JESUS & THE HIP-HOP PROPHETS: Spiritual Insights from Lauryn Hill and 2pac Shakur

Alex Gee, Author, John Teter, Author
Alex Gee, Author, John Teter, Author . InterVarsity $7 (116p) ISBN 978-0-8308-3234-7
Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 12/01/2003
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Cleverly organized into seven short "tracks" instead of chapters, this slim volume offers reflections on the lyrics of two popular recording artists, Lauryn Hill and the late 2pac Shakur. That Teter, director of two More Than Conquerors campus ministries in California, and Gee, pastor of Fountain of Life Family Worship Center in Madison, Wis., are knowledgeable fans of hip-hop and admirers of the two featured lyricists is unmistakable. Equally evident is their desire to enable their fellow fans to discover the spiritual truths embedded in the lyrics. But the jarring shifts from hip-hop jargon to standard English throughout much of the book causes the jargon to come across as inauthentic. The book also suffers from the typical awkwardness of the first-person narratives of two writers—the "I, Alex" and "My (John's)" type of construction. Finally, there's the not-so-minor question of prophetic attribution: To include "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"—recorded by Hill but written 35 years ago by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio—as evidence of Hill's prophetic voice is a bit of a stretch. Still, the book offers a valuable look at the connection between the harshness of urban life and the prophetic warnings from two singers who managed to find hope amid difficult circumstances. (Dec.)

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