After a global pandemic, all the supply-chain delays, and a printing backlog, Boogie Down Predictions: Hip-Hop, Time, and Afrofuturism is available! You can get yours directly from Strange Attractor, the MIT Press, or the source of your choice (yes, including that one)! It's also in fine bookstores everywhere today. It is well worth the wait, but the wait is over!
Below is a bit about how it came together, a look at the cover, the blurbs, the table of contents, and an early review from The Wire magazine.
Over the past several years, I gathered up some friends, and we’ve been working on an edited collection, sort of a companion to my book, Dead Precedents: How Hip-Hop Defines the Future (Repeater Books, 2019). Time was one of the aspects of both hip-hop and cyberpunk that I didn’t get to talk about much in that book, so I started asking around. I found many other writers, scholars, theorists, DJs, and emcees, as interested in the intersections of hip-hop, time, and Afrofuturism as I was. As I continued contacting people and collecting essays, I got more and more excited about the book.
Well, it's now available from Strange Attractor Press! Check out the cover above by Edwin Pouncey a.k.a. Savage Pencil!
Through essays by some of hip-hop’s most interesting thinkers, theorists, journalists, writers, emcees, and DJs, Boogie Down Predictions is a quest to understand the connections between time, representation, and identity within hip-hop culture, as well as what that means for the culture at large. Introduced by Ytasha L. Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture (Lawrence Hill Books, 2013), this collection explores these temporalities, possible pasts, and further futures from a diverse, multi-layered, interdisciplinary perspective.
“This book, edited by Roy Christopher, is a moment. It is the deconstructed sample, the researched lyrical metaphors, the aha moment on the way to hip-hop enlightenment. Hip-hop permeates our world, and yet it is continually misunderstood. Hip-hop’s intersections with Afrofuturism and science fiction provide fascinating touchpoints that enable us to see our todays and tomorrows. This book can be, for the curious, a window into a hip-hop-infused Alter Destiny—a journey whose spaceship you embarked on some time ago. Are you engaging this work from the gaze of the future? Are you the data thief sailing into the past to U-turn to the now? Or are you the unborn child prepping to build the next universe? No, you’re the superhero. Enjoy the journey.”
— Ytasha L. Womack, from her Introduction
“Boogie Down Predictions offers new ways of listening to, looking at, and thinking about hip-hop culture. It teaches us that hip-hop bends time, blending past, present, and future in sound and sense. Roy Christopher has given us more than a book; it’s a cypher and everyone involved brought bars.”
— Adam Bradley, author, Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip-Hop
“The study of hip-hop requires more than a procession of protagonists, events, and innovations. Boogie Down Predictions stops the clock—each essay within it a frozen moment, an opportunity to look sub-atomically at the forces that drive this culture.”
— Dan Charnas, author, Dilla Time: How A Hip-Hop Producer Reinvented Rhythm and Changed the Way Musicians Play
“How does hip-hop fold, spindle, or mutilate time? In what ways does it treat technology as, merely, a foil? Are its notions of the future tensed…or are they tenseless? For Boogie Down Predictions, Roy Christopher’s trenchant anthology, he’s assembled a cluster of curious interlocutors. Here, in their hands, the culture has been intently examined, as though studying for microfractures in a fusion reactor. The result may not only be one of the most unique collections on hip-hop yet produced, but, even more, and of maximum value, a novel set of questions.”
— Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin
Preface – Roy Christopher
Introduction – Ytasha L. Womack
1. Take Me Back: Ghostface’s Ghosts – Steven Shaviro
2. Two Dope Boyz (In a Visual World) – Tiffany E. Barber
3. Close to the Edge: “This Is America” and the Extended Take in Hip-Hop Music Video – Jeff M. Heinzl
4. Glitched: Spacetime, Repetition, and the Cut – Nettrice R. Gaskins
5. “The Theology of Timing” Black Consciousness and the Origin of Hip-hop Culture – Omar Akbar
6. Breakbeat Poems – Kevin Coval
7. The Free Space/Time Style of Black Wholes – Juice Aleem
8. Chopping Neoliberalism, Screwing the Record Labels: DJ Screw, Atavistic Hipsters and Temporal Politics – Aram Sinnreich & Samantha Dols
9. Scratch Cyborgs: The Hip-Hop DJ as Technology – André Sirois
10. Public Enemy and How Copyright Changed Hip-Hop – Kembrew McLeod
11. Done by the Trickle Trickle: Jbeez With the Ley Liners – Dave Tompkins
12. Preprogramming the Present: The Musical Time Machines of Gabriel Teodros – Erik Steinskog
13. The Cult of RAMM:∑LL:Z∑∑: A Hagiography into Chaos – Joël Vacheron
14. Hip-Hop’s Modes of Production are Futuristic – Chuck Galli
15. #ThisIsAmerica: Rappers, Racism, and Twitter – Tia C. M. Tyree
III. THE FUTURE
16. Further Considerations on Afrofuturism – Kodwo Eshun
17. Afrofuturism and the Intersectionality of Civil Rights, the Space Race, Hip-Hop, and Black Femininity – K. Ceres Wright
18. Afrofuturism in clipping.’s Splendor & Misery – Jonathan Hay
19. Black Star Lines: Ontopolitics of Exodus, Afrofuturist Hip-Hop, and the RZA-rrection of Bobby Digital – tobias c. van Veen
20. Constructing a Theory and Practice of Black Quantum Futurism – Rasheedah Phillips
Many thanks to Jamie Sutcliffe and Mark Pilkington at Strange Attractor Press for their support and enthusiasm, Dominic Rafferty for the stellar layouts, and Savage Pencil for the dopest cover. Thanks to those who contributed words, images, and direction, those who wished us well, and those who didn't.
And thank you for checking it out!
Hank Shocklee by Netrice Gaskins.
Also, there's a nice review of the book in the September issue of The Wire:
Boogie Down Predictions is available directly from Strange Attractor, the MIT Press, or the source of your choice (yes, including that one)! It's also in fine bookstores everywhere today. I cannot wait for you to see this thing!
Spread the word and the love!
As always, thank you for your continued interest and support! It is appreciated.
So stoked on this one!