Book reviews · music · Pop culture · Reading

Hip Hop Family Tree

Life continues to be ridiculously full which means my blogging time keeps getting short changed. I’ve read a couple of good things lately and wanted to post at least briefly about them. Today I wanted to share a few notes about another graphic novel (or graphic narrative or comic book depending upon how seriously you want to describe this medium) I read – the 41st book I’ve completed this year – entitled Hip Hop Family Tree (volume 1). Written and drawn by Ed Piskor and published by Fantagraphics, this rich first volume tells the story of the early days of hip hop with both breadth and depth, introducing major players from the formative years of this uniquely American art form and providing cameos of people who will become important in later years. Personally I loved seeing a young Darryl McDaniel and Joseph Simmons in the years before Run DMC as much as I did learning about the start of the Sugar Hill Gang and Grand Master Flash. There are some early rap battles chronicled here as well as the story behind Blondie’s Rapture.  Covering the period from the early 1970s through 1981, this lengthy first volume has plenty of great material for anyone interested in the early evolution of this dynamic musical and cultural phenomenon. I highly recommend checking it out.

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