5 Conspiracy Theories in Modern Music
The recent 45th anniversary of the moon landing gave us all the opportunity to reflect on one of mankind’s most incredible achievements, but it also marked the birth of one the most enduring conspiracy theories of all time. That there are still people willing to ignore the mountains of evidence that favor of the veracity of a lunar landing, believing instead in an elaborate hoax made on a Hollywood soundstage, is a testament to human inquisitiveness. If you’re one of them, just be sure you don't confront Buzz Aldrin about it.
So if conspiracy theorists run the risk of catching a mean right hook from Buzz Aldrin, or at least being considered crazy by their peers, what possible reason do people have for going all in on these theories? Is it a sense of pride that not even the government can put one over on them? Is it a dedicated commitment to rejecting the status quo? Or is it a flat refusal to accept plain old boring facts in favor of more whimsical explanations?
Whatever the reason, the world of music also seems to attract its fair share of conspiracies. Here are five examples of some of the best conspiracies about music, as well as music about conspiracies.
1. The Illuminati
This conspiracy theory can be used pretty much as a master key to all other conspiracy theories. Coordinating something like a fake moon landing would be child’s play to the all-powerful secret society that is the Illuminati. Ever get the feeling that the entire world is run by a few rich white guys who decided to enlist rappers in their cause for some reason? If so, the Illuminati theory might be for you.
Jay-Z is supposedly little more than an Illuminati robot by now, and according to theorists, if you listen closely enough to his music, he’s pretty willing to tell you all about it. In fact, he just straight out said “I’m a mason” on “Run This Town,” unless you accept his official, though infinitely more boring explanation that what he said was “I’m amazing.” Maybe that’s just what he wants you to think.
2. Tupac and Elvis Are Still Alive
The origins of these famous theories might just rest on the fact that both were such enormous celebrities that, for a while, it wasn’t as if they were dead at all. I mean, unless you were actually personal friends with Pac or Elvis, what really changed in the immediate aftermath of their deaths? Their names were still everywhere and you could still listen to their music just as much as when they were alive, so it must’ve been really hard to believe they weren’t living anymore.
Tupac’s death or afterlife seems especially tricky, because he seemed so sure he’d die young and spoke so often of a premature death in his music, that it almost seemed too strange when it actually happened. You would think it would be less surprising, since he talked about dying so much, but that’s not really how these conspiracies work.
MKUltra was a real, albeit short-lived program run by the CIA in the ‘60s and ‘70s that experimented with various mind control techniques. They tried LSD, hypnosis, and other methods on mostly unknowing participants – which was (and is) just a little bit illegal. Somehow, a secret CIA mind control program run under dubious circumstances became fodder for a whole host of conspiracy theories.
The program has captured the imagination of at least one band in the music world. Muse has an entire song named after the program, with lyrics that say things like, “How much deception can you take?” Sure, the song isn’t a biting indictment of government overreach and doesn’t really go into Area 51 territory, but it at least got the name MKUltra into the public consciousness, even if it ironically was done subliminally.
4. Immortal Technique
You may know Immortal Technique as the rapper who did that seven-minute ballad about an inner city Oedipus Rex called “Dance with the Devil.” If that’s all you know about him, then you might be surprised to learn that he is the king of rap conspiracy theorists. Besides referencing MKUltra in his songs, this is also a man who has a song called “Bush Knocked Down the Towers” and regularly creates political similes, such as the thrilling turn of phrase “with secret deals like the Nazis and IBMs.”
Though he does venture into more fringe conspiracy theories at times, he also has some more reasonable – though still radical for some – ideas as well. He doesn’t necessarily think the Illuminati is running the world, but in songs like “Rich Man’s World,” it’s pretty clear he does think corporations and the 1% have an unfair say in things. And say what you will about other musicians’ crazy political views, Tech does put his money where his mouth is: he used the profits from his album The 3rd World to go to Kabul, Afghanistan and help to build an orphanage there.
5. Courtney Love Murdered Kurt Cobain
Like the sudden death of Tupac and Elvis, the tragic death of Kurt Cobain birthed many conspiracy theories. Whether this is because people refused to believe that Kurt would kill himself or if it’s because there is actually reason to believe that his death was not a suicide is difficult to know for sure. Some believe Kurt’s suicide note was actually a letter to Courtney Love telling her that he was going to leave her. Even weirder is that it never explicitly mentions his death.
Additionally, the shotgun he supposedly used to kill himself was never checked for fingerprints, which is exactly the kind of the lapse in evidence conspiracy theorists love to fill in with their own explanations. For most of us, however, Cobain’s death is no more sinister than a commercial for a rehab clinic. Kurt could have chosen recovery, but instead he chose something else.
Sure, there is no direct evidence that Courtney Love did kill him, but if the evidence for his suicide isn’t completely airtight, why not make up your own story?Filed under: General, Conspiracy, Music
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