Updated: Mar 26
As we continue this week of Hip-Hop & comics, I'd be a fool not to include HIP-HOP FAMILY TREE. This is the premier comic book for Hip-Hop heads and without a doubt one of the most important pieces of literature on Hip-Hop history/culture. These four volume showcase the brilliance of Piskor's work and his deep affection for the genre. Comics and Hip-Hop have gone hand & hand for me going all the way back to high school. So to see a book like this being made, blew my mind. The amount of research that Piskor must have done for this book is astounding and is true labor of love. I thought I knew a lot about Hip-Hop, but I learned more from this series then I ever knew before.
From the opening of Vol. 1, Piskor introduces us to the birth of Hip-Hop in the Bronx, where Kool Herc, is spinning records, which gives birth to the “emcee”. We then go on a tour of how embroiled the culture was in drugs, gangs and street life. Piskor's meticulous research and brutal honesty makes this so much more than your typical "true story" comic books. His art style hearkens back to the comic book styles prevalent during the same time period being retold which adds to the appeal of this book.
From reaching mainstream media’s ear with Blondie’s Rapture record, the rise to entrepreneurs like Russell Simmons and Sylvia Robinson, and the rise of Rick Rubin this series covers so much ground. This is one of the most insightful looks at some of the biggest legends in Hip-Hop. Seeing the beginnings of Dr. Dre, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, etc., was just a small part of what makes this book a modern masterpiece.
If you want an awesome book that documents the early history of hip hop culture, one of the greatest genres of music, then read this book! He starts in the 70s and ends the series in 1985, covering so much known and unknown history. There's not much that gets left out and he even gives the readers playlists to listen to after reading. This is the most essential Hip-Hop comic you will ever read. While I hope Piskor will take us into the early 90's after he finishes his current project. If he doesn't, at least we have this amazing piece of work to enjoy for years to come