Deep Mouton’s book, Black Chameleon(Henry Holt & Co, 2023), takes hefty strides toward creating a Southern African-American mythology, its horror tempered by hilarity. Talking with her about it, Boogie Down Predictions, and our views on Afrofuturism, hip-hop culture, writing, poetry, performance, and scholarship was a privilege and a party. I hope we get to continue it sometime soon.
It was a great discussion that covered the material in BDP and then used it as a jump-off point for other projects and concerns. Ytasha had just returned from Ghana a few days before where she toured the slave castles at Elmina and Cape Coast. Her stories, like so many other concepts we discussed, went backward to look forward. You truly missed a treat if you weren’t there.
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.
Boogie Down Predictions also features contributions from Omar Akbar, Juice Aleem, Tiffany E. Barber, Kevin Coval, Samantha Dols, Kodwo Eshun, Kembrew McLeod, Chuck Galli, Nettrice Gaskins, Jonathan Hay, Jeff Heinzl, Rasheedah Phillips, Steven Shaviro, Aram Sinnreich, André Sirois, Erik Steinskog, Dave Tompkins, Tia C.M. Tyree, Joël Vacheron, tobias c. van Veen, and K. Ceres Wright.
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
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
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
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
I’m on Talk Your Talk with my man Alaska this week. I’m the first guest on this spin off from his usual show, Call Out Culture with Curly Castro and Zilla Rocca, on which I was also the first guest. I did the artwork for their Michael Myers/Nas-themed “Killmatic” episode, too.
In this new one, we talk about my books, new, old, and not-out-yet, as well as a few high-minded social-science theories… and the raps, of course.
Charles Mudede is a senior editor at The Stranger, “Seattle’s Only Newspaper,” and he’s recently started doing a video series called Charles Mudede’s Book Nook. He writes,
Because a big part of the only life I’ll ever have is devoted to books, the best thing I can offer during this holiday season is a recommendation of five books you can read by a fake fire (like the one in my cottage) or gift those who happen to be close to your life or who you want to be close to your life.