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Hip-Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

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So over the last year or so I've been following a semi-regular feature on Ed Piskor's web comic Brain Rot: "The Hip Hop Family Tree: A Look into the Viral Propagation of a Culture." The comic itself is hosted on the very sexy geek blog Boing Boing and is worth checking out. The series is a brief history of how hip-hop began in New York and spread out via the artists that catalyzed the movement, and so far as I can tell the author is doing all of his own research and attempting to be as accurate as possible.

I started reading with passing interest because I grew up in a subtly racist household where rap music was not accepted, but I always had a few guilty pleasures and as I've grown through my adulthood I've come to make my own decisions on the music I enjoy. I've found the series to be fascinating because I didn't realize the history was so nuanced, and it sheds a light on a lot of the ideologies of the old school DJs and MCs. Secondly it led me to a revelation that SHOULD have been obvious: one of my favourite songs from Vice City was a Melle Mel song that was attributed to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, "The Message." The song always captivated me because it was like a socially conscious song that flowed as well as or better than Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks." I had no idea that it is as famous as it was (because I am a fucking moron ;)), just goes to show, y'know?

Anyway I'm just kinda rambling, in my opinion it is some very essential reading for all music fans, even those who aren't interested in hip hop music, because it's a different kind of exposure and it helps to bring the human element to a subject that is often very polarized unnecessarily (even here there are "OMG I HATE X GENRE" folks). We'll see, yeah?

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There seriously needs to be a better way to keep track of this series. The only option is apparently to bookmark the "hip-hop-family-tree" tag and checking it manually (subscribing to boing boing's RSS would give me all the other stuff from the site I don't want). I guess I'll just wait for the collected version as an e-book. 8)

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Yeah, there's a LOT going on, it's amazing how much Mr. Piskor has condensed into each strip without making them too long individually. Watching how the "family tree" grows each week is also really interesting, and so far as I can tell he hasn't even gotten past 1980.

JH why would you not want to get spammed by BB? Nearly everything they post is quality :P Although I do agree that there needs to be a cleaner way of digging through the archives.

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