Bob Marley is considered to be one of the precursors to hip-hop culture, as much for his political sentiment as for his musical innovation. One of the statements from Bob Marley that echoes through all hip-hop is: "If you knew your history, you would know where you are coming from, and then you wouldn't have to ask me, who the hell I think I am". Hip-hop, as a culture, has been asked by the dominant culture "who the hell they think they are", and much of that has been part of the dominant culture's ignorance of its own history.

In 1995, KRS-One recorded a song aimed at C Delores Tucker, an African-American woman and hip-hop foe, entitled "Free Mumia". In the song, along with many other arguments and jibes, KRS-One seems to be taking Bob Marley's advice, to a degree that Marley might not have imagined, addressing issues of misogyny and violence going all the way to the dawn of world culture.

The line "Before long the Goddess Tiamat through hip-hop you'll be facing" makes reference to Tiamat, a Mesopotamian Water Goddess worshipped during pre-history and earliest history of Babylon. The myth of Tiamat is relatively common across cultures: an earlier, primordial deity is slain and cut up by younger deities, possibly children or grandchildren, and its corpse is used to create the world. One of the things that differ between the legend of Tiamat and the legend of Chronos, Uranus and Zeus is the fact that Tiamat is Goddess. Proponents of what is sometimes called eco-feminism, deep ecology, or the like believe that at an earlier stage, most societies worshipped Goddesses and were matriarchal, and that a certain point a military, male elite deposed both the matriarchy and the older Goddesses. While anthropologists and historians might debate the extent and goodness of early, Goddess-worshipping societies, this social change is still considered to be a valid theory of how societies developed.

KRS-One is responding to charges of hip-hop misogyny by alluding to several facts (or at least, he may be making any of these allusions, and possibly others): First, society devaluing women is part of a trend that started almost 10,000 years ago, and is hardly something invented by hip-hop in the last ten years. Second, much as the militarized male elites promised to "protect" women from "threats" (that consisted of the militarized male elites of other tribes), the same patriarchal social view is focusing on "protecting" against the supposed violent nature of hip-hop, and underclass black males, even though its basic tenents are much the same. Third, that hip-hop, as a force of chaos and change, is in the service of Tiamat, and may be one of the few sources of opposition to the military aristocracy that has been devaluing women for thousands of years.

When you bother to learn your own culture, things sometimes turn upside down.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.