Hip-hop and religion focus of ASU lecture series

By

Marshall Terrill

<p>Hip-hop’s origins, widespread influence on popular culture, and its unlikely association to religion will be the subject of the second Humanities Lecture Series at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.</p><p>Josef Sorett will present, “Believe Me, This Pimp Game is Very Religious: A Religious History of Hip-hop, From KRS-ONE to Kanye West” on Feb. 24. Hosted by ASU’s School of Letters and Science and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, the lecture starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Nursing and Health Innovation Building Two, 550 N. Third St., Phoenix, Innovation Auditorium, Room 110.</p><p>The spring 2011 Humanities Lecture series is free and open to the public.</p><p>Sorett, an assistant professor in religion and African-American Studies at New York’s Columbia University, said hip-hop music isn’t just about street violence, sex and drugs. It’s a God thing, too.</p><p>“At face value there’s this image of hip-hop and religion being mutually exclusive, but on closer inspection there are very close connections. Musicians and artists are like most human beings and they have questions about all the complexities of life and death, such as gender, sexuality, politics, and religion,” Sorett said. “There is a diversity of religions represented in hip-hop music.”</p><p>Sorett believes that artists such as Jay-Z, Naz, DMX, Ja Rule, Lauren Hill, Drake, Cassidy, 50 Cent and RZA have faithfully documented religious diversity from Christianity to Islam to Judaism as hip-hop has evolved from the 1980s to the present.</p><p>In addition to dancing its way into religious culture, Sorett will also discuss hip-hop’s origins from the early 1970s, its meteoric rise in the 1980s and 1990s, and how the music continues to reflect and shape popular culture and our society.</p><p>“Hip-hop’s longevity is due to the fact that it keeps shifting and evolving with society. Part of its resilience is its ability to draw on whatever resources are available and that it speaks to so many different cultures and socio-economic groups,” Sorett said. “It’s a phenomenon that can’t be neatly placed away.”</p><p>For directions, visit <a href=" http://nursingandhealthasu.edu/contact/nursing-buildings.htm">http://nur... . For parking information, visit <a href=" http://nursingandhealth.asu.edu/contact/parking/htm">http://nursingandhe... . For more information call Dr. Mirna. Lattouf, lecture series organizer, at (602) 496-0638 or visit <a href=" http://sls.asu.edu/news.html">http://sls.asu.edu/news.html</a>.</p>