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Hip Hop Project

Throughout history, music has been an instrumental part of the religious experience in the lives of African Americans. The church has been the primary conduit through which African Americans have received religious instruction, guidance and affirmation of religious beliefs. Through the use of sacred song, religious beliefs have been confirmed by inclusion of scriptural references into the musical composition. Today's African American youth and young adults no longer find solace in the sacred song as it was traditionally developed and delivered. The music genre in the African American community has evolved from the Negro spiritual to the latest genre of rap. The infusion of rap into the daily living experiences of African American youth and young adults has created a distinctly different era of musical variety in which sacred scriptural references have been included among lyrics that are in opposition to what some religious leaders and scholars would call blasphemy and thereby creating a dichotomy within the church (Powe & Johnson, 1997; West, 1992). The purpose of this research is to explore, compare, and distinguish religious themes of sacred and secular rap. Specifically, how does rap music including both sacred and secular influence African American adolescent development?