Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

The Hip-Hop South

Posted: June 10th, 2024 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | Comments Off on The Hip-Hop South

Guest Editor: Corey J. Miles (Tulane University)

Southern Cultures, the award-winning, peer-reviewed quarterly from UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South, encourages submissions from scholars, writers, and artists for a special issue, The Hip-Hop South, to be published Summer 2025. We will accept submissions for this issue through August 19, 2024.

The hip-hop South waits for no one

André “3000” Benjamin didn’t wait for acceptance when he declared “the South got something to say,” and for the thirty years since this pivotal moment the region has spoken. Benjamin’s declaration was a rallying cry and an interruption of the status quo. It was a redirection of the South’s erasure from hip-hop and contemporary conversations about Blackness in the United States, directly countering the invisibility politics of a country that isn’t honest about itself.

Quiet as it is kept, the South was talking long before August 3,1995—outsiders just didn’t know how to hear us. Thirty years on, it’s time to contextualize Benjamin’s interruption and expand southern hip-hop’s historiographical and sociocultural landscapes. We embrace Benjamin’s rallying cry in this issue. We lean with it. We snap our fingers. We trap. We got crunk in our system. We ride and swerve. To cover the significance of southern hip-hop as life and culture, we need new language and fresh voices to speak to what makes southern hip-hop special—its resonance, (r)evolution, and reach.

Southern hip-hop culture, like southern time, isn’t neutral or linear for Black folks: we revisit the past and claim our space within it, and we blur distinctions between the past and future. As Regina N. Bradley states in Chronicling Stankonia, the hip-hop South is “a hodgepodge of past, present, and future narrations of southern blackness . . . an entanglement of race, place, and privileged memories.” We live on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mountaintop but do not romanticize it. King’s vision and Big K.R.I.T.’s declaration of southern hip-hop excellence as “Mt. Olympus” coincide. The hip-hop South forcefully lives and speaks our multiple truths to power.

In this special issue, we seek work that willingly grapples with the South as a site of creative resistance. We are interested in how hip-hop shapes notions of race, place, time, and agency. We want work that challenges the southern status quo, especially perceptions of the Black South as being slow, backward, and traumatic, when the reality is that we are consistently ahead of our time in our rituals of joy, celebration, and mourning.

We seek submissions that use hip-hop to rupture dominant assumptions about the South geographically, sonically, and temporally. What forms of hip-hop cartography locate the South in ways that frustrate colonial lines? What types of listening practices allow us to move not solely backward to a memory, but forward to remember the present and compose a future yet to come? How can we funkwith time?

Red clay, Black soil, subwoofers, and southern accents will be in our future. We seek submissions that don’t take any of this for granted. Submissions should use the unbound expansiveness of the hip-hop South to think more deeply about the fault lines of southernness and who or what inhabits them.

Submissions may explore any topic related to the theme, and we welcome investigations of the region in the forms Southern Cultures publishes: scholarly articles, creative nonfiction, memoir (first-person or collective), interviews, surveys, photo and art essays, and shorter feature essays.

Possible topics and questions to explore might include (but are not limited to):

  • How does southern hip-hop blur the past and future?
  • Southern hip-hop’s resistance to linear conceptions of time
  • Southern hip-hop as a memory practice
  • Where and what is southern hip-hop in the digital age—what does this region look like?
  • Musings on the thirtieth anniversary of “the South got something to say”
  • Trap music as a marker of the South’s peculiar relationship to time and space
  • Trap and/or ratchet feminist conceptions of the hip-hop South
  • A queer hip-hop South
  • Women and the hip-hop South
  • Southern hip-hop and the end of the world
  • Southern hip-hop Gothic
  • Southern hip-hop literacies and poetics
  • Car culture and southern hip-hop
  • Oral histories of southern hip-hop tastemakers (artists, producers, promoters, stylists)
  • Global influence and/or commodification of the hip-hop South

As Southern Cultures publishes digital content, we encourage creativity in coordinating print and digital materials in submissions and ask that authors submit any potential video, audio, and interactive visual content along with their essay or artist’s statement. We encourage authors to gain familiarity with the tone, scope, and style of our journal before submitting. For full submissions guidelines, please click here.