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Ebook Information

The Street Is My Pulpit

Hip Hop and Christianity in Kenya

The bass meets the beatified in Kenya's dynamic youth culture

To some, Christianity and hip hop seem antithetical. Not so in Kenya. There, the music of Julius Owino, aka Juliani, blends faith and beats into a potent hip hop gospel aimed at a youth culture hungry for answers spiritual, material, and otherwise.

Mwenda Ntarangwi explores the Kenyan hip hop scene through the lens of Juliani's life and career. A born-again Christian, Juliani produces work highlighting the tensions between hip hop's forceful self-expression and a pious approach to public life, even while contesting the basic presumptions of both. In The Street Is My Pulpit, Ntarangwi forges an uncommon collaboration with his subject that offers insights into Juliani's art and goals even as Ntarangwi explores his own religious experience and subjective identity as an ethnographer. What emerges is an original contribution to the scholarship on hip hop's global impact and a passionate study of the music's role in shaping new ways of being Christian in Africa.


"Opens a window on one dimension of how younger, politically conscious Kenyan Christians express their faith."--Christianity Today

"Well written, entertaining, and eye-opening."--Daily Nation

"Refreshing and highly informative."--Christian Century

"A remarkably imaginative and personalized approach to popular music and youth culture, which sheds fascinating light on Kenya's changing culture, history, politics, and especially Christianity."--Paul Gifford, author of Christianity, Politics, and Public Life in Kenya

"A very provocative, fascinating, even entertaining peek into the youthful ferment under way in African Christianity."--Emmanuel Katongole, author of The Sacrifice of Africa: A Political Theology for Africa

"Reading The Street Is My Pulpit is refreshing in diverse ways. It is a lesson on the intersection between creativity and social media in Africa, a continent that is reaping the benefits of information technologies in fundamental ways. The book is also a journey into ethnographic research in the digital age."--Kimani Njogu, author of Youth and Peaceful Elections in Kenya


Mwenda Ntarangwi is an associate professor of anthropology at Calvin College. He is the author of East African Hip Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization.

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