Hip Hop Family Tree

Ed Piskor, Author
Ed Piskor. Fantagraphics, $24.99 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-60699-690-4
Reviewed on: 12/02/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
Paperback - 112 pages - 978-1-60699-756-7
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-60699-791-8
Paperback - 112 pages - 978-1-60699-848-9
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Originating as a webcomic serialized at Boing Boing, this oversize volume is an epic, exhaustive chronicle of the most culturally impactful popular music movement of the past four decades. With its roots embedded in the streets of 1970s New York City, hip-hop and rap slowly germinated as a DIY urban party phenomenon, weaving a powerful funky spell among the Big Apple’s people of color. Local deejays and rappers were catapulted into the scene’s spotlight overnight, and the battles for performance supremacy honed the skills of the form’s progenitors at parties and clubs, which soon led the sounds they created to be recorded and distributed on bootleg vinyl. As the movement grew, so too did its visibility, and the rest is international pop-culture history. The strip’s visual tone bears a borderline underground aesthetic that perfectly suits the material—brown-edged paper and antique flat color—with a semi-cartoony feel, reminiscent of the graffiti that helped define the graphic aspect of the movement. It’s a massive undertaking, but Piskor succeeds mightily in chronicling hip-hop’s formative years with riveting detail. (Nov.)
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