Righteous Minds: Connecting Black Liberation to Five Percenter Rap and Militant Rap


Alexa Harris


Maria Malagon, Professor of Chicano/a Studies, Cal State Fullerton

Righteous Minds is a project that examines two forms of conscious hip hop, five percenter rap and militant rap. For purposes of this research, five percenter rap is defined as hip hop that utilizes five percenter beliefs and black nationalistic philosophy, and militant rap refers to hip hop that examines politics and social movements in the context of Marxism and socialism. In order to understand these two rap forms and their social implications, content analysis of lyrics was conducted. In particular, five percenter lyrics from artist Planet Asia and lyrics from the militant rap group, Dead Prez, were analyzed. These two artists were chosen because they both shared the commonality of discussing and analyzing the status of African Americans in their lyrics, which was an essential component to the project. The analysis of these two groups suggest that these forms of hip hop can be valuable pedagogical tools to teach African Americans about their communities and history of oppression. As a result, the listener can begin to “decolonize their mind” with lyrics that seek to transform their thinking. I draw on three deconstructive frameworks, decolonization, miseducation, and re-Africanization. These frameworks form my hip hop liberation model. The model teaches African Americans that their mind has become colonized and miseducated through Eurocentric thinking. Coupled with re-Africanization and conscious hip hop lyrics, such as five percenter rap and militant rap, the listener can then free their mind from “conceptual incarceration”, or liberate them from Eurocentric thinking, and ultimately become “unshackled” from an oppressed mindstate. In the future, I hope to expand this project and bring hip hop into the classroom as a method for transformative education.

Presented by:


Saturday, November 23, 2013


9:55 AM — 10:10 AM


Hoover 104

Presentation Type:

Oral Presentation


Cultural Studies