Monday, December 3, 2007

SpaceRap Call For Submissions

A few moons ago we informed you that is embarking on an exciting new project titled SpaceRap. Today we call upon our readers to join us in developing the project and brand, to help us brainstorm ideas and directions for the project as well as formulate, create, edit, and critique the materials that will comprise SpaceRap.

Currently, we envision SpaceRap to be similar in spirit to what we accomplished with Crack Week, when we compiled submissions from netizens across the blogosphere that examined rap’s fascination with motifs, memes, and narratives related to the culture surrounding the drug trade, and the ways in which the crack game and the rap game have begun to resemble one another, at least through the lens of popular culture. For SpaceRap the themes and imagery are a little more eccentric but just as prevalent throughout the genre’s development, namely space (both the outer space of the cosmos and the contested urban spaces that rap depicts and reinvents) and the future (dystopian and apocalyptic or connected to the revival of a Utopian past).

For SpaceRap, we seek to utilize formats tried and tested on – essays (employing either an academic or journalistic approach or combining the two), album reviews (both concise and more in=-depth) line for line lyric analyses, and beat deconstructions. However, in the spirit of SpaceRap we also intend to exploit as many media formats as possible, and rather than settle for a week of blogging on the topic, we would like to create a dynamic presentation that incorporates graphical art, video, animation, and music and sound effects and thus we encourage participants to submit material that either stands alone or accompanies textual submissions. We are not sure yet whether or not SpaceRap will constitute another section within the existing OhWord website or if it warrants a site unto itself, but our vision is to provide a fun, educational, multimedia experience that combines the talents of the contributors in novel and intriguing ways.

Topics for SpaceRap can include (but are by no means limited to) the forerunners of SpaceRap (“spacey” musicians like Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, Parliament Funkadelic, Earth Wind & Fire); space themes and motifs and spaciness (lyrical, aural, visual, or otherwise) in rap’s early era (Newcleus, Soulsonic Force, Jonzun Crew, etc.), the “true school” era (MC Shan, Ultramagnetic MCs, Eric B. and Rakim), in the ’90s and beyond (X-Clan, Keith Murray, Outkast, Eightball and MJG, Lupe Fiasco, Neptunes); the relationship between outer space, paradise, Africa, and diasporic spiritual or mystic belief systems influential in hip hop culture (5%ers, Zulu Nation, Nuwaabians, certain Christian beliefs, Rammelzee’s Gothic Futurism, etc.); rap’s relationship to artistic movements such as Afro-Futurism and Surrealism; how rap treats space (public, urban, contested, discursive, narrative, cyber- or otherwise) and its physical and psychological constraints; space, rap, and psychedelica, etc.

For SpaceRap essays and articles, we prefer that you formulate original connections between seemingly disparate topics and persuasively present your findings. Reviews should be objective and incisive, and interviews of artists should be relevant to the overall theme, engaging, and insightful. Multimedia submissions can serve as an homage to past artistic endeavors but should mainly showcase a contributor’s distinct talent in the context of appreciation. We are not opposed to employing humor, satire, or eccentricity in the service of such an odd project, but we do expect contributions to be as reverent, well-intended, and comprehensible as possible.

Tentative Due Date For Submissions is 2/11/08.

If you are interested in contributing to SpaceRap, or even just following the development of the project and the submissions, please email us at

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