Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels (Music of the African Diaspora #19) (Paperback)

By Christina Zanfagna

University of California Press, 9780520296206, 218pp.

Publication Date: August 29, 2017

List Price: 34.95*
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A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program for monographs. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more.
In the 1990s, Los Angeles was home to numerous radical social and environmental eruptions. In the face of several major earthquakes and floods, riots and economic insecurity, police brutality and mass incarceration, some young black Angelenos turned to holy hip hop—a movement merging Christianity and hip hop culture—to “save” themselves and the city. Converting street corners to open-air churches and gangsta rap beats into anthems of praise, holy hip hoppers used gospel rap to navigate complicated social and spiritual realities and to transform the Southland’s fractured terrains into musical Zions. Armed with beats, rhymes, and bibles, they journeyed through black Lutheran congregations, prison ministries, African churches, reggae dancehalls, hip hop clubs, Nation of Islam meetings, and Black Lives Matter marches. Zanfagna’s fascinating ethnography provides a contemporary and unique view of black LA, offering a much-needed perspective on how music and religion intertwine in people's everyday experiences.

About the Author

Christina Zanfagna is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Ethnic Studies at Santa Clara University.

Praise For Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels (Music of the African Diaspora #19)

“While most scholarship on hip hop is focused on lyrical analysis, Zanfagna takes the sanctifying process of lyrical conversion in holy hip hop and situates it within the religious, cultural, and physical landscapes of LA. …Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels is a thorough and engaging account of race, religion, and personal striving for musical authenticity and spiritual movement within and across spaces that historically have denied and constrained both.”

— Reading Religion