Hip hop culture and rap music in particular are often perceived as being shallow and misogynistic. Many rap lyrics explicitly glamorize murder and misogyny, but how do the glorification of God and acceptance of Jesus Christ fit into this worldview?
This book provides an enlightening, representative account of how rappers talk about God in their lyrics—and why a sense of religion plays an intrinsic role within hip hop culture.
Why is the battle between good and evil a recurring theme in rap lyrics? What role does the devil play in hip hop? What exactly does it mean when rappers wear a diamond-encrusted "Jesus" around their necks? Why do rappers acknowledge God during award shows and frequently include prayers in their albums? Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta's God tackles a sensitive and controversial topic: the juxtaposition—and seeming hypocrisy—of references to God within hip hop culture and rap music.
This book provides a focused examination of the intersection of God and religion with hip hop and rap music. Author Ebony A. Utley, PhD, references selected rap lyrics and videos that span three decades of mainstream hip hop culture in America, representing the East Coast, the West Coast, and the South in order to account for how and why rappers talk about God. Utley also describes the complex urban environments that birthed rap music and sources interviews, award acceptance speeches, magazine and website content, and liner notes to further explain how God became entrenched in hip hop.
• A bibliography of cited sources on rap music and hip hop culture
• An index of key terms and artists
• A discography of rap songs with religious themes
• Applies urban history to explain why rappers concurrently embrace God and rap about murder, misogyny, and mayhem without defending the oppressive aspects of the music
• Offers a representative sample of lyrics and videos with religious themes
• Covers all genres of rap from each distinct region from the 1990s through the 2010s
• Devotes an entire chapter to women and their relationship to God