"You're already the leaders of the world, and it's frightening folks in power," the Nation of Islam leader told the audience at the Hip-Hop Summit, a gathering of more than 300 rap artists and executives at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan.
"Today you have come to a position of power," he said in his first New York appearance since fighting prostate cancer. "All over the world, the youth are being moved by you.
"You've taken the children of the rich," Farrakhan told the artists, who included hip-hop luminaries L.L. Cool J, Wyclef Jean, Fat Joe and Sean "Puffy" Combs.
This is why there is legislation being considered to limit lyricists' free reign, he said.
Farrakhan said those in power are asking, "How do we get our children back?"
But with this power, he said, comes responsibility - a theme of the historic gathering organized by producer Russell Simmons.
Farrakhan preached that it's time rappers used their art to enlighten the masses instead of lacing lyrics with profanity and words that denigrate women.
"This community has the strength, but what the community needs most of all is guidance," he said.
Farrakhan got a standing ovation after his two-hour-plus speech.
Combs said, "I loved it."
Redman, a hard-core rapper, also praised Farrakhan's words, but said his directions will be tough to follow.
"We all know what he's talking about. He's absolutely right," Redman said.
"But it's hard to do. Those who preach in rap, don't make no money. Negativity lives in rap. That's what it's built on. That's where the money circulates and generates from - negativity."