hip hop Essay

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Jessica Bennett Dr. Mark Conard Pop Culture Philosophy Fall 2007 Religion’s Place in Hip Hop Culture “Hip Hop artists in many instances are the preachers of their generation, preaching a message which, too often, those who have been given the charge to preach prophetic words to people have not given.” (Dyson) This comes from Rev. Willie Wilson, a Baptist preacher based in Washington D.C. who presided over a memorial service for late rapper Tupac Shakur. To some, the comparison is a joke and/or borderline blasphemous. This comparison makes perfect sense, however, in a world where every block has a church and a liquor store, ministers rival pimps in flash, and every family hardship is weathered by an unwavering faith in the Almighty. The idea that rappers can connect the world of Christianity and Hip Hop without being a walking contradiction is a difficult one to grasp, but ask most rappers how they came to be the talented wordsmiths they are, and God is the one who receives most credit. Yonkers born and raised rapper DMX affirms that his gift of rhyme is heaven sent on many songs, specifically “The Convo.” In this heart-wrenching dialogue with God, the Almighty tells DMX he gave him the gift of rhyme so that he would abandon the current downward spiral his life was taking. “Put down the guns and write a new rhyme. You’ll get it all in due time.” Memphis duo 8 Ball and MJG in “Thank God” literally thank God for everything from family to slavery’s end, to having a second chance at a life without hustling. Also, they thank him for the ability to move units. “I was blessed to be a story teller, CD seller.” The acknowledgement of that blessing, a mere thank you to Jesus at the Grammys, a moment of prayer at a concert, or wearing a diamond cross, all becomes exploited for the cheapest joke. It’s total hypocrisy by mainstream standards. Can a person

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