Since the death of Osama bin Laden last year, investigators have been combing through a veritable "treasure trove" of al-Qaeda materials taken from the house in which bin Laden had been hiding for the last several years. What they have found is astonishing.
"In addition to the usual al-Qaeda roster, and blueprints for attacks, we've actually found quite a bit of stuff that really speaks to the inner life of bin Laden," a CIA official told me. "Not only did we find hard drives, we also recovered a synthesizer, drum machine, and a mixing board. It looks like he was in the process of recording his own music album."
Indeed he was. One of the most startling finds to come from the house in Abbottabad is a self-recorded CD called "Young bin Laden," in which bin Laden raps about his aspirations to become "the biggest thing from the East since Biggie" and his dream of "uniting the East Coast with the West Coast against the Zionist Crusaders."
In an interview retrieved from a hard drive, bin Laden speaks candidly about his aspirations for the album. "A lot of groups are coming out with real corny stuff right now," bin Laden said, dragging on a Garcia-Vega. "I'm trying to avoid dropping one of them dirty bomb records. You know what I'm saying? I'm trying to come correct. I mean, my message is deep but valuable, like an oil well."
On tracks like "Nothing But Versace" bin Laden rap about the perks of his millionaire lifestyle:
"I got oil money/enough to spoil honeys/put the coke in the pot and I straight boil money…"
On the track "Me Against the West," bin Laden discusses the alienation he felt as a child, trying to "kick rhymes" on the streets of Riyadh. "I got up and rhymed, but Arabs didn't understand/and now in every plan I'm the fuckin' man."
In "Babylon," which Pitchfork Media has called "one of the record's deepest cuts," bin Laden says he wants to "bring righteousness to the land of the unbeliever" and to subdue "American women who don't act right/by laying 350,000 miles of pipe."
Young bin Laden also features the diss track "Lil Wayne Get off My Nuts,"in which bin Laden accuses the successful New Orleans rapper of "biting [his] rhymes."
"Come to Pakistan," bin Laden taunts, "I'll surgically implant explosives in your ass."
"You're vocals are too high," bin Laden adds. "Your stage show is weak. Look in the mirror: you wack."
Bin Laden was unusually forthcoming in his message to his close friend Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured by American forces in 2003, and is being held in Guantanamo Bay. "I would tell him to keep his head up, you know?" said bin Laden. "I would tell him, ‘Stay up. They can take your body, but they can't take your soul, you know what I mean?' So, he just gotta stay up, and not sleep on himself. You sleep on yourself, you let somebody take you."
"I'm not afraid of dying," bin Laden says, looking directly at the camera. "But I ain't going back to jail. The only way the state sees me, is in a body bag."