Clarence Williams, Prairie View A&M University

Chance the Rapper: A Reexamination of the Religious Socialization of Chicago’s Native son

Abstract: This qualitative study explores the artificial boundaries that historically have separated sacred and secular musical expressions. This poster identified religious socialization messages in Chance the Rapper’s three (3) hit singles “Blessings,” “Finishline/Drown,” and “All we got” titles on his latest project, “Coloring Book.”  Questioning day-to-day circumstances of youth living in urban communities, Chance the Rapper uses both secular and sacred religious dialogues to reference God.  Those questions often relate to the ultimate meaning of life, ontological diatribes that frequently describe societal conditions.  In so doing, scholars across diverse disciplines identify musical artists such as Chance the Rapper as both preachers and theologians to the generations who listen to them. In particular, the fans of Chance the Rapper and others identify with the claim that these rappers can speak for God. In study one, a preliminary content analysis of three songs revealed several themes and they represented: 1) wisdom to guide your path; 2) teachings about wholeness; and 3) strength and deliverance.  Findings revealed that the loss of societal practices underscoring religion in secular spaces such as schools may hinder the psychoeducational development of some African American males.  Chance the Rapper’s music fills the void regarding the loss of these societal practices; and, therefore, his music may provide spiritual guidance for the current, generation of young African American males.  Study two builds upon these preliminary findings to examine Chance the Rappers’ entire body of work and this qualitative study will examine five songs to assess religious socialization messages.  Similar to the previous research, the implications of these findings will address religious practices of African American male young adults.

Presentation Author(s):
Clarence Williams*

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