There are not a lot of hip-hop artists talking about magic in their music these days, while there is definitely an underground movement, it is quite small and niche. I think because when one brings up the topic of Magic, the connotation is heavy and often negative. The word forms pictures of satanic rituals, occult warlocks summoning demons from the depths, dark robes and fearful symbols. Yes, magic can be a vehicle for negative emotions and intentions, but it can also be a vehicle for love and positivity. Most people will say "but your dealing with other world entities, you might get possessed" and yes this is true, if you mess around with the unknown you might get burnt.
While I find these occult topics interesting and one worthy of study, I do not partake in them. When I speak of magic, I speak of it as a much simpler term and one that is not so "magical" once broken down. I am talking about magic in the terms of altering ones consciousness, our own, as well as others. To bring this into the real world, lets talk about the magic of advertising, creating wants out of thin air. Its a trick of the entertainment industry, an illusion, much like the magician pulling a dove out of a hat. It is the creation of a belief in someone's mind that some item will change their life and millions of people fall under this spell everyday. People will go into massive amounts of debt by having their consciousness altered into believing the lies that they will be more beautiful, lovable, etc if only they have this or that. This is magic.
In terms of hip-hop and altering ones consciousness, I am talking about the magic of words, and yes our words are very magical indeed. I think this is best explained in Don Miguel Ruiz book "The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book". The Toltec teachings are similar to the Buddhist 4 Noble Truths, teachings on how to genuinely live ones life. Ruiz lays out the 4 agreements as such, Be Impeccable With Your Word, Do Not Take Anything Personally, Do Not Make Assumptions and Always Do Your Best.
Focusing on the first tenant, Impeccable Words, is how this all relates to hip-hop and magic. When hip-hop was in its early stages, it spoke of girls, partying and having a good time but it also spoke a lot about politics, activism, arming yourself with knowledge, education and learning as much as you can. I would say that hip-hop as a whole spoke mainly with Impeccable Words. As we all know, this has changed and steadily degraded to the point where we are now, lyrics as simple as nursery rhymes focused on money, drugs, consumer items and female body parts. Not very many Impeccable Words to be found.
So how does this relate to Magic? Don Miguel Ruiz states -
"Depending on how it is used, the word can set you free, or it can enslave you more than you know. All the magic you possess is based on your word. Your word is pure magic and misuse of your word is black magic...The human mind is like a fertile ground where seeds are continually being planted...What is important is to see what kind of seeds our minds are fertile for, and to prepare it to receive the seeds of love...One fear or doubt planted in our mind can create an endless drama of events. One words is like a spell, and humans use the word like black magicians, thoughtlessly putting spells on each other. Every human is a magician, and we can either put a spell on someone with our word or we can release someone with a spell."
This really makes me think about the content of the lyrics in mainstream hip-hop and pop songs that are looped endlessly all day and night on radio and TV. What kind of a subconscious impact are they having on people? What kind of spell are we being put under? How many times does a girl hear herself called a "hoe" before she believes it? How many times does a person hear they are "nothing but a G" until they start to act it out? This is why the "truth movement", for lack of a better word, is so important in hip-hop right now. All artists, big and small, who are speaking genuine truthful words need to build and come together and break this spell that is destroying the minds of the masses. A lot of us are waking up from this spell but there are so many more that are still sleeping, acting out a persona they do not realize is little more than a hypnotists trick.
In regards to the importance of truth in words, Ruiz also states that -
"These types of spells are difficult to break. The only thing that can break a spell is to make a new agreement based on truth. The truth is the most important part of being impeccable with your word. On one side of the sword are the lies which create black magic, and on the other side of the sword is the truth which has the power to break the spell of black magic. Only the truth will set us free."
So I guess my question to MC's today is, what side of the sword are you on? Next time you sit down to write, think about the power of your words, the intention behind them, and whether or not we are breaking the spell or making it stronger.
Much Peace and Love...