Hip-hop culture is experiencing a sea change today that has implications for evangelism, worship, and spiritual practices. Yet Christians have often failed to interpret this culture with sensitivity. Sociologist, preacher, pop-culture expert, and DJ Ralph Watkins understands that while there is room for a critique of mainstream hip-hop and culture, by listening more intently to the music’s story listeners can hear a prophet crying out, sharing the pain of a generation that feels as though it hasn’t been heard. His accessible, balanced engagement reveals what is inherently good and redeeming in hip-hop and rap music and uses that culture as a lens to open up the power of the Bible for ministry to a generation.
Whether you’re a pastor, student, or layperson, this volume will enhance your understanding of the relationship between theology and culture. All Scripture passages link to your favorite Bible translation in your library. You can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, pastors, and theologians have to say, making Logos eBooks ideal for studying contemporary culture.
From Gil-Scott Herron, Ice-T, DMX, Lil’ Kim, Mos Def, and Lauryn Hill to Christology, soteriology, and the role of the church, Hip-Hop Redemption is a brilliant read! Ralph Watkins’s gifts as a socio-theologian and hip-hop devotee come together in a way that redeems an essential dialogue for engaging realities of the church and today’s urbanized and global society.
—Ronald E. Peters, president, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA
Hip-hop deserves the theological interpretation that Watkins provides. This book should have a wide readership.
—James H. Cone, Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary
Watkins takes the reader on an allegorical theological journey into the heart of hip-hop culture and challenges us to examine the culture not just from the surface—with all its seemingly blasphemous aesthetics—but from a deeper theological vantage point asking this question: Where does God show up and speak within and through hip-hop culture? This read is for anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of not only theology and culture but also how hip-hop’s redemptive value is shown in its style, prose, syntax, and spirituality. Watkins’s text is a valuable addition to the growing scholarship in the field of hip-hop theological study.
—Daniel White Hodge, lecturing professor of religion and culture, California State University
Ralph Basui Watkins remixes hip-hop history from the inside—as a DJ and a scholar—with deep love and respect for the music. He engages in dual listening, connecting the plaintive raps of DMX and Common with the biblical tradition. Watkins also hears women calling hip-hop to a higher standard in the music of Lauryn Hill. Hip-Hop Redemption refreshed my playlist and my spirit. Like Grandmaster Flash, Watkins delivers ‘The Message.’
—Craig Detweiler, associate professor of communication, Pepperdine University