Call for Papers | “Hip-Hop Culture(s) & Sport” | Special Issue of Sociology of Sport Journal. Call ends August 1, 2018

Guest Editors:

  • C. Keith Harrison
  • Jay Coakley 
In the 2015 NFL season, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made the popular hip-hop dance the “dab” his signature touchdown celebration.

In 2017, hip-hop music was the most prominent genre in the music industry according to Nielsen Media, accounting for 24.5 percent of all music consumed (Caulfield, 2018). This marked the first time hip-hop had finished year-end No.1, overtaking the perennial category leader, rock music. As if to symbolically codify this achievement, twelve-time Grammy-award winning rapper and songwriter Kendrick Lamar headlined the halftime show at the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 8, 2018. And while this performance squarely located hip-hop artists and their music as centrall within the mainstream of contemporary sport culture, the links between hip-hop and sport are decidedly not new. Numerous examples abound, from the groundbreaking Run-DMC/adidas partnership of the mid-1980s; to the prominence of Nike and Michael Jordan within the hip hop community in the 1990s; to more recently with the Jordan Brand signing endorsement deals with hip-hop artists Drake, Travis Scott, and DJ Khaled; Serena Williams appearing in Beyonce’s visual album, Lemonade; and Jay-Z founding Roc Nation Sports athlete management company in partnership with high-profile Hollywood talent firm Creative Artists Agency (and representing stars such as Kevin Durant, Robinson Cano, Dez Bryant, and Leonard Fournette). 

Hip-hop is a mainstream, commercialized, and ever-growing billion-dollar industry fawned over by global brands and consumed by a wide spectrum of audience demographics. And it is not just localized in the United States; as Motley and Henderson (2008) remind us, “From New York, to Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and localities in between, hip-hop culture is a Diaspora spanning ethnic, linguistic, and geographic boundaries” (p. 243). This is also true of its connection to sport, where English football clubs are mainstays in the work of artists such as Black Josh and Lee Scott; where global sports apparel brand PUMA’s 2017 ad campaign ‘Suede Gully’ “integrated Indian graffiti, street dance, and hip hop in four languages to woo millennials (Srivastav, 2017); and where Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja’s ‘dab’ celebration in a test match against Pakistan last year ‘ignited debate’ over the on-field celebration (Ferris, 2017). 

Put more plainly, hip-hop culture, hip-hop music, and hip-hop generation athletes represent an important if inextricable thread in the fabric of contemporary sporting culture. Yet despite these long-standing connections between the sports and music industries, minimal scholarly attention has been paid to the compelling questions of race, gender, sexuality, social class, and age that such intersections between hip culture, entertainment, and sport provoke. 

This special issue of the Sociology of Sport Journal thus seeks contributions that critically examine, debate, and shed light on the intersection of hip-hop culture and sport, in all of its manifestations, and especially as contemporary forms of entertainment and cultural expression that are closely linked with issues of race, gender, sexuality, social class, and age. The guest editors welcome submissions from diverse methodological (qualitative, quantitative, case studies, theoretical pieces) and theoretical approaches (feminist, postcolonial, poststructural, Critical Race, etc.). We are especially interested in critical, empirical, and theoretical manuscripts focusing on issues related to (but not limited to) the following areas: 

  • Thematic topics at the nexus of hip-hop culture and sport, and how the relationship is influenced by race, class, gender, sexuality, and/or age. 
  • Hip-hop culture as a site for urban identity formation that is linked with music, sports, art, dance, clothing, and other aspects of an ‘urban’ lifestyle 
  • Fan identities and hip-hop culture used for game-day entertainment at many sporting institutions 
  • Baller culture and athletic identities of revenue sport participants in intercollegiate athletics (football and women’s and men’s basketball) 
  • The sociology of sport and hip-hop marketing in advertising 
  • Hip-hop influence on sport in terms of fashion, clothing, sneakers, apparel, etc. 
  • Sociological examinations of how major entertainment corporations articulate their brands to sport and hip-hop 
  • Hip-hop, sport, and ‘new anthems of resistance’ politics (Billet, 2015) 
  • Diasporic and global understandings of hip-hop and sport in Europe, Asia, and other countries outside North America 
  • The cultural practice and critical pedagogy of global hip-hop vis-à-vis sport 
  • Advancing theory and methods in the sociology of sport related but not limited to photo-elicitation, case studies, sociolinguistics, feminism, masculinity, identity, social class, urbanization, textual and cultural studies analysis etc. 

Authors should follow the “Submission Guidelines for Authors” used in every issue of the Sociology of Sport Journal found at 

All papers shall be no more than 8,000 words inclusive of endnotes and references. 

Submit original manuscripts online: 

Please address any questions to the guest editors: 

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