Most Negroes don't know anything about Muslims except Bow Ties and Bean Pies - that is, until they've been to prison.
Maybe this is why only Islam (or some form of it) has resonated within the Hip Hop community and, by extension, much of the Black community.
Maybe this is why the death of former Gangstarr member "Guru" hits home for many who no longer listen to rap.
Gangstarr's track on the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack is what introduced me to Jazz.
Before that track, I thought of Jazz as something only listened to by ones parents while they were getting drunk and reminiscing about past accomplishments with their friends.
After that track, I bought the tapes (yeah.... it was that long ago) of the artists mentioned by Guru.
Gangstarr was part of a wave of self-aware Negroes who thought of themselves as more than what society had deemed them to be.
During this time HBCUs, Spike Lee, The Cosby Show (and A Different World), and these Five Percent influenced groups (Afrika Baambataa, Public Enemy, Eric B and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Gangstarr, Wu Tang Clan, ... the list goes on) were the end result of the Black Power movement from the Sixties and Seventies.
A new generation of Blacks no longer felt limited to the common stereotypes put forth by the popular media.
Odd that only Islam had such power in a country whose media dominated by Christians and Jews.
Sure, Matisyahu is the man - but he is more Rastafarian than Rap.
Asher Roth or The Beasties?
These still can't measure up to the Muslim influence on Hip Hop.
Isn't that an oxymoron?
So yes, today another part of Hip Hop died.