That person is what?  Part of what?  The Illuminates?  Huh?  Rumors have been going around for centuries about this mysterious organization called the Order of the Illuminati.  Famous hip-hop artists like Jay-Z are believed to be a part of this organization.  What exactly is an illuminati?  What everyday signs and symbols represent them?  What is the difference between Five Percenters, and Illuminates?  Are these famous hip-hop icons really part of this group or just hungry for some attention?  The Illuminati is a fascinating group that has different views on religion and government compared to most people in today’s society.  That inevitably leads to them being hated, feared, misinterpreted, and kept a secret.

            Ruling the world, conquering existing governmental structures, and destructing all other religions are just a few of many goals of the conspiratorial movement called the Illuminati.  The liberal definition to the word illuminati is “enlightened ones.”  The people who joined this society believed they were free-thinkers.  The Order of the Illuminati was founded on May 1, 1776 by a professor named Adam Weishaupt (Mcllhany 32-33).  Over two hundred years later, people still do not know much about the Illuminates and their beliefs.  From killing other, to being killed off themselves, to risk being illicit time and time again, this organization has been through it all.  When created,  this Order was planned to “maintain publicly the image of a charitable and philanthropic organization” (Mcllhany 33).  Initially, Weishaupt intended on helping out the poor with donations and in the name of Christianity, allow all to be one, big, content, affluent family.  Through history, this organization has grown and survived countless attempts by others to be ended.  Less than ten years after its birth date, “the Elector of Bavaria publicly outlawed the Order and closed many of the freemasonic lodges known to be under its control” (Mcllhany 35).  Freemasonry is slightly different from Illuminates.  Unlike the Illuminates, Freemasons are not an organization planning to take over.  Freemasons are a social and moral Fraternity that is not “actually made up of ‘operative’ masons who originated in the early eighteenth century in England” (Gunn 2).  The Illuminates are a political and social reform organization (Gunn 1).  Many people began to be threatened, especially political leaders, when they discovered what the illuminates were really all about.

            Are they really part of the Order of the Illuminati?  That is the first question I ask myself when I hear about another famous person being a member of this organization.  Well known hip-hop artists such as Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West make the public think they are part of this group based upon their music and videos.  For example, Kanye West’s latest video, “Power,” distinctly uses illuminati symbols throughout the entire video.  According to the website Vigilant Citizen, the close-up of Kanye West’s “glow-in-the-dark eyes give, as if he was illuminated from within” is the first symbol in the video that leads the audience to draw conclusions about him whether true or not.  He says in the song, “In this white man’s world we the ones chose” (Vigilant Citizen 2010).  That line brings up many questions.  For starters, who are the chosen ones?  What have they been chosen for?  And who are these white men in charge?  Could he be referring to the original founders of the Order of the Illuminati giving him permission to become a significant body in the entertainment industry?  Could he be spreading the ideas in which the Illuminates believe through his music?  Many believe that this video is a parallel to ancient Egyptian magic.  Is the horned, albino girls holding staffs protecting the “Pharaoh” Isis and Hathor, the ancient Egyptian royal goddesses (Vigilant Citizen 2010)?  Why is there a sword hanging above Kanye’s head?  Is it supposed to symbolize the Sword of Damocles?  The part that gets me the most confused in the video is the ending.  Why do these assassins with two swords suddenly disappear when they are about to hit him?  Many cults believe in the “Killing of the King” ritual as a part of initiation (Mcllhany 33).  There are so many allusions created in this video that lead to the audience to believe that this video is all about being initiated into the cult.  “New candidates must symbolically die and be reborn to complete their initiation process” (Vigilant Citizen 2010).  Jay-Z also does many things to make people believe he is part of this secret society.  The website, Vigilant Citizen, explains hidden symbols and what they mean in music videos, movies, and society alone.  This website describes Jay-Z’s two videos, “Run This Town” and “On To The Next One” as having “hidden occult symbolism of skulls, crows, and anti-Christian messages (Gosa 13).  As Raz explains in his article titled, “Jay-Z:A Master of Occult Wisdom?” Jay-Z’s legendary hand gesture of the “pyramid and seeing eye” (as found on the back of the dollar bill) is done in most of his music videos and happens to be the symbol of his record label, Roc-A-Fella.  The first official reference to the “all-seeing eye” as being a Masonic symbol occurred in 1797 (Morris 2).  Travis L. Gosa brought up Jay-Z’s documentary film, Jay-Z: Hip-Hop’s Master Mason in his article.  In the video, it was said that Jay-Z was a 33rd degree Mason which is the highest rank a mason can be.  The video further supports this assertion by revealing Jay-Z’s nickname “Jay-Hova” sounds like “Jehovah” which means God, implying that he does in fact believe in the anti-Christ.  The thing I found most shocking about this video was something I never noticed before.  If you were to play Jay-Z’s song “Lucifer” backwards, you can hear him say “I can introduce you to evil” and “Murder Murder Jesus 6 6 6” (Gosa 14).  So at this point, the only thing going through my mind is why would Jay-Z voice his opinion so loudly yet so secretly?  Allegedly, “in exchange for record sales and stardom, rappers like Jay-Z agree to poison the minds of the black masses” (Gosa 14-15).  So you need to ask yourself, do all of these rumors make them illuminates?  Or are they simply people that love being in the spotlight and talked about?

            While doing my research on the Illuminati and Jay-Z, I cam across the group Five Percenters on numerous occasions.  More often than not, rappers who are Five Percenters are mistaken for Illuminates.  Due to their enigmatic status, many people did not know they existed.  Five Percenters are often viewed negatively.  This is because in most cases, people misinterpret what this religious group is all about.  They believe in self-knowledge or in other words “getting in touch with one’s inner God.  Instead of God occupying the heavens, Five Percenters teach that the black man is a living God on Earth” (Gosa 23).  As Knight explains in his book, “The Nations of Gods and Earth (NGE), better known as the ‘Five Percenters,’ provide a spiritual and social justice flavor to hip hop’s secretive knowledge” (Gosa 22).  The Five Percenters use hip-hop as their means of communication.  Why would they use hip-hop as a way to spread their beliefs?  They get their message across to the black population through rap artists such as Jay-Z and Kanye West.  Whether in his music videos, or in interview, or wherever, it is not uncommon for Jay-z to say the phrase, “Peace God.”  The Five Percenters say this expression to one another due to the fact that any black man on Earth is potentially God (Raz 2).  So this causes many people to believe that Jay-Z is actually a Five Percenter and not an illuminati.  Not only does Jay-Z say this distinctive saying often, but Jay-Z is also from New York City while the Five Percenters originated in Harlem.  While in Harlem, the Five Percenters had a great impact on hip-hop from the early 60’s through the late 90’s (Raz 2).  “During the so-called ‘golden age of hip hop,’ when political and Black Nationalist messages were part of popular rap, hundred of rappers identified with the NGE, including Rakim, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Poor Righteous Teachers, Digable Planets, and Brand Nubian” (Gosa 23).  These are all very well known rappers today.  So next time you hear “Peace God” you know exactly what they are talking about.

            This topic always held great interest to me because I never knew much about it.  Although there are a lot of assertions that lead to uncertainty, it is interesting to learn about these things.  Illuminates are a fascinating group with extraordinary beliefs that cause many rumors, true and false, to spread about them.  I hope I have opened your eyes a little bit to see things in a different light.  Next time you watch some of your favorite music videos, look out for these things.  And listen to the lyrics of the songs you listen to.  It might just surprise you what you hear when you pay close attention.  So tell me, do you believe it?

Works Cited

Gosa, Travis L. “Decoding Hip Hop Conspiracy Theory.” Web. 19 Oct. 2010.


Gunn, Joshua.  “Death By Publicity: U.S. Freemasonry And The Public Drama of

            Secrecy.“ EBSCOhost. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.



Mcllhany, William H. “A Primer on the Illuminati.” EBSCOhost. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.



Raz, Guy. “Jay-Z: A Master of Occult Wisdom?” EBSCOhost. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.