Friday, October 02, 2009

Hip-Hop as Religion?

Taken from Chanel Graham at
"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."


J. Hill said...

I saw KRS-1 speak while I was at Kent. I think it was about 96/97. His talk was all over the place from civil rights, to rap, to religion. He made a comment back then that the reason the world is messed up is because we see God as a man when he is really a woman. At that point people started to leave. I know KRS still draws crowds, I don't know what his influence is like. I hope its minimal.

generic viagra said...

The music moves the hearts of people, so it is used in the religious aspect ... That's wonderful that these artists take the initiative to make this book ... helps a lot to the young

Anonymous said...

Music has the power to do a lot of things... it can move hearts, it can also enrage and influence, both positive and negative. I think that calling it a religion is negative. telling people that they don't have to believe in God, that this religion and he considers himself a god.... sends the wrong message. Kids are moved based on their emotions and the sound of music... Most folks need to listen closely to the message and the meaning behind the message to truly hear what he is saying.