"Pioneering hip-hop artist KRS-One is releasing a new book this fall called The Gospel of Hip-Hop. The 600-page book is modeled after the Christian Bible and said to serve as a life-guide manual for 'Hiphoppas," the term KRS-One uses to describe members of hip-hop culture. Including a hodgepodge of philosophy on faith, peace, and self-reliance, KRS-One hopes to help Hiphoppas change their circumstances to live a life that encompasses what he's termed the H-LAW (Health, Love, Awareness, and Wealth).
This isn't the first time KRS-One has talked about hip-hop as a religion. Back in 2000, he spoke with Beliefnet about what he called the Temple of Hiphop, a group whose membership included Lauryn Hill, Kid Capri, and Busta Rhymes among others who declared hip-hop their life. KRS-One, whose real name is Lawrence Krishna Parker, described the Temple of Hiphop as a "hip-hop preservation society." He said, "We believe that not only is hip-hop divine, but the temple is divinely ordained, because we accept it as that."
The Gospel of Hip-Hop is a continuation of the Temple of Hiphop ideals, as well as KRS-One's 14-year study of the music subculture. The rapper claims, "In 100 years, this book will be a new religion on earth." Bold statement.
We're not so sure KRS-One has stumbled onto the next Nation of Islam or anything, but his language does strike us as sounding a bit cultish. It is interesting, though, to ponder the idea of hip-hop as more than music. It has already evolved into a culture that transcends race and class, but at what point does the music evolve into a religion? Should we be concerned about false prophets springing up from the world of hip-hop?
I don't know about you, but it sounds to us like KRS-One is ascribing to hip-hop the kind of faith and devotion that should only belong to our Father in heaven. Perhaps he's found a purpose and fulfillment in hip-hop that he's been unable to find anywhere else. I'm sure there's millions of young men and women in our cities, suburbs, and rural communities who may have a similar testimony. Still, KRS-One and each of us need to step back from the idols we've embraced in life and realize that anything that's righteous and true is a gift from above, not from Jay Z or Lil Wayne."
Friday, October 02, 2009
Hip-Hop as Religion?
Taken from Chanel Graham at UrbanFaith.com: