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Meaning of the song ‘B.I.B.L.E.’ by ‘Killah Priest’

Released: 1998

“B.I.B.L.E.” by Killah Priest is an introspective journey that weaves a tapestry around a constant spiritual quest, wrestling with the paradoxes of existence in a world grappling with moral decay. It’s a journey of faith, but equally an interrogation of organized religion, the human struggle, and the unearthing of historical lies that have been weaved into our collective consciousness.

The hook of this song, “The basic instructions before leaving earth,” is an acronym for the word BIBLE. In each refrain, Killah Priest acknowledges life as a test, a common quest that we all participate in, exploring the universe’s mysteries through the lens of joy and heartache. The phrase “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” references a Biblical passage (Matthew 20:16) that emphasizes a spiritual inversion of life’s hierarchies, an idea deeply embedded in Christian teachings about entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

Priest’s verses flow like water, deeply imbued with historical and spiritual allusions. In the initial verse, he speaks of his early pursuit of faith and the disillusionment he felt within the institutionalized church, witnessing deceit, greed, and moral decay. He describes this time as being ‘trapped in hell’ – an ironic twist given that church is supposed to represent a haven of heavenly peace.

As he plunges deeper into the verses, he unwraps the harsh realities woven within the fabric of religion and history. He critiques everything from the reverence to false idols (those who “kiss stones or pray on the carpet”) to the divisive nature religion has played in society. His disillusionment leads him to seek wisdom and truth from the root of his own historical identity, helping him realize that he is part of a “chosen” people, a reference to Genesis 17:7 in the Bible where God makes a covenant with Abraham and his descendants.

In the last verse, Killah Priest continues his excavation of hidden truths, even challenging the widely accepted white image of Jesus Christ. He argues that this representation is actually Cesare Borgia, the second son of Pope Alexander the 6th of Rome – a controversial claim that has circulated within various sects of Black religious thought. This claim speaks to the racial politics that have shaped religious imagery, often to manipulate and control narratives and minds.

Ultimately, Killah Priest encourages the listener to “study and be wise” in the face of life’s tests and spiritual journeys. This song is a manifesto for truth-seekers, those willing to confront the discomfort of challenging societal norms, religious dogmas, and the manipulation embedded deep within our histories. “B.I.B.L.E.” is more than a song; it’s a call-to-arms for a generation in search of their own set of ‘basic instructions before leaving earth’.

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