Holders of the light. The torchbearers. The light bearers. Anything dealing with the light.

That’s Professor Griff’s definition of the Illuminati, a buzzword has shot to the forefront of the collective hip hop conversation. The Illuminati is a secret society that was founded in 1776 in Germany. It was a group of freethinking individuals who espoused the ideals of the Enlightenment: freedom of thought and equality among classes of people. Ideals that were considered by the authorities as being heretical and treacherous.

The group was later disbanded by the 18th century. This isn’t where the story ends.

According to Griff, the Illuminati still exists and permeates all facets of society. The Rothchilds, Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, Jay-Z, P. Diddy, Madonna, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Beyonce, Kanye West are all names that have been mentioned in connection with a secret society that controls the machinations of this country. Maybe overseas too.

The group is comprised of the most influential vanguards of our culture. Where did this fascination come from? What is it? Why should we even care?

Consider the case of Tupac Shakur. A simple Google search of “Tupac and Illuminati” will yield enough theories to make your favorite scientist’s head explode. When Tupac released The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory under his new alias Makaveli, many didn’t think much of the album title besides the change in nomenclature.

“Oh, this Makaveli character is named after some Italian philosopher he read about when he was in prison.”

Because of the philosophies of said philosopher, Nicholas Machiavelli – who advocated faking one’s death to elude enemies – many felt that Pac was trying to tell us something. What that something was, we couldn’t put our finger on. So the dominant thought at the time: Pac isn’t really dead.

Fourteen years and one “unsolved” murder later, there is another school of thought about that. The Don Killuminati. “Don” means leader. Kill. Illuminati.

“Oh snap! Pac was killed because he was going to expose the Illuminati. That’s why there is no convicted killer in this case!”

That’s one perspective. Another is that Pac was attempting to dispel the rumor of the Illuminati’s existence. This theory continues to beg the question of Pac’s unsolved murder. Both fascinating theories, but unsubstantiated nonetheless.

On a more recent note, take the case of Jay-Z.

Throughout his career, he has alluded to underworld ties in his songs. That’s not uncommon among rappers. But on some tracks, Jay-Z was a little too specific. Take the chorus in his song “D’Evils” for example:

“Dear God, I wonder can you save me?”
“Illuminati want my mind, soul, and my body…”
“Dear God, I wonder can you save me?”
“Secret society, tryin’ to keep they eye on me…”
“Dear God, I wonder can you save me?”
“Illuminati want my mind, soul, and my body…”
“Dear God, I wonder can you save me?”

You have two of the most well-known rappers ever mentioning the Illuminati in their music. Either they have great imaginations or there must be some truth to its existence.

Consider a line in “Run This Town”:

“Uh, uh, and ain’t nobody fresher,
I’m in Ma(i)son, uh, Martin Margiela”

Of course, those were designers he was alluding to. But anybody who is familiar with Jay-Z’s music know he is a master of double-entendres. The rumors of Jay-Z’s Free Mason/Illuminati involvement intensified so much that he felt the need to address it on a newly-released track off Rick Ross’ upcoming album, called “Free Masons”.

“Niggas couldn’t do nothing with me, they put the devil on me……Rumors of Lucifer, I don’t know who to trust, whole world want my demise/turn the music up/hear me clearly, if ya’ll n—as fear me/just say just say y’all fear me.”

“F— all these fairy tales/ Go to hell, this is God engineering/this is a Hail Mary/pass y’all interfering/he without sin shall cast the first stone/so y’all look in the mirror, double check y’all appearance/ B–ch, I said I was amazing/Not that I’m a Mason/……… I’m on my third six, but a devil I’m not/my Jesus piece flooded/but thou shall not covet…”

This is the most overt attempt by Jay-Z, the most successful rapper ever, to dispel these rumors. He isn’t the first entertainer to be dogged with calls of occult worship, so the fact that he felt the need to address the choruses is telling. Telling of what though?

Regardless of how many signs and (not so) subtle verses an artist drops or gives, there is no definitive proof of an existence of a secret society. The use of signs and symbols in our interpretation of life is nothing new.  Egyptians used symbols that many associate with Freemasonry. The eye of Horus (most recently rocked by Kanye). The pyramids (think dollar bill…or the Roc signs thrown in the picture above). The phallic symbol (penis) that is the Washington Monument.

According to the Christian faith, these are Satanic symbols. Considering we live in a predominantly Christian society, it’s no surprise why this topic has created so much backlash.

Perhaps it’s all rubbish. After all, even Soulja Boy has a tattoo of a pyramid on his back.

If this is all true and our favorite artists, entertainers or politicians are a part of some secret cult, why should we care? What does this say about the subliminal messages in our music? At worse, this question is a meaningless, time-consuming vetting of people we’ll probably never meet anyway. At best, this question could serve to make people more aware of what they let into their ears and eyes.

Either way, it’s great theater. I got my popcorn.

RickRoss: “FreeMason” (Feat Jay-Z) by clutchmag

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