Hip Hop Family Tree – The Graphic Novel
Just caught wind of this series of comic strips by Ed Piskor, which focus on pivotal events from the early days of the rap game. Here’s an episode which deals with Fab Five Freddy’s “Change The Beat”. A hardcopy is available for pre-order here.
Byron Crawford – Infinite Crab Meats Book Review
Remember when that Stuff White People Like blog got turned into a very popular book? Me neither, but apparently it did. My long-time internets associate Byron Crawford released his first tome, Mindset of a Champion, last year, and it turned out to be a great read. The sequel manages to improve on his print debut (technically it was only an ebook but will be available in paperback soon), on account of being longer, funnier and touching a broader range of targets. Where Champion was most likely written in a week, it seems as though Bol spent at least three weeks on this. No shots, for a professional blogger and America’s “leading black intellectual”, three weeks is a virtual lifetime.
10 Things I Discovered From The Book ‘Def Jam, Inc.’
Somehow or other, I recently found myself at the local library, where I stumbled across a book titled Def Jam, Inc. The author, Stacy Guerseva, did a great job of recalling the history from the early days of the label based in Rick Rubin‘s dorm through to the powerhouse that it would eventually become. Of course I was less interested in the corporate development and more focused on the what rap trivia I might find. Turns out there was a lot of great shit in there:
The Underdog’s Manifesto – Book Review
In a bizarre twist of fate, I was recently sent a couple of books to check out from an indy publisher, and the first one I tackled appeared to be one of those corny “rap business guides” at first glance, but actually turned out to have a major connection to my on-going series looking at Hydra Entertainment. What are the odds, right? Turns out this Creature guy (who wrote the majority of this book) was a member of the Triflicts – who released one of the first singles on the label in ’96 and also counted Beatnuts associate Gab Gotcha as a third of the trio. Hydra only gets mentioned for a couple of paragraphs, and it’s not exactly flattering, but it sparked my interest enough to keep reading this thing instead of downloading porn.
Check The Technique – Book Review
Considering my obsession with rap trivia, it’s amazing that I never got around to grabbing a copy of Rakim Told Me, but since Brian Coleman just threw me a copy of his expanded edition, I’ve finally been able to absorb this shit. Anything involving Schoolly-D is essential as far as I’m concerned, and best believe the chapter covering Saturday Night – The Album was the first thing I read. This is the kind of thing that’s been lacking in hip-hop publishing – first-hand accounts and footnotes on actual songs, instead of grand discussions about everything but. This project’s greatest strength is the fact that even the chapters dealing with albums I could care less about (Onyx, Digable Planets) are still a good read. Here’s some examples of the kind of gold we’re dealing with here:
[Five random quotes]
5. KRS-One: “Me and Scott went to Sleeping Bag and met with a guy named Will Socolov. That was the one of the greatest record companies ever. No one ever got paid anything, you got paid in marijuana. But it was a great label…even though no one was ever paid. Just-Ice got paid, He’d go up there every week and they’d just give him money.”
4. Fredro Star on Bacdafucup: “While we were recording the album, niggas was on LSD the whole time, straight up. We was dropping papers, taking meth tabs, during that whole album.”
3. Schoolly D on “P.S.K.”: “When we recorded that, the engineer, Jeff Cheesesteak, was all nervous, too with eight black guys showing up. He was worried about motherfuckers stealing shit, which they did. I didn’t know, but all my homies was upstairs cleanin’ out all kinds of microphones. I made them take the mics back, though.”
2. Slick Rick on “Teacher, Teacher”: “That was another filler track. I wasn’t really feeling that one. That was there just to make the album reach twelve [songs]. It was empty, it had no soul to it. I didn’t put no effort into that song.”
1. Afrika Islam on “I’m You Pusher”: That was the first video and yeah, that guy Pimpin’ Rex was a real pimp.Rex would come to the studio with like twenty girls, but he’d be like, “Don’t touch them, I haven’t cleaned them up yet.”
Now all I need to do is track down the first edition for the Critical Beatdown chapter…
Brian Coleman’s Wax Facts
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop – Book Review
Not so long ago, the only books on hip-hop I had bothered to read were David Toop‘s Rap Attack 2 and the Book of Rap Lists. This can primarily be attributed to the fact that many tomes covering rap don’t amount to much more than a chapter on Public Enemy, a chapter on NWA, the rise and fall of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice and thirty pages of Grandmaster Flash telling us how great he is. (more…)