SENTENCES: THE LIFE OF MF GRIMM
Writer: Percy Carey
Artist: Ronald Wimberly
Gray Tones: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Continuing this weeks theme of Hip-Hop and comics, I wanted to talk about a book that I read recently but had been on my radar for a while, Sentences: The Life of MF Grimm. As a huge hip-hop head and even bigger fan of comics, it's amazing that it took me this long to read it. I don't know how it flew under my radar considering I usually read most of the stuff Vertigo would put out, but thank god I found it. From the minute I saw that cover, the book had me in it's grasp. I had a vague knowledge of Grimm, mostly from his connection to MF DOOM, but that didn't stop from wanting to learn more.
This graphic memoir follows the story of Percy Carey's (MF Grimm) life from his early childhood in the 70s to around the year 2006. Through that time period we follows the trials and tribulations of a man that didn't take shit from anyone and never let the harsh realities keep him down. Working with some of Hip Hop's biggest stars, to being paralyzed in an assassination attempt, to being sentenced to life imprisonment, and finally being released after only three years served; he experienced a life that many of us could never even fathom.
During the Blizzard of 1994, Percy Carey and his brother Jay were sprayed with gunfire on the way to sign a record deal with Atlantic Records. This event led to Carey being paralyzed from the chest down, and the death of his brother. Just six years later he was sentenced to life in prison on drug and conspiracy charges. Carey conveys the culture flawlessly and doesn't shy away from anything, even the dark moments of his life which he handles with brutal honesty. Carey began writing, recording and selling records while still in jail. He even began studying law and suing every prison to which he was sent, further proving that no matter what life throws at you, you never need to roll over and take it. After three years, his sentence was reduced and he was released.
This fascinating and powerful tale was brought life through the visceral art of Ronald Wimberly.
He captures the raw energy of Carey's script and adds a visual rhythm that makes this one of the most captivating books I've read in a while. At times you can almost hear the sound of a dope hip-hop beat in your head as you're reading it. Wimberly is a name that I kept hearing and now I know why. From his page layouts to his character designs, this dude is on another level. You feel every emotion on every page.
In SENTENCES, Carey tells the true story of his life in the game – from the dizzying heights to the heartbreaking losses. From the first time he picked up a mic at a bloc party to the day he lost the use of his legs to gang violence and back around to his "rebirth" and rise to becoming a Hip-Hop Grand Master, he leaves no questions unanswered and is unapologetic in his delivery. This is a story that will stay with you long after you put it down.