features, HDI, music — 26/01/2014 at 8:51 pm

Hip Hop Family Tree – Vol. 1 (Fantagraphics)

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hip_hop_family1-coverIf, like me your idea of the perfect book is pretty much the first verse of Biggie Small’s Juicy in cartoon form then man have I got a book for you! Philadelphia B Boy Ed Piskor has painstakingly documented the birth of Hip-Hop from the 1970s up to 1981 in what has to be the best graphic novel that I’ve read in a long, long time. Though the story may be a well known one, as a hip hop fan from back in the day I still found something new and revelatory on each of these carefully drawn and vintag-ed yellowy pages. All the main players and events are featured here from Fab Five Freddie hanging with Blondie,  Russell Simmons making Kurtis Blow a star, Grand Wizard Theodore discovering scratching and a precocious young Rick Rubin getting booted out of CBGBs, no stone is left un-turned on this definitive story on the roots of rap. Having had my young mind blown by Grandmaster Flash & the Sugarhill gang never to be the same again, for me this feels like the first chapter in my very own musical bible, where Kool Herc is Jesus and the Bronx is Bethlehem. So if you love Hip-Hop in any shape or form then this is an essential read. Vol. 2 should be a soulsonic sensation, so get your Kangols and shell-toes at the ready.

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fantagraphics.com

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