Welcome to—the #1 source for news and commentary on hip hop and religion. I am Dr. Ebony Utley, the author of Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta's God. In addition to featuring songs and videos from the book, this blog will keep you in the know when rap and religion collide. Explore the site and come back often for updates.

An Ocean of Love

Posted by & filed under Sexuality.

Frank Ocean sings love songs from him to him. I posted a comment on my Facebook timeline on Tuesday after a reviewer of his new album said she heard the crooner singing about a him instead of a her. That observation alone wasn’t enough to make the news, but then Ocean did something unprecedented. Continue Reading

The God Quest

Posted by & filed under Interviews.

God QuestRead my interview with Brittany “Bella” Graham of The Well Versed.

It would be grossly unfitting to start this column out featuring anyone other than Dr. Ebony Utley. Not only is she one of the main inspirations and supporters of my “God Quest,” but she’s also a respected mentor as well. Albeit I may be bending one of the core rules of journalism – interviewing a source that I am familiar (and friendly with) – since this is an opinion-based column and not a news article where I am bound to objectivity, I see no harm in doing so.

Furthermore, I believe that Dr. Utley’s upcoming book, Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta’s God, is an excellent point of reference for someone who, like me, is on a personal exploration of faith, or is simply interested in the various ways religion has influenced Hip-Hop culture. Continue Reading

Hip Hop’s Original Hater

Posted by & filed under Devil.

devilHip hop needs its haters. Haters represent hip hop’s relevance, and the conflicts generated by haters sustain audience interest. Haters come in many forms:

  1. Conservative critics (pick a Fox commentator)
  2. Rival rappers and their crews (shout out to Drake, Chris Brown, Meek Mill)
  3. Aspects of the individual self (Nicki vs. Roman, T.I. vs. T.I.P., Eminem vs. Slim Shady)

And yet, hip hop has another hater who consistently draws attention to the genre.

Continue Reading

Hip Hop Education

Posted by & filed under Education.

Hip hop isn’t dead, but it is getting dumber. Audiences of young hip hop heads always get restless when I say this, but it’s true. Part of the reason hip hop is not as sonically and lyrically sophisticated as it was in the past is because our youth don’t know any better. Continue Reading