"Straight Outta English"

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Todd Craig / Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education
contact email: 





After the success of the NWA hip-hop biopic Straight Outta Compton, the importance that NWA played in the emerging culture we knew then as hip-hop is crystal clear. Subsequently, it is also clear that this once-emerging culture is now the pulse for popular culture. At the same time, movies like Dope become critical in thinking about the rendering and (re)rendering of hip-hop in this new wave of popular culture. This viewpoint is evident by simply observing the following nexus of events:


  • The success of Straight Outta Compton which was the number 1 movie at the box office for three consecutive weeks in Summer 2015. While it has grossed over $200 million worldwide, it generated over $60 million in its opening weekend and now stands as the highest grossing music biopic film in history.


  • The appropriation of the twitter hash tag “#squadgoals”: a slogan started by rapper Gucci Mayne that is usually attributed to Wacka Flacka, but was then “recycled” by Taylor Swift. In a CNN/NPR interview when the reporter was discussing said hash tag, there was no problem referencing Taylor Swift, but no real attempt to even articulate Gucci Mayne’s stage name correctly.


  • The dynamics of Miley Cyrus as host of the MTV VMAs in September 2015.


  • Taraji P. Henson’s Golden Globe award acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Drama Television Series for her role as Cookie Lyons on Empire.


With the gambit stretching from television shows like Power and Empire to movies like Dope and Straight Outta Compton, and documentaries such as Fresh Dressed and Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives, coupled with a musical range from J. Cole to Dave East and Drake to Kendrick Lamar, in this particular hip-hop (re)emergence and renaissance, there is a myriad of perspectives one can bring to the table in regards to when and where – and even how – one enters hip-hop music and culture.

With this in mind, the call for the planned issue of Changing English entitled “Straight Outta English” refers to the ways in which hip-hop pedagogy and historical scholarly work in the field has and continues to push forward the way(s) we approach hip-hop scholarship in the 21st century. We always say it is important to take a look back before we take a step forward. Therefore, how does looking back at hip-hop scholarship help us to shape contemporary theory and research moving forward? Some issues that might be addressed are:


  • The appropriation of hip-hop culture by the dominant popular culture (and how it has traditionally happened in every form of African-American music and culture).


  • Assessing music and its sonic quality in relation to research.


  • The rise of major and premium channel shows Empire (FOX) and Power (STARZ) respectively.


  • The ever-changing role of fashion in hip-hop culture, both then and now.


  • The importance of any of the five elements of hip-hop culture, specifically the cultural growth and advancement in its birthplace of the United States as well as across the globe. (MCing/emceeing, DJing/deejaying, Breakdancing/BBoying/BGirling, Graffiti and Knowledge/"Overstanding".)


  • The cultural and musical hybridity of hip-hop culture internationally.


  • The theories and framework that educators use in incorporating hip-hop music, culture and scholarship into classroom settings, teaching pedagogy, philosophy and/or strategies.


On the one hand, this call has been purposefully left open, as part of our motto in hip-hop is “makin’ somethin’ outta nuffin’.” At the same time, there is some direction that can be used as fodder for a submission. The goal here is to capture a myriad of viewpoints and voices that speak to the importance and critical relevance of hip-hop scholarship in academia. One of the critical goals of the special issue of Changing English entitled “Straight Outta English” is to provide a space for the movers and shakers, cultural critics and community members, triple OGs, new jacks and young heads to all engage in a conversation about how hip-hop has shaped (and continues to shape) scholarship and pedagogy in the field of English Studies.

Thus, “Straight Outta English” will be a journalistic third-space for writers and artists, thinkers and scholars to interrogate and document the rendering and (re)rendering of their entrance to and through hip-hop in relation to the academy.



For this project, we are accepting full-length article submissions due September 1, 2016. Editorial correspondence and electronic manuscripts, ideally of 2000 to 6000 words, should be addressed to the Guest Editor, Todd Craig at dr.todd.craig@gmail.com.


To find the Style Guide for Changing English, please refer to:



Please be aware of the specific guidelines around quoting poems and song lyrics. To quote either, the author is responsible for acquiring the appropriate permissions from writers and/or copyright holders. Obtaining permissions can be a lengthy process, so please begin this process before submitting your work. For more information, please refer to:




Changing English is an established journal for English teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary education. The journal aims to encourage international dialogue between teachers and researchers and to support teachers and schools on issues surrounding literacy and language. In particular, Changing English considers the future of English as a subject in the context of its history and the scope for development and change.

Recent years have seen new arguments and new contents offered for English in many countries, at a time when governments have given issues in English teaching a new prominence and where students’ linguistic and cultural backgrounds are diverse. Changing English provides a forum for necessary debate and for evaluation of new perspectives.

The editors encourage articles and reviews from writers concerned with English teaching worldwide. Contributions are welcome which discuss developments in aspects of language, literacy and literature teaching in all areas of the curriculum.


Peer Review Statement: 

All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and anonymized refereeing by at least two anonymous referees.