What is Hip Hop?

Hip hop speaks in a voice that is sometimes gruff, sometimes enraged, sometimes despairing, sometimes hopeful.

Hip hop is the voice of forgotten streets laying claim to the high life of rims and timbs and threads and bling.

Hip hop speaks in the muddled language of would-be prophets--mocking the architects of the status quo and stumbling in the dark toward a blurred vision of a world made right.

What is hip hop? It's a cultural movement with a traceable theological center. Daniel White Hodge follows the tracks of hip-hop theology and offers a path from its center to the cross, where Jesus speaks truth.

"Daniel White Hodge engages in deep listening, hearing the authentic cry for justice inherent in Hip Hop. He samples the sharpest scholars to forge his own sound---raw, gritty, real and hopeful. Give The Soul of Hip Hop plenty of play."

Craig Detweiler, Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture, Pepperdine University, editor of Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God

"When most scholars, critics and religious voices have taken a reductionist approach to Hip Hop culture and music, Dr. Daniel White Hodge reveals the complexity, spiritualism and inspiration that shape Hip Hop. As a Hip Hop pastor, Dr. Hodge successfully connects the transforming philosophies that exist between Christianity and Hip Hop theology. Insightfully, he underscores the distinctions between the commercialized lyrics and behavior that permeate mainstream media and the more consciousness-raising messages in the content and rhythms of grass-roots Hip Hop. Dr. Hodge boldly invites the reader to contextualize the life and activism of the biblical Jesus in order to appreciate the collective power and relevance of Hip Hop culture."

Melvin Donalson, Ph.D., author of Hip Hop in American Cinema

"A noteworthy text that adequately peels back the complex relationship between Hip Hop, religion, and theology, Hodge?s monograph should be a required reading for any undergraduate or graduate course on the contemporary black church, black theology, or urban youth/young adult ministry."

Brandon Winstead, Journal of Youth Ministry, 2011

"Hodge provides fresh insights about the music and the culture from which it sprang . . . An exciting and important book that can help veteran fans and newbies read between the lines of this major musical phenomenon."

Steve Rabey, YouthWorker Journal, January/February 2011
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CONTENTS

Language Disclaimer
List of Tables Figures

Introduction: From Social Isolation to the Presidency: A Theological Reflection on Hip Hop

Session One: A Bird's-Eye View of Hip Hop
1 Back in the Day: Tracing the Social and Theological Origins of Hip Hop
2 Hip Hop the Post-Soul Matrix

Session Two: The Theology of Hip Hop
3 Pain, Misery, Hate Love All at Once: A Theology of Suffering
4 Where Are My Dawgs At? A Theology of Community
5 Jesuz Is Hip Hop: A Theology of the Hip Hop Jesuz
6 Tupac?s Nit Grit Hood Gospel: A Theology of Social Action Justice
7 Finding Jesus in the Shadows: A Theology of the Profane

Session Three: Missionally Engaging Hip Hop's Theology
8 The Scandal of Loving the Ethnos: Beginning the Dialogue of Hip Hop Missions
9 See You at the Crossroads: Jesuz, Hip Hop Missions in Post-9/11 America

Tha Epilogue: Reflections from a Hip Hopper
References Cited
Index

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Daniel White Hodge (PhD, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary) is associate professor of intercultural communications at North Park University in Chicago, where he also chairs the department of communication arts and is research lead for the Catalyst 606__ program. He also serves as editor in chief of the Journal of Hip Hop Studies. He is the author of Heaven Has a Ghetto, The Soul of Hip Hop, and Hip Hop's Hostile Gospel: A Post Soul Theological Exploration.

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