By John Richard Austin IV (pka Ras Kass)
First of all, I need to explain the inception of my song “How to Kill God.” Around 1999, I had an epiphany. After being just two albums into my major label record deal, I had encountered an endless amount of politics, treachery, envy and overall shadiness. I knew that by my last contractual album — the fifth — I wanted to go out with a bang, create my opus, and really tell people what I thought. I figured I’d be blackballed out of the industry for it, but by then I’d be financially solvent. Maybe not Russell Simmons rich, but wealthy enough to retire. In 2000, I called a fellow emcee and told him my fifth and final album’s title, How to Kill God. He was slightly offended at my use of rhetoric.
They say, “If you want to make God laugh, make a plan” because by 2003 I had two major releases shelved, was serving 19 months in Corcoran II prison and was in year two of a nine year litigation with my record label. I wasn’t getting a third album, let alone making it to a fifth! Still, during that incarceration I wrote “How To Kill God,” put it in a notebook along with fifty other songs (including “48 Laws” and “Francine” — which also appear on my new album Blasphemy) and there it remained for the next ten years, distilling like Beluga Gold Line barley. Lyrically top shelf.
When Apollo Brown reached out to me and we began recording this project, we didn’t have a concept for the album. It wasn’t until about the third song was done that his production pushed me innately. I realized where I was at naturally, spiritually and that’s when I drunkenly called Apollo and told him the concept for this album and its title track.
The original album title of this album was How to Kill God, but pressure from digital/physical distributors and buyers forced the last minute name change to Blasphemy. This showed me the hypocrisy and blasphemous nature of so-called free speech in America. I always joke that if we would have called it How to Kill Allah, or How to Kill a Nigga there would have been little or no resistance. But when you appear to attack the Judeo-Christian (white) ideal of God, then its offensive. Blasphemy indeed.
Blasphemy became the LP’s title, but “How To Kill God” is still the first song, so we really found the name change moronic. Both titles play on the same metaphor; that they are the very opposite of what people would initially believe them to be. Blasphemy’s artwork denotes the American flag; ‘Land of the free, home of the brave,’ with Washington’s mouth duct taped because in reality this is the “land of the thieves,” stolen from slaughtered natives, and was “home of the slaves.” America is the country who refused to abolish the barbaric practice of slavery for another 30 years later than Europe; and even that took a civil war.
So “How to Kill God” essentially explains its premise in the first hook. The message is: no matter whose organized religion we join, when we claim our “God” tells us that we should forcibly convert, steal property and in every above mentioned example demean, miseducate, murder, rape and torture other human beings, those are forms of killing God. Are we not all of us and all things a form of God’s creation? So any act against divine creation is therefore a sin against God’s nature; pollution, animal cruelty, child abuse, income inequality, etc.
We kill God through ignorance which leads to hatred. Especially, through rationalized ignorance, which I believe is original sin. Verse one of the song extensively deals with major inconsistencies within Judeo-Christian theology. Because of the history and core root of those religions, it still denotes the Egyptian King of the Gods, Amen-Ra (Amun-Ray), so I ask why would any logical person who worships a monotheistic God repeat the name of a polytheist God at the end of their prayer by saying “Amen?” Didn’t those two gods fight when Moses’ brother Aaron turned his rod into a snake in Exodus 7:8–13? When Ashkenazi Jews create an anti-narrative towards Egyptians (Muslims), while Arabs create a counter-narrative towards Jews, it is ironic as they all share a similar African heritage.
And in that line of creating your own narrative to pursue your own self interest, Mormons took Manifest Destiny—that is, the held belief that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent — to the point where they teach a form of white supremacy. They say that the original Native Americans were white men, that God punished the natives by turning them red, and that Blacks are cursed, descendants of the devil. The Mormon Church now admits that they stole more land out west because “Jesus” told Joe Smith he could have about forty wives. This is exactly the Blasphemy that I speak of.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image /
But worship a white man on the cross, put your faith in it? /
I’m not anti-Christ / Not anti-Islamic, anti-Semite, never…” ►
The second and third verses deal with every Judeo-Christian denominations’ inability to follow even the first two tenets of their belief system. It boggles my brain to see people profess to follow a God that they won’t even accept the first rule from: no idolatry.
No Star of David. No Crescent Moon. No cross. No Jesus on a cross. No Mary with baby Jesus. No Nativity scenes. No fish. And especially no chocolate egg-shitting rabbit.
Exodus 20: 4–6 explicitly says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” That’s kind of what the whole Moses, Israel, Golden Calf thing was about. Ironically, the Gold Calf is still on Wall Street, exemplifying the idolatry of America. We worship greed. We worship money. The same money that says, “In God We Trust.” Blasphemy.
Finally, I intertwined the fact that scientifically, biologically and even Biblically, Africans are the forefathers of the human race. Case in point, Lucy, the 3.2 million year old mitochondrial Eve who has the matrilineal DNA to create EVERY current living anatomically modern human. She was found in the Afar triangle of Ethiopia in 1974 by Donald Johanson, an American anthropologist and paleoanthropologist.
I expound on the factual ethnicity of the original Hebrews and Egyptians mainly because when any group of people are misled as to what their cultural role in history is, then they can be taught to devalue themselves and are more easily manipulated into self destruction. In essence, leaving him/her deaf, dumb, and blind. I point this out because American and European society worldwide purposely miseducates Black people. Why? Psalms 82:6, “I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most high.” That was originally written by Black men to Black men because we are the original men made in the image and likeness of the creator that they worship. I feel that they resent us for that. This why they kill God.
Rest in Peace to Eric Garner, John Crawford, Exell Ford, Dante Parker, Michael Brown, Manuel Diaz…