Muhammad Ali—An Evening Of Hip Hop Featuring Jahi Of P.E 2.0



Presenting at the Northwest African American Museum this past weekend, Oakland rapper Jahi presented a powerful show that explored the origin of hip-hop through exploring the great Muhammad Ali.

Jahi, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, is a member of the American hip hop group, Public Enemy. He is also acclaimed for his success in education and pioneer of African-American achievement. Public Enemy consists of rappers Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord, and Khari Wynn to name a few.

In 2014, Chuck D created Public Enemy 2.0 (PE 2.0) with Oakland rapper and humanitarian, Jahi, to begin a new generation of the group. PE 2.0 dropped their first album, “People Get Ready,” in 2014. The group infuses and contributes to the hip-hop world through cultural and political consciousness with a pro-black stance.

Jahi, as part of his goal to share and enlighten the community with his story, travels the world to perform concerts and share his experience of hip-hop and its influence on the world. For the presentation, Jahi focused on black excellence and delved deep into various influential people today whilst holding the main protagonist Muhammad Ali.

Jahi referenced an article from The Guardian that talked about how the quickfire lyrical combat of rap is akin to boxing, as the two go head to head until a victor is determined by dropping the hottest verse.

Jahi argues that Ali was the first rapper, not only in the ring against his opponents, but also outside of the ring. In the late 1970s, Ali stood as a public figure, arguably more successful than his boxing prowess, for his stance on race, religion, and refusal to serve the military during the Vietnam War.

The Oakland rapper, in supplement to his presentation, showed various clips from some of Muhammad Ali’s speeches regarding the Vietnam War and his future of whether he will go to jail or not.

“The number one greeting in his faith is peace, as Salaam-Alaikum, which means may peace be unto you,” Ali stated in a speech on his refusal to go to war.

In a brief change of tempo in Jahi’s presentation, he asked the audience to meet and interact with one another, to share what stood out in one of the speeches Ali spoke.

I met a gentleman named Anthony Collins and shared with him how Ali’s focus on justice had spoke to me. Justice in the sense that Ali had no will to go to Vietnam to murder innocent folk. The United States army treated the Vietnamese people without regard for human rights, similar to his own situation as a black man living in the United States. Ali stated “the real enemy of my people is here.”

Collins shared with me that he was obviously intrigued by the words spoken by Ali, but his main focus was on the sheer fact that it was the 1970s, and for a black man to be on the center stage while refusing to go to war, preaching his ideas, all within a racist environment, was truly impressive.

Jahi then called on to us to share each other’s ideas with the rest of the audience, in which he then commented and added a few points to.

He brought the attention back to how Ali was considered one of the first rappers. Through many of Ali’s pre-fight disses such as “I’m so mean, I make medicine sick,” or “Joe’s gonna come out smokin’, but I ain’t gonna be jokin’, this might shock and amaze ya, but I’m going to destroy Joe Frazier.”

Jahi preached that Ali is not known specifically for his raps, but for the culture and influence in which hip hop stands for. To create a message through the lyrics, in which Ali proved to do.

He then diverted the presentation to recognize other influencers. Recognizing Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee, two women that have been strong representing California’s congressional districts. Ms. Lauryn Hill, an American songwriter and rapper, winner of various awards including eight Grammy awards, also works many humanitarian promotions such as social media campaigns.

To conclude the presentation, Jahi was asked a couple of questions by the audience, one being “are there any hip-hop artists today that shadow Muhammad Ali’s influence?”

Jahi responded “No. However, I can see Chance the Rapper, he is intentional with community related things. Kendrick (Lamar) is doing more things than he is saying. He won a Pulitzer Prize, that’s never been done before by a black artist.”

Jahi continued to say that most rappers only talk about getting money and sex and he then questioned on how rappers can get through all of the noise to influence the community.

“Many rap sites always talk about who’s going to jail or what Cardi B said, etc. However, I have hope, hip hop all together is building community,” Jahi continued.

Jahi will be continuing his show and can also be heard through Public Enemy Radio.

Alexandro may be reached at
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