• Applies urban history to explain why rappers concurrently embrace God and rap about murder, misogyny, and mayhem without defending the oppressive aspects of the music
• Offers a representative sample of lyrics and videos with religious themes
• Covers all genres of rap from each distinct region from the 1990s through the 2010s
• Devotes an entire chapter to women and their relationship to God
• A bibliography of cited sources on rap music and hip hop culture
• An index of key terms and artists
• A discography of rap songs with religious themes
"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."
"Rap and Religion is a compelling read. It will provoke the reader to examine their attitude to a genre that arguably has hegemony in popular culture. Utley vividly describes some of the video footage referred to, enabling the reader to follow the line of academic argument. But there are times when you will simply need to ‘‘YouTube'' a track. 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."
"Rap and Religion is elegant, compelling, and desperately needed. Utley's bracing exploration of the godly and divine in rap music illuminates new, powerful, and poignant intersections between the politics of religion, race, gender, and commerce. A remarkable scholarly achievement, and a gift to hip hop fans everywhere."
Michael P. Jeffries, Author of Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip-HoP≪/i>, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Wellesley College