Review: Hip-Hop Family Tree Volume 2

Hip Hop has come to be more than form of music, it is a movement. Most people don’t realize just how powerful, rap music has always been, as it has been used as a mirror to the world’s societal ills. Hip Hop has not been the first and it will not be the last music platform to do this. Anyone can listen to Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit today and can still feel the chill of her “black bodies swinging” line.

In my humble opinion, this is when not only hip hop but music is at its best, as very much, the political is very personal for any artist. This can be heard in Public Enemy’s “By the Time I get to Arizona”, which dealt with the fact Arizona, at the time, did not celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. This also can be heard in 2Pac’s “Trapped”, which talked about the prison industrial system. This also can be heard in Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five’s powerful “The Message” which talked about the impact of crack cocaine.

In this second volume of Hip Hop Family Tree, Ed Piskor introduces us to some of the most important records labels of that era, such as Profile Records and Def Jam Records. The reader finds out about the birth of beatboxing, as it started out as just another way to make a beat. They not only delve into the music scene of New York but also how Hip Hop affected the West Coast giving birth to what some call “Gangster Rap”. The volume ends, with RUN-DMC performing and giving the spark to what Dr. Dre and DJ Yella came to create.

Overall, an excellent second volume, which captures those artists we now know as “rap Pioneers” but the origins of the soundscapes that they made this music on The story by Ed Piskor, is again meticulously researched and gives these artists their just due.  The art by Piskor is simply gorgeous. Altogether, an excellent installment of this important book.

Story: Ed Piskor Art: Ed Piskor
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy