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
Welcome to RapandReligion.com—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.
Read the Q&A with my parent publishing company ABC-CLIO.
The 2012 BET Awards were black people on their best behavior. Rappers bragging about their God flow. Gospel singers praising Jesus. Comedians joking about getting their sermons from rappers. Honorees urging the audience to wait on God. BET took its audiences to the church and the club last night. Continue Reading
Read 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
- Conservative critics (pick a Fox commentator)
- Rival rappers and their crews (shout out to Drake, Chris Brown, Meek Mill)
- 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.
Hard times bring people to their knees. Figuratively and literally. Whether it’s unemployment, heartbreak, illness, disaster, or death, humans pray when life’s challenges become clearly beyond their control. Rappers are no exception. Continue Reading
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