- Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 Oct. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1851686150
- ISBN-13: 978-1851686155
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.1 x 21.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 565,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip-hop and the Gods of New York Paperback – 1 Oct 2008
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"Knight does an excellent job of presenting the movement’s founders, belief system and its history as seen by the people who live it." (Monsters and Critics)
From Malcom X to the Wu Tang Clan, the first in-depth account of this fascinating black power movementSee all Product description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Mr. Knight has obviously done an immense amount of research into the topic and not as an objective outsider trying to offer a scholarly approach but as someone invested with the Gods as an ernest interest. The prose style of writing and the narratives of his encounters keep a work that in someone else's hands might become boring or dry, fresh and relatable. He makes you want to know more and keep digging into the subject to find the full 360 of every intricate detail.
This book isn't a light read and it isn't for someone with a passing interest just looking for a sound bite sized chunk of condensed knowledge but for those who really want to know about a very important but often overlooked and misunderstood piece of American cultural history that can get misrepresented or turned into something else by the other "85%".
If you've read any other works by Mr. Knight I urge you to check this one out as it's well worth the read.
Knight’s history of the Five Percenters and Hip Hop, while less personal than some of his other writings, and not as exciting or manic in its research, it follows them in its defense of American religious innovation and adaptation. The Five Percenters are not Muslims, and where appeals to the reformation of criminals and addicts, and immersion into some international framework has sometimes formed the basis of validating the Nation of Islam, the Five Percenters don’t offer, seek, or provide the same validation. These are people who fight in the military, drink what they want, celebrate Christmas, and don’t apologize for it. Apple pies are really Dutch or English, but the Five Percenters are as American as hip hop, and while the movement’s vocabulary and rhetoric might be drawn from any number of places, hip hop has disseminated it widely.
There was something odd and apt about a recent exchange between Lord Jamar and Michael Muhammad Knight over the former’s homophobic comments and the latter’s criticism of them, and what the recent exchange showed was Knight’s possible myopia in the book, his embrace and defense of the movement overlooking the powerful voice it has to disseminate sometimes reactionary rhetoric. Knight writes extensively about Brand Nubian and Lord Jamar in this book; but Brand Nubian was getting in trouble for violent homophobic lyrics back in 1992 when homophobia was even more commonplace.
I have not read “Why I am a Five Percenter,” but look forward to doing so. In the recent exchange with Lord Jamar, Knight was critiqued as something of an anthropological tourist, an exploiter of the movement, which seems off to me, but also seems troublingly difficult to shrug off or dismiss.
If you have never read anything about the 5% this is a good place to begin as far as I am concerned.