“Utley reminds us that rap music has much to say about myth, power, meaning, and social justice in contemporary America. Moreover, that it does so in ways that playfully embrace doubleness— always skirting the line between blasphemy and praise—makes it a compelling object of study. Utley’s analysis is powerful, precisely because she is irreverent toward such binaries.”

– Rudo Mudiwa, Rhetoric and Public Affairs

“Utley enables the reader to recognize that the Hip Hop genre has reinterpreted a Jesus with a strong survival/elevation ethic as opposed to a liberation ethic, helping the gangsta ‘to make it through’ and embrace success. An outstanding book and a must-read for every academic and practitioner serious about engaging popular culture in an urban context.”

– Mike A. Royal Black Theology

“Rap and Religion will generate timely discussions in a variety of different spaces and contexts—college courses on popular culture and hip hop, seminary courses on theology and culture, ongoing discourses in churches, barbershops, and Internet sites about the relevance, value, and dangers of rap music, especially for youth. Everyone involved in these discussions will be enriched by reading this book.”

– Joseph Winters African American Review

“This book is welcome ammunition for those eager to defend against hip-hop critics who paint the culture as godless or lacking any deep spiritual introspection.”

– Bomani Armah Words, Beats, Life

Utley presents a unique study of the cultural and sociological context in which religion and hard-edged rap intersect, mainly from the mid 1990s to the present. Also, the book’s laid-back prose offers a quick read…. Summing Up: Recommended.

– Choice

Dr. Utley encourages us to harness the gangsta’s God in our own lives and conversations.

– Chris Patti

Rap and Religion is a tremendously thoughtful book.

– Edward J Blum

Dr. Utley deftly demonstrates through the pages of her book everything is not what it seems when it comes to rap and religion.

– Akil Houston

Rap and Religion is the finest writing I’ve seen in the field. Dr. Utley writes eloquently with remarkable readability.

– Sharon Lauricella

Dr. Utley explains brilliantly that no one has a monopoly on the language we use to imagine God.

– Rashad Grove

Dr. Utley does work that theologians have yet to do.

– Andre Johnson

Dr. Utley has written this book much the same way that Kanye West writes rhymes. He said that he wanted every sentence to make an impact and she has done just that with Rap and Religion.

– Brian Foulks

Dr. Utley’s book 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.

– Brittany “Bella” Graham

Utley’s Rap and Religionis the most incisive analysis of religion in hip hop out there.

– Nneka Ofulue

Utley makes a compelling case about rap and hip hop’s spiritual relevance, leaving us both breathless and re-energized.

Ronald L. Jackson II

Rap and Religion is elegant, compelling, and desperately needed. A remarkable scholarly achievement, and a gift to hip-hop fans everywhere.

Michael P. Jeffries

Hip Hop has not abandoned Jesus; it has reinterpreted Jesus. Rap and Religion is destined to be a classic.

Ralph Watkins

Rap and Religion uncovers the place where God, spirituality, and Christianity meet.

Bakari Kitwana

Rap and Religion is a must read.

Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan

Storyteller–Dr. Ebony Utley

RnB Magazine

Society Yeezus

Dwutygodnik (Beweekly)

Rap, Religion and Women

The Sun Southwestern College

Author’s Lounge Utley Experience Rap & Religion

Spirit Alive Network

Rapping with Jesus (14:39-58:30)

God Discussion

Rap and Religion: CSU Prof. Analyzes How God Plays Into Popular Songs

The Carletonian

Will Jerry Falwell Blame Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. for Hurricane Sandy?

Religion in American History

Who or What is the Gangsta’s God?

The Hip Hop Scholar

Dr. Ebony Utley says [Nicki Minaj] is walking a path that has already been trod upon.


Woman with Ideas. Knowledge Seeker. Perspective Shifter. Obsessive Googler.

Life By Me

Utley notes…Honestly, we don’t know what the support will be for an openly gay rapper because one has not come out.

The Advocate

Ebony Utley…has done extensive research on women and hip hop.

The Washington Post

Ebony Utley Joins the Cypher (28:27-48:00)

Cypher Lounge Radio

What’s the Connection Between Rap and Religion?

The Ethics Guy Podcast

CSULB Professor Releases Heavenly Hip-Hop Handbook

Long Beach Post

10 Things We Learned From Reading “Rap And Religion: Understanding The Gangsta’s God” by Ebony A. Utley


Rap and Religion

The Armstrong Williams Show

Dr. Ebony Utley Interview

Rhymes & Reasons

Examination of Religion’s Presence in Hip Hop Culture

Da #HipHopEd Rewind

Professor & Author, Dr. Ebony Utley, Releases New Provocative Book

Hello Beautiful

Dr. Utley Talks About Black Women Rappers Satisfying Their “Fatherlack” Through Lyrical Worship

97.9 The Box

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Ebony Utley

Digital Sisterhood Network

Interview with Dr. Ebony Utley


[The God Quest] Understanding the Gangsta’s God

The Well Versed

Learning While Teaching: Understanding the Gangsta’s God

The Truth

Exploring Rap and Religion with Dr. Ebony Utley

The Examiner

Utley’s Newest Book Takes a Look at God, Hip-hop and Rap

Inside CSULB

Dr. Ebony A. Utley provides social commentary involving Hip Hop as a means to garner individual power.

Southern Eccentrik