Nation of Islam plans rap summit

September 17, 1996

Nation of Islam plans rap summit
SUN STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

NEW YORK — The Nation of Islam is gathering some of the biggest rap stars to discuss how to promote peace in the wake of Tupac Shakur’s shooting death in Las Vegas.

The “day of atonement” is set for Sunday at Mosque No. 7 in Harlem, said Minister Conrad Muhammad, the Nation of Islam’s New York representative.

“There’s nothing we can do to bring Tupac back, but there are tens of thousands who admire him,” Muhammad said today. “This meeting is to give some clarity to his life so they won’t immortalize the worst of him and try to imitate that.”

Muhammad said that confirmed participants include Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, and his producer Sean “Puffy” Combs”; A Tribe Called Quest; former Public Enemy frontman Chuck D; hip-hop pioneers DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa; and actors Malik Yoba and N’Bushe Wright.

The meeting, Muhammad said, would call for rap fans “to atone for the self-destructive, genocidal lifestyle that has claimed one of the potentially most brilliant black artists we have ever produced.”

Shakur, whose violent “gangsta” raps sold millions of albums, died six days after being hit four times in a drive-by shooting Sept. 7 on East Flamingo Road. Death Row Records chief Marion “Shug” Knight also was hit but not seriously injured in the shooting following the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon heavyweight fight at the MGM Grand.

No arrests have been made. Metro Police continue to investigate but have few clues, partly because of a lack of cooperation from Knight and others in the Shakur entourage.

Muhammad noted that rapping originated as a way for gangs to compete without violence.

“Crews battled each other break-dancing and rapping on the mike to get away from kil#i*gg each other,” he said. “The irony is that 15 years later, hip hop has become gangsterized.”

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