If you’re like me, you’ve always looked for comics about hip hop.
The search is over. The dopest comic about rap is Hip Hop Family Tree. Ed Piskor tells an entertaining and accurate story about the rise of hip hop from the streets of New York to taking over the country. Not to mention it looks damn good the whole time.
This is essential reading for both die hard hip hop fans and for folks trying to get into hip hop.
If (like me), you always get people asking you about hip hop, how it started and where it’s going. This is the first place I point them, because Hip Hop Family Tree is as informative as it is entertaining. And this shit doesn’t leave you wondering about anything because it starts where hip hop did, in the 1970s. If someone knows nothing about hip hop, this would be a hell of a manual to start understanding it. If someone’s been listening to hip hop their whole lives, this comic is like a celebration of the best genre out there.
Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1 (1970s – 1981)
This is where you wanna start. This will walk you through how hip hop sprouted up in New York from Jamaican and other influences, and the very first few rap tracks that hit the radio, like Rapper’s Delight. Some people think that Rapper’s Delight and The Message were the complete beginning of hip hop, but this shows how it built up to that. Piskor’s art and storytelling hook you from the beginning, and I’m sure you’ll pick up the next one right when you finish this one.
Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2 (1981 – 1983)
Continuing where the last one left off, this one gets into some of the songs and groups that made hip hop absolutely blow up. Hip Hop had started to make it to the radio from the streets, and people were starting to take notice. Volume 2 walks through Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (of course including The Message.) This volume covers hip hop as it’s starting to get big nationwide.
Hip Hop Family Tree Box Set, Vol. 1 & 2 (1970s – 1983)
If you wanna get a nice box set covering both the beginning of hip hop in New York and the beginning of its nationwide radio takeover. Shoot, even if you already got the first two, grab this one as a gift or as a coffee table piece. If someone really wants to get into hip hop and its history, this is where you should point them. It’s pretty much an illustrated encyclopedia of hip hop, so no library is really complete without it.
Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 3 (1983-1984)
Ok so this one isn’t out yet, but once you’ve read the first 2 you’re gonna be twiddling your thumbs waiting for this one to come out (like I have been for a while now.) This one will continue tracing hip hop’s rise from starting out on the radio to becoming the most popular genre in the country. Pre-order it so you don’t have to constantly check if it’s come out yet. Also follow Ed Piskor on twitter (@EdPiskor) to see sneak peeks of the drawings going into future volumes.
Pick one of these (or all of these) up today, and I promise you will not regret it.
I happened to read another one of Piskor’s books (Wizzywig, which is also excellent) and then I saw he wrote these too and I was mad excited to see if these comics had finally done hip hop justice. They do not at all disappoint. Hip Hop Family Tree is the shit for any hip hop head, anyone trying to get into hip hop, Iggy Azalea (AKA Ms. I know nothing about hip hop history), or anyone in between.