Explore a specific topic related to hip hop that you think you might want to work on this semester. What do you know about it without having done any specific research for this class? What would you like to know more about? Do you already have strong feelings about some of the controversies related to this topic?
As a religious studies major and a hip-hop head, I’m especially interested in how religion interacts with hip-hop. I’ve written about hip-hop on multiple occasions, and I’ve also covered the music of multiple churches in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, so that’s provided me with some insight on the topic. Additionally, I’ve taken multiple religious studies classes, although this is my first hip-hop course.
I’d really love to look deeper into how religion specifically affects some of the hot button issues in hip-hop – gender and sexuality, especially misogyny and homophobia. Is the role of women in hip-hop similar to the role of women in religion? How do they compare and contrast? How does word choice affect the perception of hip-hop in the eyes of larger culture? Are hip-hop’s views of masculinity rooted in Christianity’s views of masculinity?
But also more generally, how was hip-hop changed religion, especially in urban black communities?
How common is hip-hop in churches? Are more churches embracing hip-hop?
How have our perceptions of race affected hip-hop and Christianity? How have hip-hop and Christianity affected our society’s perceptions of race? Is it mostly positive or negative?
How has consumerism affected hip-hop and religion? Has commodification taken them away from their roots? Has that helped or hurt overall? In what ways?
At this point, I haven’t really made any conclusive judgments about these topics – and I don’t think I should until I dive deeper into the issues. Still, these are a few of the many topics that I’d like to learn about during this semester.