Tupac's appropriation of Jesus reminds us that our deaths—no matter what the cause—do not have to be in vain. As long as we find a way to impact the world before leaving it, our memories will keep coming back in forms we may least expect.
All too often, the civil rights generation is ready to decry the amnesia and irresponsibility of the Hip Hop generation. With equal eloquence and even greater defiance, the Hip Hop generation trumpets the death of all civil rights sensibilities.
Going beyond the traditional and more common approach of analyzing rap lyrics, from film, dance, to virtual reality, Religion and Hip Hop takes a fresh approach to exploring the paranoid posture of the religious in popular cultural forms, by going beyond what "is" religious about Hip Hop culture.
My motivation for writing this book is plentiful. But one reason stands out the most; the commercialization of Hip-hop. I believe that radio stations, music video channels and those individual Hip-hop artists that are making a lot of money from the business side of Hip-hop has created a monopoly in the music and in the culture. As a result, the “other” side of Hip-hop lacks exposure and what we get is a one-sided view of Hip-hop that has many critics. But what I try to do in this book is expose the positive side of Hip-hop by introducing its spiritual and social justice characteristics; which are most notably seen through its various ministries in (and outside) of the church.
These portraits of young Black men in London and questionable deaths in police custody are not new. In the past twenty years, over 1,400 people have died in police custody and police officer has never been charged. Ricky Bishop, Smiley Culture, and host of others are among those who died under suspicious circumstances in police custody. There is a general sense in the Black British population that their lives are not valued by the police. Moreover, many Black youth feel alienated from British society.