Since we’re on the subject of hip-hop today, Dr. Monica Miller gave a recent Skepticon talk in which she discussed the Humanism in modern hip-hop. You can see it, paradoxically, through the God talk in the songs, where rappers even refer to themselves as God, but not a metaphysical God. (Think Kanye West‘s “Yeezus.”) Miller says this is a kind of “re-altering of authority.”
Her discussion of artists’ expression of their own religious views, their own dissenting opinions, brought me to no longer just regard these lyrics as components of songs, but as tools to reach the public. Her discussion of the culture of hip hop, its social implications, and its devoted followers opened my eyes to the strong connections to the cultural aspects of religion, and in a growing secular society — this means more and more artists’ open dissent with religion and increasing secular influences in the hip hop culture. Although I had always considered music to be a tool for artists to express their views — religious or otherwise — never before had I thought so deeply about these lyrics being used as a tool, or the hip hop culture manifesting its own religion.