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Hip-Hop Redemption: Finding God in the Rhythm and the Rhyme (Engaging Culture) Paperback – October 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Engaging Culture
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080103311X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801033117
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,262,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Finding God in the Music and Message of Hip-Hop

"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! 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, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta

"Hip-hop deserves the theological interpretation that Watkins provides. This book should have a wide readership."
--James H. Cone, Union Theological Seminary

"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, Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture, Pepperdine University

"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. A valuable addition to the growing scholarship in the field of hip-hop theological study."
--Daniel White Hodge, California State University, Northridge; author, The Soul of Hip-Hop: Rims, Timbs, and a Cultural Theology

"American Christians easily find redemptive themes in the music of Bob Dylan and U2. What Watkins provides are the resources for Christians to understand that if all truth is God's truth, then God can also be found in the world of hip-hop. I hope Hip-Hop Redemption will ignite needed conversations about the ways in which this music and movement can be used to understand the complex urban narratives in America so that the gospel can reach all communities for Christ."
--Anthony B. Bradley, The King's College

About the Author

Ralph Basui Watkins (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is associate professor of evangelism and church growth at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and the author of several books, including From Jay Z to Jesus and The Gospel Remix. He previously was assistant dean of the African American church studies program and associate professor of society, religion, and Africana studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.

More About the Author

Ralph Watkins is associate professor of evangelism and church growth at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur Georgia. His work focuses on building bridges between young adults and the church in order to develop future leaders.

With over 20 years of pastoral, teaching, and administrative experience, Watkins is an active teaching scholar and has over 250 publications and conference presentations to his credit. He is author of the books The Gospel Remix: Reaching the Hip Hop Generation (2007) and I Ain't Afraid to Speak My Mind (2003). His most recent book Jay Z to Jesus: Reaching and Teaching Young Adults in the African American Church which he co-authored with Benjamin Stephens is helping thousands of congregations around the country effectively reach young adults in urban centers. His new book Successful Pastoral Transitions in the African American Church is due to be released in June of 2010 from Judson Press. He is currently working on his next book project, Hip-Hop Redemption: Finding God in the Music and the Message to be released by Baker Academic Press in late 2010. Additionally, Watkins contributed the chapter "Rap, Religion, and New Realities: The Emergence of a Religious Discourse in Rap Music" to the book Noise and Spirit: The Religious Sensibilities of Rap Music (2003), which is considered an outstanding treatment of hip-hop and theology.
In recent years, Watkins has received a Governor's Teaching Fellowship, Lilly Teaching Fellowship, Fulbright Hayes Fellowship for a study in Ghana, a Wabash Teaching Fellowship, and various awards and study grants to study in the in Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Mexico, and Ethiopia. He is ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) denomination and served as the executive pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles under Rev. Dr. John J. Hunter. Prior to returning to FAME he served as Director of Ecclesia / Executive Pastor at The City of Refuge under Bishop Noel Jones.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Hogan on May 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me preface this review by saying I know very little about hip hop. I'm a white guy from the South. The extent of my personal hip hop knowledge is limited to the Beastie Boys. And, even just then I probably exposed how ignorant I really am as they probably wouldn't even be considered hip hop by many.

That said, being an Amazon Prime member I'm able to check out a free book periodically. Searching for Christian topics I found this one and it stuck out because it mentioned the writer was from Eatonville, Florida which is just a few miles from where I live in Orlando.

My 14 year old son -- who is also a Christian is also a huge fan of hip hop. I accepted it; but, had little desire to understand it.

The most amazing chapter (so far) for me was Track 3: Interlude: Moving In and Out where Professor Watkins comes about as close to a phenomenological description of hip hop. I felt what he felt reading it.

I found the common ground. I grew up listening to another style of street music. Punk Rock. I can't begin to recount the concerts that I've left feeling a spiritual connection.

My fuel was punk -- Professor Watkins fuel is hip hop.

I won't pretend that this book has made my ears appreciate hip hop. But, what it has done is removed a bias I comfortably held.

For the theologian (or amateur Christian philosopher) you'll enjoy the academic investigations conducted in this book. But, for the non-academic his writing is lucid enough that understanding comes natural. He's able to break down hip hop in the same vein that Mortimer J. Adler broke down philosophy.

It is very digestible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mistermaxxx08 HALL OF FAME on July 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
i truly enjoyed where this book went and what it said. there is a balance and it can bridge the gap and this book is very enlightening and paced just right. words and rhythm is the common theme here and its echoed throughout. a highly enjoyable book and a book that connects more than anything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The JH Uth Guy on June 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Admittedly at first glance at the title of this book I had two very different reactions almost simultaneously. The first was from my present as youth pastor and other was from my past as a teen listening to secular hip hop and rap. Either way I was intrigued and ready for the content of this book.

The book tells the author's personal story of becoming a fan of hip hop as an adult, explains the history of true hip hop with connection to its blues roots, and makes a case for the theology and redemptive qualities of hip hop. The first half of the book sets the stage well for "the what" of hip hop leading to the second half presenting "the why & how".

Dr. Watkins has done his research and addresses the topic personally and intellectually. He tackles the normal concerns of the American church and its reactionary views to the music, the lifestyle, and the scene. His rationale and defense is well thought, while I admit I may not agree at every point. I however appreciate and love this raw & real book. With so much of rap and hip hop culture influencing our students no matter your context, this is a true resource. It may not be a book you hand to a student or parent, but it is a book that should be read by any youth pastor seeking to be more culturally aware and informed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Please do not dismiss Hip Hop because the style is not what you are accustomed to. When your ears are attuned enough you will pick up the deep meaning of the message wrapped up in the lyrics and the rap of Hip Hop. The Hip Hop culture is about Truth. It recognises the many aspects of the unique struggle of their generation, and supports, communicates and protests. These Rap artists are that ordinary ' boy next door', unexpectedly gifted, inspired,, as were those prophets we can read about in the Old Testament. It is pointing to the politicians, the local leaders,to the comfortably off middle class, and to our churches. It is calling out to us to make a difference. Will we listen?
This is a very good read, full of surprises.
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By Dwight on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the book we've been waiting on. Anyone doing relevant, urban ministry will need to digest the contents of this book and reevaluate the content and delivery of the Gospel message. I can't wait to finish this.
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