Trisha Shetty

Hip Hop Family Tree

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Originally published  14 May 2015
Author  Ed Piskor
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Comic books and hip hop history ed piskor time

Hip Hop Family Tree is a 2013 Eisner Award-winning series of comic books written and illustrated by Ed Piskor, which documents the early history of hip hop culture. It was a New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller (#7) and was listed in The Washington Post Top 10 graphic novels of 2013. It is published by Fantagraphics Books. Piskor's artistic style in creating the images of the Hip Hop Family Tree hearkens back to the comic drawings done at the time of the history that is being retold. Piskor also makes an ode to the drawings of this time with his use of Ben-Day Dots.


Robert Crumb is openly referenced as an inspiration to Piskor, personally citing Crumb's "Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country" trading cards as an influence. Both Crumb and Piskor are similar in their commemoration of key artists or industry figures, and the informative narration of their chosen genre's historical evolution

Hip hop family tree vol 2 comic book review


  1. Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1: 1970s-1981 centers on the formative years of Hip Hop, presenting the intersecting stories of the genre’s earliest pioneers and encompassing all aspects of the culture: DJing, B-Boying, MCing, and Graffiti. The comic begins with an introduction of DJ Kool Herc and his famous rec-room parties at 1520 Sedgwick Ave – following with Afrika Bambaata, Grandmaster Flash and DJ Breakout, rival DJs with reign over their own subsections of the Bronx. The narrative also includes the stories of Russell “Rush” Simmons and his management of Kurtis Blow, and the young, ambitious Joseph “Run” Simmons prior to the advent of RUN-D.M.C. Other notable mentions include Sylvia Robinson and her creation of The Sugarhill Gang, Fab Five Freddy and his involvement with Graffiti, and the underground NYC art and punk scene, Bobby Robinson's influential Enjoy Records, as well as the rebellious, early years of Rick Rubin which ultimately led to his contributions to Hip Hop. Piskor also references lesser known acts who share an integral place in the culture such as the Funky 4 + 1, Grand Wizard Theodore, The Cold Crush Brothers, DJ Disco Wiz, Treacherous Three, Grandmaster Caz, and the Fantastic Five. The volume concludes with the 1981 segment from 20/20 which presented Hip Hop to mainstream America, cementing the genre’s transition from a primarily urban, grassroots movement to an international, money-making phenomenon.
  2. Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2: 1981-1983
  3. Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 3: 1983-1984
  4. Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 4: 1984-1985


Hip Hop Family Tree Wikipedia

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