A content analysis was conducted on the lyrics of 24 Hip Hop songs to identify how Black male Hip Hop artists discuss heaven. The songs were released between 1993 and 2015 and phenomenology was the theoretical foundation on which the themes were identified. I propose that Black Hip Hop artists create a heaven that reflects their own experiences, values, and traditions, envision a heaven where the weak and oppressed receive vindication from the indignities suffered on earth as well as a way to connect with dead loved ones. Essentially, Black Hip Hop artists’ expressions of heaven acknowledge racial experiences, demonstrates their belief in God and/or a Higher Power, as well as their need to communicate with God and/or a Higher Power. Furthermore, Black male Hip Hop artists’ expressions of heaven highlight their need to seek the direction of God and/or a Higher Power, motivates them to create positive change in their communities, and perceive heaven and/or the afterlife in ways that are based on their earthly relationships and experiences. This study was led by the following two questions: (1) How is heaven described by Black male artists in Hip Hop? (2) How do Black male Hip Hop artists conceptualizations of heaven shape their perceptions of earthly experiences? An analysis of the 24 Hip Hop lyrics revealed Black male Hip Hop artists described heaven in the following five ways: (a) Heaven as Superior to Earth; (b) Heaven as the Ultimate Reward; (c) Heaven as Reunification with Loved Ones; (d) Heaven as Segregated; (e) Heaven as Synonymous with Sensual Love. Qualitative examples are provided to support each of the aforementioned themes.
© The Journal
Chaney, Cassandra D.
""Is There a Heaven for a Gangsta?": Hip Hop, Spirituality, and Heaven,"
Journal of Hip Hop Studies: Vol. 5
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jhhs/vol5/iss1/6