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Watkins (From Jay-Z to Jesus), an associate professor of society, religion, and Africana studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., opens the door and eardrum to a deep theological exegesis of the music and culture of hip-hop. Under the beat and the rhyme he hears reflection of, and about, life for African-American youth in the city. Hip-hop is the child of the blues as well, he asserts, springing from the same soul-deep need as the blues, a need to lament and to be frank. Watkins is no apologist, however, for the "sexism, misogyny, and capitalistic greed" that is also a part of hip-hop culture. He calls that out even as he affirms the directness and authenticity of what is said in and by the music. Anyone who wants to know why hip-hop is so popular should read this brilliant analysis.