Cultural Revolutions

Falling Like a Ton of Discs

Guns N Roses, the rock group, said they liked being white, the music business fell on them like a ton of discs. But racial music is not always insensitive.

With what Washington Post music critic David Mills calls "unprecedented directness," Black Muslim rappers are hitting the charts with records preaching their esoteric doctrines. These include the idea that blacks are the chosen people of God, the only descendants of the real Adam, Shabazz; and that whites are a race of devils created by Mr. Yakoub, a mad scientist who didn't leave the underdone whites in his furnace long enough.

Another group of Muslims in the rap industry, the Five Percent Nation of Islam, holds that blacks are literal gods, but only 5 percent of them know it. Rap, they believe, will spread this gospel.

But there's a problem. White devils are making rap records, too. "Who gave permission to the slave master's son, to come among the gods and try to do the things we've done?" asks Wise Intelligent of the group Poor Righteous Teachers.

That's far from the only white misdeed. Crack, says Grand Puba Maxwell of the group Brand Nubian, comes "in a vial, set up by the devil as he looks and he smiles." Adds Lord Mustapha: "they injected us with syphilis" and now "they're trying to take us out with the AIDS virus."

The Grand Puba—whom David...

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