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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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From the Back Cover
"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
This is a very good read, full of surprises.