Is there too much violence in hip-hop music? What's the difference between Kimberly Jones and the artist Lil' Kim? Is hip-hop culture a "black" thing? Is it okay for N.W.A. to call themselves niggaz and for Dave Chappelle to call everybody bitches? These witty, provocative essays ponder these and other thorny questions, linking the searing cultural issues implicit -- and often explicit -- in hip-hop to the weighty matters examined by the great philosophers of the past. The book shows that rap classics by Lauryn Hill, OutKast, and the Notorious B.I.G. can help uncover the meanings of love articulated in Plato's Symposium; that Rakim, 2Pac, and Nas can shed light on the conception of God's essence expressed in St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica; and explores the connection between Run-D.M.C., Snoop Dogg, and Hegel. Hip-Hop and Philosophy proves that rhyme and reason, far from being incompatible, can be mixed and mastered to contemplate life's most profound mysteries.