Over on boingoing.net you can find a well written narrative history of hip hop. Meticulously researched and given compelling characterizations, it gives valuable insight into the people behind the music as it developed in New York and how competing crews vied for the spotlight.
And it’s a comic.
Hip Hop Family Tree is illustrated and written by Ed Piskor, who worked for a time with Harvey Pekar on American Splendor and is soon to be publishing his own graphic novel. The series is featured as part of Piskor’s ongoing Brain Rot feature comic and chronicles the earliest days of the art form starting in the mid-70’s. He moves from DJ Kool Herc laying down breaks on the “merry-go-round” to the release of “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang and beyond. It’s well written and concise and has a huge cast of characters.
The comic gets an update about once a week. Even if you have no background in the music, the presentation he gives is definitely worth a look. It is designed to look like a comic book from the late 70’s and early 80’s, with yellowing pages. It’s also hand-lettered, and colored with textures that resemble the old printing styles. Highly recommended.
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