idea that they were feuding with one another, to sell records. We are not sure how it all evolved, but at a certain point, both artists decided to use the controversy for personal and professional gain. This is dangerous, and eventually that fact became obvious to both artists and to others like Russell Simmons, who decided that enough was enough and stepped in to encourage a reconciliation of both talented artists, who are both increasingly wealthy Black men, under 30 years of age.

In the case of Suge Knight we watched, hoping for the best, as Suge Knight gave several interviews prior to and immediately upon his release from jail. We recognized right away what was happening. Although he knew of the great risks involved and what some mischief-makers in the media would do with his words, Suge Knight made a conscious decision to use the media for personal and professional gain, partly to clear the air on a variety of issues, but also to promote his record label. But as we watched, at different moments of the various interviews that Suge Knight did for media outlets, we could literally see how Suge was walking an apparently impossible tightrope, laid out for him by the interviewer and his own motivations and strategy. He did pretty well trying to avoid the obvious and not-so obvious minefields in the loaded questions hurled his way by interviewers, who do not give a damn about Hip-Hop, but we believe he made some mistakes that can and probably will be used against him and the entire Hip-Hop community, in the future.

Placeholder-KRS-GreenIt can certainly be said that competition and frank verbal communication are what make Hip-Hop, in certain ways, very special. There is a tremendous value placed upon the full expression of the individual in Hip-Hop, which is admirable. And there is a constant attention placed upon the improvement of one’s skills and the mastering of their craft. Comparisons play a big part in this. It is hard to not watch or read a Hip-Hop interview where one artist is not compared to another. Comparisons are not inherently bad. Neither is competition. But the same can not be said for invidious comparisons which now seem to be increasingly common in Hip-Hop and in the positioning of Hip-Hop artists in alternative, Black and music industry-related media and particularly in the mainstream media, which serves an audience that is unfamiliar with the nuances of the Hip-Hop community and industry. That is why it was so easy for those who get their picture of Hip-Hop from the mainstream media to be deceived into believing that the murders of Biggie and Tupac were the result of an East Coast/West Coast rap feud – a picture that was largely created by provocative articles written in Hip-Hop publications fed by the actual words of Hip-Hop artists.

Yet and still, after having seen how the media handles comparisons and the words of artists, Hip-Hop artist after Hip-Hop artist, as well as executives, continue to feel a need to talk to media outlets that have demonstrated in the past, that they do not value the lives of the members of the Hip-Hop community nor the words of the leading figures in that community. Indeed, some even feel the need to bring hostile or at least, unfriendly media outlets into private Hip-Hop settings, supposedly to make sure that “the message gets out”. We noticed this at the recent Hip-Hop summit where WNBC, NY Post and CNN reporters were given preferential treatment and access to Summit participants over Black, alternative and Hip-Hop media because of the supposed need for “exposure”. What good is exposure, we thought, if it is distorted?

Our hope is that Hip-Hop will pass this current trial that it is undergoing by mastering the manner in which members of the community communicate with one another. While we all have imperfections, we sincerely hope that artists, writers, DJs, radio morning show hosts and rap video hosts will resist the temptation to use various forums for narrow personal and professional gain, at the expense of others in the Hip-Hop community. The mere fact that we have to use others, outside of the community, in order to learn about one another in the first place, should provide a sober reminder of the tremendous vulnerabilities that exist within the community and which make us all susceptible to the evil efforts of others who would very much like to see Hip-Hop destroyed, once and for all.

There is no need to help that plan along simply because we could not control our tongue(s).

Here is a portion of the Bible, which provides insight and instruction regarding the power of our mouths to build and destroy.

It is certainly food for thought for those of us who reach hundreds, thousands and millions with our pens and our tongues. It also is especially relevant to artists who are victims of invidious comparisons and their own “need” to use the media to further themselves and their careers in a shortsighted manner.

James 3- 4:1-3 from the New American Standard Version:

James 3
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,
but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

James 4
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?
You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.


Cedric Muhammad

Friday, August 17, 2001

Rap COINTELPRO VIII: Jada Vs Beanie and Suge’s Release

Cedric Muhammad

Cedric Muhammad

Yesterday, August 9, 2001, on Power 99 FM’s Dream Team morning show, Jadakiss repeatedly stated that he did not say what Shaheem Reid and The Source magazine quoted him as saying about Philadelphia in their July issue. Jadakiss also repeatedly said, over the air, that when he sees him in the future he fully intended to “smack the writer” of the article in The Source, that many now claim is responsible for sparking the tensions between Jadakiss and Beanie Siegel and Jadakiss and Philadelphia and for portraying trivial private problems rooted in competition between Roc-A-Fella and Ruff Ryders, as a growing feud.

Some people were defensive and offended when we wrote over the past month that The Source was being reckless and irresponsible in what it did in attempting to hype up the comments allegedly made by Jadakiss in the article. We outright stated that the manner in which they positioned Jadakiss’ quote was a deliberate attempt to grab the attention of the casual reader and intrigue them with the possibility that Jadakiss and Jay-Z were feuding. We also talked about the possibility that we believed that the writer of the story, Shaheem Reid, deliberately worked to pit Jadakiss and Beanie Siegel against each other. In our June 29th Hip-Hop Fridays article we wrote:

“But you can tell that this reporter, Shaheem Reid, was desperate to have his article break the news of this supposed “Jay-Z- Jadakiss beef”. If you read his quotes you can almost literally see him tripping over himself running to the phone to call Beanie Sigel to tell him what Jadakiss allegedly said to him about Philly.”

If we were wrong then who was the intermediary between Jadakiss and Beanie in reference to what Jadakiss allegedly said? Who told Beanie what Jadakiss allegedly said, if not Shaheem Reid or an editor of The Source?



Jadakiss repeatedly told Wendy Williams and the members of The Dream Team that he did not say what The Source quotes him as saying. He was asked several times by different members of the morning show, from different angles, and the answer, from Jadakiss, was always the same: he did not say what was quoted. He also added that he does not mince his words, if he said what said he did he would be the first to admit it. He made clear that it is his view that the writer of the article lied about the truth of his (Jadakiss’s) words.

Now, if Jadakiss is right, then all of this goes back to our opinion that rap magazines are as vulnerable to the spirit, tactics and practices of the FBI’s COINTELPRO today as they were 35 years ago. It is a demonstrated fact that the FBI planted stories; fed reporters lies and misinformation about people; positioned photographs and headlines in order to make certain pieces of information stand out and easier to digest; and misquoted individuals. All with the goal of discrediting and disrupting individuals and organizations and sparking envy, jealousy and civil wars between organizations with similar missions. This is a fact which we wrote about and provide the clear evidence of in our RAPCOINTELPRO series

We are not saying that Shaheem Reid is an FBI agent. We don’t know Shaheem Reid or what goes into Shaheem Reid’s writing. But we know that whatever the cause of his writing, the effect was that it contributed to sparking and escalating a potential conflict, that could have turned violent between Jadakiss and Beanie Siegel and even between Yonkers, New York (where Kiss is from) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where Beans is from).

Victims quite often could care less about the cause or effect of harm done to them – they are often in so much pain or so unaware of what has happened to them.

Akiba Solomon

Akiba Solomon

Akiba Solomon, editor-at-large of The Source, took exception with this part of what we wrote on June 29th:

“The Source in many ways is like the CIA or FBI doing intelligence work among groups they want to destroy. They like to throw the rock into the crowd and then hide their hand. When ill feelings, envy, resentment and feuds are fed by articles that they print in their magazine and people point the finger at them, The Source takes the attitude of “Who, Me?”. They express concern about ending violence in Hip-Hop and then they run stories that pit one rapper against the other. Even if they aren’t outright agents of the government sent to destroy Hip-Hop, the effect is the same. So, what is the real difference between a paid agent and one who does the same work for the sake of magazine sales and advertising revenue?”

But how is what we wrote inappropriate, especially in light of the fact that Jadakiss denies saying what The Source said he did? And in light of the fact that The Source deliberately lifted Jadakiss’ quote in a manner that would make the reader think that Jadakiss had a problem with Jay-Z? On June 29th we wrote:

The interesting part about the Jadakiss article is that they place in the center of one of the pages, the quote that they attribute to Jadakiss supposedly about Jay-Z. That quote, lifted and put front and center in bold-print is designed to catch the attention of people who rapidly flip through the pages. It is deliberate..

Anyone who doubts this should grab a copy of the July 10th issue of The Source and look at the lifted quote for themselves. Several of our viewers told us that the quote was positioned so well and so prominently that it caught their attention as they were skimming through the magazine with no intention at all of reading the Jadakiss feature article.

Now, we do not hold Jadakiss and Beanie Siegel blameless. It is obvious that both artists, especially Jadakiss tried to turn the rumors, controversy and tension to their benefit by making freestyles on mix tapes dissing each other. They attempted to use the dangerous innuendo thrown into the water by The Source as a marketing ploy. They both figured that the controversy would help both of them sell albums. This is misguided and dangerous. And eventually both sides realized this. But they should have never used the appearance of two Brothers fighting each other as a marketing strategy. Both the executives of Roc-A-Fella and Ruff Ryders should not have risked injury and lives, including that of their respective artists, for the sake of extra record sales

And we do not think that it is appropriate or wise for Jadakiss to state that he intends to “smack the writer” of the article. If Shaheem Reid is responsible for falsely attributing comments to Jadakiss then we certainly can understand where Jadakiss is coming from and how he feels. Put yourself in his shoes. If what he says happened to him, was your experience, you too would probably want to “smack the writer”. But although your feelings may be justified, your actions would not be, in our opinion.

writer Shaheem Reid

writer Shaheem Reid

But even if it is true that Shaheem Reid did what he did, Jadakiss would only be giving Shaheem Reid and the ill-motivations of The Source, power over his bright future if he were to do what he says he will. By “smacking the writer” Jadakiss would be guaranteeing that he becomes the victim of the lies that were written about him.

On the other hand, we have not heard Shaheem Reid’s side of the story and until we do, we will reserve judgment on whether or not he outright lied on Jadakiss.

What we would advise Jadakiss to do, if what he says about what happened is true, is 1) never give The Source another interview again 2) ask Ruff Ryders to pull all of its advertising dollars out of The Source 3) Demand a public written apology from The Source and Shaheem Reid within a month 4) And if Shaheem Reid or The Source does not write an apology, Jadakiss should use every opportunity he gets in promoting his new album “Kiss The Game Goodbye” on television, cable and radio to call for a boycott of The Source.

That is much more effective than smacking the hell out of a writer, who may or may not have been manipulated or urged on to do what he or she did by editors and publishers.

Beanie Sigel

Beanie Sigel

Surely, Jadakiss right now, has just about more influence and attention than any other rapper in the game. If he wanted to, in effect, shut The Source down, he could do so almost single-handedly. He surely could do it if he and Ruff Ryders enlisted the help of Beanie Siegel and Roc-A-Fella in the effort. Instead of “uniting” to sell records by using a dangerous controversy popularized by a major magazine, perhaps both camps could “unite” and start a boycott of the major magazine responsible for much of the problem. That is much more constructive than violence on a journalist.

But surely any reasonable person can understand where Jadakiss is coming from, to an extent. If Jadakiss is correct and “the writer” lied on him, then his life (Jadakiss) was placed in danger by that lie. For a writer to falsely pit a rapper against an entire city, full of true die-hard Hip-Hop fans like those in Philly, is the height of wickedness.

At the very least The Source has some very serious questions to answer and Jadakiss can help all of us to get those answers if he reacts in a wise fashion or in the manner of a “boss” and “businessman” – the roles he publicly emphasizes that he is fulfilling every day. Anyone who has met him or heard him speak knows that Jadakiss has the necessary mind, eloquence, charisma and access to financial resources to deal with Shaheem Reid and the entire matter with the more wisdom than that which is embodied in an impulsive act of violence.

But again, if Jadakiss is right, then every Hip-Hop fan should feel the seriousness of the moment as well as the full extent of the “journalism crisis” in Hip-Hop that we have written about.

In addition, or rather, in light of the media’s role in hyping and circulating the Jadakiss-Beanie Siegel controversy, everyone should begin to seriously question the motive(s) surrounding the mainstream media’s recent interest in Suge Knight and the murders of Biggie and Tupac. Why haven’t the Hip-Hop media challenged what the mainstream media has been doing in its obviously wickedly motivated, and fallacious and flawed attempt to link Suge to the murder of Biggie through the recent Rolling Stone article and VH-1 documentary? What is it that makes the major Hip-Hop magazines silent, indolent and lethargic on this issue and many others that can spark violence in Hip-Hop?

Suge Knight

Suge Knight

As we have written now for several months, the combination of the silence, duplicity and innuendo of the Hip-Hop media establishment, in combination with other factors, has created the atmosphere for harm to be done to Suge Knight and for the blame for such to be placed on the shoulders of other rap artists. Why is this so hard to recognize? Hasn’t anybody noticed the angle being pushed in the litany of Suge Knight interviews in the mainstream media like MTV and Access Hollywood? It is obvious that specific questions are being asked and the cameras are rolling for reasons well beyond the legitimate news story that Suge Knight has been released from jail.

In these interviews you can literally see Suge Knight wrestling with his desire to promote records, improve his image and express his obvious joy to be free from jail as well as some bitterness that he feels, as he simultaneously works to avoid the traps, pitfalls and mischief making of those who are asking the questions. Suge knows that those people who are interviewing him are largely wickedly motivated and are mainly (not entirely) interested in getting him to say something about another rapper or individual(s) so that they can say that a rap war has been started or reignited. They also want him to implicate himself in crime(s) that he has repeatedly said he has not committed.

But is Suge making the same mistake that Jadakiss made in attempting to enlist a wickedly motivated media and volatile controversy in an attempt to sell records? Is such a strategy really successful, in the long-term, or does it actually shorten careers and lives? Or, better yet, have those in the media and the government who are working to destroy Hip-Hop, already factored in the powerful desire of Suge and rappers like Jadakiss to sell records into their (the media and government) plans to destroy Hip-Hop and spark controversy and violence?

Are the profit motive, marketing efforts and publicity campaigns serving a larger effort aimed at destroying Hip-Hop and the influence it is having on the world’s youth?

Is the desire for attention, publicity and profits on the part of Hip-Hop artists and executives a weakness being used by publications like The Source, Rolling Stone, MTV and VH-1, for example?

And specifically what about the massive attention that Newsweek magazine and The Imus In The Morning program have given to Suge Knight’s release? What is their motive? How do appearances on such shows and interviews with such publications, which disrespect Hip-Hop, serve Hip-Hop?

No matter how you look at it, Suge’s release and the Jadakiss-Beanie Siegel controversy have placed Hip-Hop at a fork in the road and in the beginning stages of its greatest test, ever.

Will we be able to pass the test without the unnecessary shedding of blood and loss of life?


Cedric Muhammad

Friday, August 10, 2001