Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper

Episode 056: Spirituality in Modern Hip Hop: The Theology of Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper

“Has secular hip hop “gone religious”? One platinum-selling artist gives performances on high-profile stages that resemble worship services. Another critically acclaimed rapper includes on his album interludes with expositions from Deuteronomy. This small trend is a surprise. In the ’90s, hip hop music was generally anti-Christian (see: Ras Kass). Paris, Public Enemy, and X-Clan advocated militant nationalism. Wu-Tang, Brand Nubian, Rakim, Digable Planets, and Poor Righteous Teachers espoused Five Percent beliefs (a Nation of Islam sect). Nas and Jay-Z employed semiblasphemous statements and imagery.

Hip hop music has often been “spiritually minded,” but recent times saw less spiritual content. Hedonism and nihilism permeate; hip hop’s current stars are preoccupied with girls, gold, and a good time. Yet, there are anomalies: twenty-four-year-old Chance the Rapper and thirty-year-old Kendrick Lamar.”

This Postmodern Realities Podcast episode is a JOURNAL author conversation with Vocab Malone about his Volume 40 #6 feature article film “Spirituality in Modern Hip Hop: The Theology of Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper.”

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