Dance To My Ministry: Exploring Hip-Hop Spirituality

Dance To My Ministry: Exploring Hip-Hop Spirituality

by Carl Petter Opsahl

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Overview

Hip-hop is a deeply spiritual culture, a culture that since its beginnings has provided urban youth all over the world with a sense of place, being and direction, with knowledge of self and knowledge of cultural heritage. By examining a number of rap tunes and graffiti walls, Carl Petter Opsahl explores different spiritualities and religious traditions informing hip-hop culture, including, Christianity, Nation of Islam, Nation of Gods and Earths and indigenous spiritualities. By developing a theoretical framework of hybrid spirituality, Opsahl outlines spiritual strategies of survival and resistance in contexts of oppression and struggle. He provides basic introductions to recent research on spirituality, to hip-hop culture and its esthetic practices and to Islam in the USA and the teachings of Nation of Islam and Nation of Gods and Earths. Then follow in-depth analyzes of hip-hop cultural expressions. One chapter is devoted to the study of graffiti murals, exploring artworks by some of New York's finest writers such as TATS CRU, TRACY 168, TOO FLY and QUEEN ANDREA. Then follows a chapter on rap and Christianity, featuring explorations of Lauryn Hill, 2Pac and a number of Christian rappers including G.R.I.T.S. Another chapter explores Islamic influences on rap, with studies on Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, Erykah Badu and Mos Def. Embedded in rhythms, rhymes, colors and shapes, the exploration of hip hop spirituality expands the horizon of studies in spirituality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783525604540
Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Publication date: 10/10/2016
Series: Research in Contemporary Religion Series , #19
Pages: 323
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Part 1

1 Microphone Check. Introduction 13

1.1 Situating my project 14

1.1.1 Mapping the field 14

1.1.1.1 Hip-hop and theology 14

1.1.1.2 Finding religion in hip-hop 16

1.1.1.3 Ethnographic studies 17

1.1.1.4 Hip-hop and religion studies 18

1.1.2 Engaging with the field 18

1.1.2.1 Christian theology and hip-hop 18

1.1.2.2 Studies in hip-hop and religion 21

1.1.2.3 Religion, hip-hop and structures of power 23

1.1.2.4 How I look and listen 24

1.1.3 The structure of my book 27

1.1.3.1 Some words on terminology and language 29

2 Peace, Unity, Love, and Having Fun. Exploring spirituality in a hip-hop context 31

2.1 Spirituality and hybridity 32

2.1.1 Understanding Spirituality 32

2.1.1.1 Mapping spirituality 33

2.1.1.2 Spirituality and Liberation Theology 36

2.1.2 Hybrid spirituality and contexts of struggle 38

2.1.2.1 Race and gender 41

2.1.2.2 Hybridity and subversive spirituality 44

2.2 Hip-Hop Esthetics 45

2.2.1 Community 45

2.2.1.1 The borders of hip-hop culture 46

2.2.2 The power of the letter: writing 48

2.2.2.1 Elements of writing 50

2.2.3 Wheels of Steel: DJing 54

2.2.3.1 DJing and producing 55

2.2.3.2 Manipulating time with hands 57

2.2.4 Physical Graffiti: Breaking 59

2.2.5 The Art of Rhyming: MCing 61

2.2.5.1 The poetics of rap 62

2.3 The Fifth Element: Knowledge 65

2.3.1 Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation 65

2.3.1.1 The Beliefs of the Universal Zulu Nation 67

2.3.2 KRS One and the Temple of Hip Hop 72

2.3.2.1 The Hip Hop Declaration of Peace 72

2.3.2.2 The Gospel of Hip Hop 74

3 Black God. Nation of Islam and Nation of Gods and Earths 78

3.1 Mainstream Islam in the USA and popular culture 78

3.2 The Nation of Islam 80

3.2.1 Black nationalism 81

3.2.2 Moorish Science Temple of America 82

3.2.3 The formation of the Nation of Islam 83

3.2.3.1 Elijah Muhammad, the Messenger 84

3.2.3.2 Malcolm X 85

3.2.3.3 A turn towards mainstream Islam: Warith Deen Mohammed 87

3.2.3.4 Renewal, Louis Farrakhan 88

3.2.4 Theology of the Nation of Islam 90

3.2.4.1 Christianity, Islam and scripture 91

3.2.4.2 Creation. The Original Man 92

3.2.4.3 Eschatology 95

3.2.4.4 The Saviour 97

3.3 The Nation of Gods and Earths 99

3.3.1 The formation of the Nation of Gods and Earths 99

3.3.2 The Supreme Mathematics and Supreme Alphabet 101

3.3.2.1 Christianity, scripture and Islam 104

Part 2

4 Walls of Memory. Graffiti as shared memory 109

4.1 Looking at Walls 111

4.1.1 Art Crimes 113

4.2 Culture on the wall 116

4.2.1 Walls celebrating ethnic culture 116

4.2.1.1 The People's Wall 117

4.2.1.2 Zapatismo Chiapas 119

4.2.1.3 Hijos de Borikén 123

4.2.2 Walls celebrating hip-hop culture 124

4.2.2.1 Females Hip Hop 124

4.2.2.2 Babes in Boyland 125

4.2.2.3 Harlem World 126

4.2.2.4 City scene with rappers 128

4.3 Walls of grief 130

4.3.1 Memorial graffiti and spontaneous memorials 130

4.3.1.1 Memorial graffiti in New York 133

4.3.1.2 Princess Ruby - In memory of a baby 134

4.3.1.3 Memorials for Willy and Carela 134

4.3.1.4 Two memorials by TRACY 168 136

4.3.2 Music celebrities - and a pope 138

4.3.2.1 Jam Master Jay and Big Pun 138

4.3.2.2 Tito Puente - and 9/11 139

4.3.2.3 …andapope 142

4.3.3 9/11 memorials 143

4.3.3.1 New York New York 144

4.3.3.2 Liberty in Tears 144

4.3.3.3 An allegory of love 145

Chapter Summary 146

5 Black Jesuz. Rap and Christianity 148

5.1 The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 149

5.1.1 Autobiography, love and hip-hop 150

5.1.2 A scholar on the subject called theology 156

5.2 2Pac and Thug Theology 161

5.2.1 Life and death of 2Pac 161

5.2.2 Thug life 163

5.2.3 Thug philosophy 165

5.2.4 Towards a Thug Theology 169

5.2.4.1 Visions of Heaven 169

5.2.4.2 Black Jesuz 172

5.3 "Pump the Volume For Christ:" Christian Rap 177

5.3.1 Free At Last: dc Talk 178

5.3.1.1 Decent Christian Talk 178

5.3.1.2 Love, sex and marriage 180

5.3.1.3 Time and the World 181

5.3.2 Grits and the Art of Translation 182

5.3.2.1 Hip-hop is a God inspired art form 183

5.3.2.2 It Takes Love - marriage and broken relationships 184

5.3.2.3 Spiritual Struggle 186

5.3.2.4 The End 187

5.3.3 The Continued Mission of MC Ge Gee 188

5.3.3.1 A continued mission 189

5.3.3.2 Praise, love and trust 190

5.3.4 Femcee representative of Christ: Elle R.O.C 192

5.3.4.1 Breathing holy hip-hop every day 192

5.3.4.2 Faith, love and relations 193

5.3.4.3 Transformation through Christ 194

5.3.5 Hip-hop Church 195

5.3.5.1 HipHopEMass and the Hip Hop Prayer Book 196

Chapter Summary 198

6 Allah U Akbar. Rap and Islam 200

6.1 Walking with Farrakhan 201

6.1.1 Fear of a Black Planet: Public Enemy 201

6.1.1.1 Welcome to the Terrordome: Facing racism 202

6.1.1.2 She Watch Channel Zero: Sexist stereotypes 205

6.1.1.3 Message to a Blackman: Public Enemy and the Nation of Islam 207

6.2 Five Percenter Rap 211

6.2.1 In God We Trust: Brand Nubian 212

6.2.1.1 Concerto In X Minor: White racism and black nationalism 212

6.2.1.2 Always is a Queen: Gender roles and sexism 213

6.2.1.3 Ain't No Mystery. Five Percenter teachings 215

6.2.2 Enter the Wu-Tang: Wu-Tang Clan 219

6.2.2.1 Wu-Revolution 221

6.3 Women rappers and Islam 225

6.3.1 Welcome to the Pow Wow: Queen Yonasda 226

6.3.1.1 God, love and music 226

6.3.2 Baduizm: Erykah Badu 230

6.3.2.1 Food for thought 230

6.3.2.2 A New Amerykah 233

6.3.2.3 Hip-hop as healing 235

6.4 Rap and mainstream Islam 238

6.4.1 The Ecstatic Mos Def 241

6.4.1.1 Black on Both Sides - different meanings of black 242

6.4.1.2 Hip-hop, spirituality and Islam 245

Chapter summary 249

Part 3

7 Remix 253

7.1 Mapping hip-hop spirituality 254

7.1.1 Types of hip-hop spirituality 254

7.1.2 Hip-hop spirituality as spirituality of liberation 256

7.2 Hybrid strategies for spiritual resistance 258

7.2.1 Doctrinal strategies of resistance 259

7.2.1.1 Survival in this world 259

7.2.1.2 Survival from this world 261

7.2.2 Cultural strategies of resistance 262

7.2.3 Experiential strategies of resistance 265

7.3 Bring the Noise. Subversive esthetic practices and spirituality 268

7.3.1 Subversion, noise, repetition and break 268

7.3.1.1 Subversive uses of technology 269

7.3.1.2 Noise 270

7.3.1.3 Repetition 272

7.3.1.4 The break 274

7.4 …and having fun. Outro 275

Acknowledgements 278

Sources 279

CD's 279

Literature 280

Websites 295

Video 296

Colorplates 297

List of illustrations 297

Index 317

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