There was something so raw and so real and so forbidden about being 12 listening to 2Pac’s Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. It felt like what I saw on the news. It felt prophetic. Problematic. I think that’s what makes Chris L. Butler’s newest chapbook, Sacrilegious (Fahmidan), seem so important. It’s creates a line between personal mantra and Society’s persona. It’s the idea that we could have learned from the past. It’s here where Butler’s use of erasure to reexamine the Machiavellian lyrics truly shines. These are not erasures to create new pieces, but rather to provide the neon signposts to what still feels like the news. Prophetic and problematic.  

Because, after all, religion can be found inside a Walkman. Inside a radio song. A news segment. Because inside these personal stories and erasures of 2Pac lines we find a refreshed and re-defined sense of The Word. It’s here we Butler reminds us that if we read between the rhymes of the past and the news of the present, we might understand the true prophecy of hip-hop culture. 

Chris L. Butler brilliantly weaves his narrative style of poetry with erasures of the rap canon to show how life can have you “reciting the soliloquies of Shakur more than the parables of Jesus”. 

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