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Keepin’it real: London youth hip hop as an authentic performance of belief

DeHanas, Daniel Nilsson (2013) Keepin’it real: London youth hip hop as an authentic performance of belief. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 28 (2). pp. 295-308. ISSN 1353-7903. (doi:10.1080/13537903.2013.783340) (KAR id:35882)


Hip hop is a global cultural phenomenon that encompasses rap music, dance, graffiti art, and fashion as well as particular ways of being. One sub-genre of hip hop is Gospel rap, in which Christian rappers attempt to represent the truth of God as a tangible reality, thereby keepin it real. This study investigates how young British Jamaican male adults in the Brixton area of London appropriate hip hop for their own ends. Based on original raps authored and performed by these young people, the research finds that their representations of spiritual reality are influenced by the conventions and boundaries of professional Gospel rap. The study describes how youth incorporate religious hip hop into their everyday lives and argues that in some cases hip hop performance becomes a method for pedagogically reshaping the body, giving religious beliefs an embodied authenticity.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/13537903.2013.783340
Additional information: Special Issue: Belief as Cultural Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Mita Mondal
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2013 14:07 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

DeHanas, Daniel Nilsson.

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