- Purchase/rental options available:
There exist persistent strands of spiritual insight in rap lyrics that work to nurture a worldview of hope based in the translation of key biblical themes into the postmodern, urban environment. These themes are not superimposed from the past onto present conditions. Instead, they are reimagined in the rapper’s imaginings of street life. The article proceeds first with a discussion on the nature of rap and its communication power. Then, it examines four essential biblical themes that recur in rap lyrics with some frequency and from a variety of artists. Its thesis is that rap offers substantial testimony to the resilience and value of the human soul that scholars of religion have thus far neglected. These themes, namely, of prophetic realism, redemption, incarnation, and resurrection are evident in over two decades of rap music. This suggests their staying power and growth within the musical genre of rap and also that rap’s poetic creation warrants serious theological attention. A concluding section argues that rap’s insight into these themes could benefit the wider culture in its spiritual malaise.