SOUTH BRONX, NY—The Lord Almighty finally responded to nearly two decades of praise in hip-hop album liner notes Monday, when He gave a shout-out back to all His loyal niggaz.
"Right about now, I want to send a shout-out to each and every nigga who's shown Me love through the years," said the Lord, His booming voice descending from Heaven. "I got mad love for each and every one of you niggaz. Y'all real niggaz out there, you know who you are. Y'all was there for me, and it's about time I'm-a give some love back to God's true crew."
"All y'all niggaz, y'all be My niggaz," the Lord added.
As of press time, God has thanked nearly 7,000 of His niggaz, including those in New York's Bad Boy and Ruff Ryders posses, the No Limit soldiers and Cash Money Millionaires holdin' it down in New Orleans, Nelly and the whole St. Lunatics crew, Busta and the rest of the Flipmode Squad, His peeps from back in the day, and all the real ruffneck niggaz in lockdown. He also sent shout-outs to everybody in the Old School, as well as to Lil' Bow Wow and all the other new niggaz just coming up.
"Mad props to P. Diddy, Jay-Z, DMX, Lil' Kim, Mystikal, Eve, Ja Rule, Jadakiss, Trick Daddy, and Xzibit. And one love to Meth, RZA, GZA, Ghostface, and the rest of My real niggaz in the Wu-Tang Clan," the deity said. "These My beloved niggaz, with whom I be well-pleased."
Now nearing the 48-hour mark, the Lord's first-ever reciprocal shout-out shows little sign of slowing down. Based on estimates of the number of rappers who have thanked Him in liner notes over the past 20 years, hip-hop experts say the historic shout-out is likely to continue through early next week.
In addition to rap's current stars, God offered shout-outs to the original hip-hop heads, including such pioneers of the art form as Grandmaster Flash, Busy Bee, Melle Mel, Jazzy Jay, Kool Moe Dee, Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Red Alert, the Cold Crush Brothers, Fab 5 Freddy, Kurtis Blow, Kool Herc, and the Funky 4+1.
God also offered shout-outs to the many DJs, record labels, magazines, TV shows, and radio stations that have tirelessly supported hip-hop over the years. Among them are Def Jam, Tommy Boy, Jive, Roc-A-Fella, Rap Pages, The Source, Right On!, The Box, Funkmaster Flex, Ed Lover and Dr. Dre, WBLS 107.5, KISS-FM, and Hot 97.
"For supporting the many artists who have supported Me so faithfully, I say thank you," God said. "All praise to Devante Harrell, Wanda Simmons, LaShell Thomas, and everybody else at Uptown/MCA for making this possible."
As a further sign of His love for the hip-hop community, God assured the nation's rappers that He is taking good care of all their peers currently with Him in heaven.
"Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Eazy-E, Scott LaRock—some of y'all niggaz are already up in this bitch," the Lord said. "For those of you who were left behind, know that the Lord has got your dead homies' backs. Faith [Evans], I promise I'm taking real good care of your Biggie. He resting in crazy peace, no doubt."
Thus far, God has not played favorites, thanking such fallen-off acts as Hammer and Vanilla Ice in the same breath as vital artists whose careers are still going strong. The Lord has also seen fit to thank the little-known likes of Baby Tragic, DJ Phreek Malik, and Da Ill Collector—MCs so obscure that virtually no one within the hip-hop community has heard of them. All rappers, God explained, are equal in His sight, and none are too small to escape His notice.
"God sees even the smallest sparrow fall," said Dr. Cornel West, Harvard University professor of African-American studies and philosophy of religion. "The same is true of MCs: Whether a major superstar or a complete unknown, all rappers are His children, and He loves them all."
The sheer volume of names notwithstanding, the nation's rappers are deeply touched by God's gesture of tribute and appreciation, with many stating that they "feelin' Him."
"God is the Original," Brooklyn-based rapper Mos Def said. "The world is ruled by the wealthy and the wicked, but all respect due to the Creator who made this world and who will one day bring justice to the wicked and righteous alike."
Despite the overwhelmingly positive response among rappers, the Lord is drawing fire in certain circles for His use of the word "nigga." On Monday's Larry King Live, conservative activist Rev. Calvin Butts, a longtime ally of the Lord, blasted Him for His "shocking, unexpected use of the racially loaded N-word." Some concerned parties, including decency crusader C. Delores Tucker, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and members of the San Francisco-based What About The Children? Foundation, are calling for a boycott of church services until God issues an apology.
Reacting to the controversy, many in the hip-hop community are rushing to the Lord's defense.
"The word 'nigga' means different things depending on how it's used and who's saying it," rap legend and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D said. "Judging from context, God obviously wasn't being derogatory. He was using 'nigga' as a blanket term of affection for all His true supporters on the rap scene. At one point, He said, 'I wanna give a shout-out to Ad-Rock, MC Serch, and my man Dan The Automator—all y'all is real niggaz in My all-benevolent sight.' Considering the fact that Ad-Rock and Serch are Jewish, and the Automator is Asian-American, it's clear God isn't talking about race here. He's just paying respect to all those who have paid respect to Him."
"God's the ultimate playa, so naturally He's going to have some haters," rapper Ice Cube said. "But these haters need to realize that if you mess with the man upstairs, you will get your ass smote. True dat."