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Religion and Popular Culture in America, Third Edition$
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Bruce David Forbes and Jeffrey H. Mahan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520291447

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520291447.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

Rap Music and Its Message

Rap Music and Its Message

On Interpreting the Contact between Religion and Popular Culture

Chapter:
(p.390) Chapter Nineteen Rap Music and Its Message
Source:
Religion and Popular Culture in America, Third Edition
Author(s):

Anthony Pinn

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520291447.003.0020

This chapter provides a methodology for exploring and understanding the connections between religion and popular culture, labeled as “nitty-gritty hermeneutics.” Nitty-gritty hermeneutics exhibits a sense of nonconformity. It ridicules interpretations and interpreters who seek to inhibit or restrict liberative movement and hard inquiries into the problems of life. The chapter then discusses nitty-gritty hermeneutics in the blues and rap music. In particular, it argues that rap music is an implicit critique of the black church, an accusation that the church has been consumed with a moralism that fails to take seriously the realities of African American suffering. Though rap has been criticized by some religious voices, it fills a spiritual void and engages in a needed dialogue about the situation of many black lives.

Keywords:   rap music, blues, religion, popular culture, black church, nitty-gritty hermeneutics, American suffering

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