Religion, Diversity, and Hip-Hop

The impact of religion Is sometimes apparent In many different forms of art.

One type of artistic expression that religion is sometimes expressed in Is music. Whether it is specifically Christian-based music or secular, musicians of all genres may eventually write a song or sing about their religious beliefs at some point. There is a very broad spectrum of diversity in music. People from all around the world with different backgrounds, race, religion, and style can express themselves In this form. Growing up I was exposed to many different genres of music.Hip-hop, which is classified as a subculture that originated from an African American community in the 1 ass’s, has always been intriguing to me and is a huge part of who I am. There are four elements of Hip-Hop; rapping, Digging, break-dancing, and graffiti.

I will be focusing on the music aspect of Hip-Hop and the large Impact religion has on some of these artists that perform Hip-Hop music. Over the years, Hip-Hop music has gained a bad reputation. Many people find the lyrics to be offensive, obscene, or even racist. A very small portion of It Is, but most ofIt is the complete opposite. Matthew Paul Miller, better known by his Hebrew stage name Mantissas, is known for the positive messages he delivers through his reggae- rap style music. Mantissas says his Jewish spirituality has most, if not everything to do with the way he writes music. In his song “Jerusalem”, he raps about ancient history and religious acts that took place In Jerusalem.

He also talks about “the world coming together as brothers and sisters” and waiting on “The world to come” or the afterlife in Judaism.In his song “King Without a Crown” he talks about praying to his God and getting to know him and about the moment he was saved. These are Just a couple of examples of the use of religion In positive Hip-Hop form. Even though rap music Is sometimes viewed as negative, with some secular hip- hop artists, such as Tuba Shaker, who was raised Christian; you can see the plenty of songs representing this religious aspect of his life. In his song “Only God can Judge me” he talks about God being the most important and highest power, and only HIS opinion matters In life.Another secular example Is Nas, a Muslim-American Hip-Hop artist. Nas has a song called “One Mimic” where he talks about his need for a simple life that only contains things that God can give him and nothing else.

Many controversial artists such as Kenya West and Jay-Z have considered Hip-hop to be a religion In Itself to a certain extent. A few years ago Kenya West’s song “Jesus Walks” stirred up confusion in some people. Many think that West was portraying himself as Jesus Christ in the video and delivering a message that wasn’t appropriate to many Christians.Though, if you read the actual lyrics to the song, that’s not what he’s trying to do at all. Kenya was simply talking about the hardships of life and how they bring him down and asking God for forgiveness in this process. He was portraying “walking in Jesus Chrism’s footsteps”. West, along with rapper Jay-Z has been accused of being devil worshipers for many years and Christians have questioned their songs.

Both of these artists have claimed to not have a set religion, but that they do believe In God.Perhaps one reason that the negative accusations darted was when Kenya West stated a metaphor about the kind of music he 1 OFF are delivering a message, like that of a priest or preacher and people come to hear this message in person and live their lives in certain ways because of these messages. Whether these messages are positive or negative or can be taken in a religious form is up to the listener. A few artists have even left the music scene to return years later with a positive message.A good example of this is rapper, Mass with his album “Welcome back” that s full of songs about his new life as a saved Christian. Moms Deaf, another artist worth mentioning, is a member of the Nation of Islam and now chooses to only deliver positivist in his music. Islam is also said to be the majority religion of a lot of hip-hop artists.

Not only that but also many rap lyrics have been said to be Islam based. Fighting racism, and uplifting communities are common topics in a lot of these songs, and Islam is said to be the only religion that unties all races in this way.Many have compared hip-hop music to old Negro spirituals. The soulfulness and spirituality in Negro spirituals helped many people get through their day, and that’s the same impact hip-hop music has had on a lot of this generation. Music in general has obviously made a huge impact in our world today. It’s always nice to hear your favorite artists delivering a message of peace or sharing his or her beliefs with the world. A part of me likes to think that they are indeed making an impact on people.

We are all so diverse in our own ways and the way these artists express this idea is truly inspiring.

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