I’ve always really loved sci-fi, space opera, and the afro-futuristic themes of groups like Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Parliament/Funkadelic. I also really, really love hip-hop music and culture. They used to cross over early and often. Just peep Afrikaa Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force, or Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.
Somewhere along the way though, hip-hop gave up on the vast, crowded backdrop of the cosmos and the endless possibility of the future, and became grounded in the present, concrete realities of the now, and in earthbound concerns: Money, Sex, The Hood. To be sure, there was a focus on Afrocentrism and black nationalism, but that died out early, only to be resurrected by the outsider fringe; think Dead Prez in 2000, or the recent resurgence of protest music that is most often framed as a counterbalance to the lean-sipping proclivities of pop rap radio faves like Future and Migos.