In this day an age when you can blast through ten episodes of Narcos in one sitting, it’s refreshing in these pampered times to occasionally have to wait a year for something. This does of course pile on the pressure though, imagine waiting all that time only to be really disappointed by the end product? Well when it comes to round four of Hip Hop Family Tree, the graphic novel that leaves no stone unturned on just how rap came to rule the roost there are is no disappointment just sheer unrivalled break-laden joy. Though we might all know a lot of the tunes many of the goings on behind the scenes of hip hop remain a more of a mystery than most musical movements, perhaps due to the on-stage personas not wanting to reveal their true identities or maybe because mainstream press have always been far more interested in the goings on of Madonna and Bieber and all that lot.
Either way Ed Piskor has tapped into a rich seam of musical history in a book that has more drug, sex and rock-n’roll shenanigans going on in it than Ozzy Osbourne’s Family album. In vol. 4 we take a look at the years 1984-5 when Hollywood got in on the act with a spate of movies that tried to capture the magic of hip hop, as well as a look at he early days of the Beasties, Ice-T, Salt-n-Pepa, 2 Live Crew, Rakim, Will Smith and Dr. Dre. As with all the previous volumes vol.4 reads like a mix-tape featuring all your favourite artists from this era with the helpful addition of a list of essential tunes and films featured at the back should you wish to delve further. So given just how incredible a read it is, maybe delayed gratification is the way forward though I’d still give my entire collection of Slick Rick 12″s to get hold of Vol.5.
Available from Fantagraphics and most places that sell awesome books.