Hip-Hop, Time, and Afrofuturism

(Strange Attractor Press)

Through essays by some of hip-hop’s most interesting thinkers, theorists, journalists, writers, emcees, and DJs, Boogie Down Predictions embarks on a quest to understand the connections between time, representation, and identity within hip-hop culture and 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, this book explores these temporalities, possible pasts, and further futures from a diverse, multilayered, interdisciplinary perspective.

Featuring contributions from Omar Akbar, Juice Aleem, Tiffany E. Barber, Kevin Coval, Samantha Dols, Kodwo Eshun, Chuck Galli, Nettrice Gaskins, Jonathan Hay, Jeff Heinzl, Kembrew McLeod, Rasheedah Phillips, Steven Shaviro, Aram Sinnreich, André Sirois, Erik Steinskog, Dave Tompkins, Tia C.M. Tyree, Joël Vacheron, tobias c. van Veen, K. Ceres Wright, and Ytasha Womack.


Roy Christopher’s dedication to the future is bracing. Boogie Down Predictions is a symphony of voices, beats, and bars messing with time, unsettling histories, opening portals.
Jeff Chang, author, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

“This book is The Bomb Diggety!”
Greg Tate, author, Flyboy in the Buttermilk

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.”
from the introduction by Ytasha L. Womack


The MIT Press Reader: “Scratch Cyborgs: The Hip-Hop DJ as Technology” by André Sirois a.k.a. DJ Foodstamp.

GreedMag #4: “Preface” by Roy Christopher.


New Books Network:  Interview with Alex Kuchma

Call Out Culture “Talk Your Talk” with Alaska

 Mixtape Menage: Interview with Eiliyas

Get Yours:





Table of Contents:

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

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


Praise for Boogie Down Predictions:

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

“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

“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: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla


The Wire: