When it comes down to rappers being accused of Illuminati association, Jay Z’s name not only is the first to come up but he’s generally cited as one of the alleged leaders as well.
The multi-accomplished Hip-Hop artist has done little to dispel the rumors; more so fueling them with coy and provocative imagery such as 2009’s video for “On to the Next One” from The Blueprint 3. This intentional presentation of his craft has allowed critical thinkers, crackpots and conspiracy theorists to liken his brand with the inevitable signifier of witchcraft.
Author Peter Bebergal falls along the line of one of the three aforesaid a personas and in his new book Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, he shifts the spotlight onto Jigga’s modus operandi for a well-thought argument on the ordeal.
An excerpt from the book via Vulture:
The video for Jay Z’s 2009 single “On to the Next One” is a masterpiece of symbolism. Jay Z stands in the center of the frame, haloed by a circle of dim lights behind him. Throughout the video, frame after frame of flashing images, is a well-dressed man in skull-like makeup reminiscent of the Joker; a white-gowned ninja battling the air with batons; a jewel-studded skull; smoke swirling into Rorschach test patterns; a crucifix; thick red lips dripping blood; and goat skulls with massive horns. Jay Z’s raps are fairly standard as far as hip-hop goes. It’s a self-referential narrative of success, of moving forward, not looking back, embracing his riches, and a warning that his fame and creative output are only going to get greater.
But pay closer attention, as certain fans indicate in the YouTube community, and you might see that some of these gestures and images that make up his persona point to the hidden secret of Jay Z’s success. It can’t be talent alone — no black man in America could make it as big as Jay Z without help from “the inside.” Underlying the truth is that Jay Z sold his soul to the devil — seen clearly in those horns that flash during the video. But this is not any devil. This is Baphomet, believed by some to be the hidden god of the Freemasons revealed during the 33rd degree ritual, who paves the way for the initiate to become part of an even greater fraternity known as the Illuminati.
Jay Z raps that he is in control of his own destiny but, studied from another angle, he might be merely a pawn in a sinister game of control.
Jay Z’s use of occult symbols and the public response to that use perfectly encapsulates the locus of the occult in popular culture. For Jay Z, the images work to ignite the imagination, as well as to create rumor and speculation, which can only help to sell albums and increase internet-video page views. As author Mitch Horowitz explains, Jay Z is a sharp businessman and an even craftier artist: “I think he’s a keen observer of everything going on around him. He’s a master at using subversive imagery.”
Read the rest of the excerpt over at Vulture and check out Bebergal’s book on Amazon right here. For further reference, the “On to the Next One” video can be found on the next page.