This week the Two Guys with PhDs are rappin’ to the beat with two new books that will funk you up. That’s right, DJ D and Kunka Kool spend this episode getting down with Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III: Century (Top Shelf/Knockabout) and Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree 2(Fantagraphics). First, they look at the latest hardbound collection from Moore and O’Neill, bringing together in one volume all three of their previously published Century installments: 1910, 1969, and 2009. The guys spend a good deal of time discussing the kind of readers that come to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, what their expectations might be, and how some may not be ideal for Moore’s kind of writing. Can those unfamiliar with the previous League stories truly comprehend what’s going on in Century? Can readers unfamiliar with — or uninterested in — literary and pop-cultural marginalia come away from the book with an understanding of what Moore is attempting to do? These are some of the questions Andy and Derek discuss, and they recommend that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for readers to come to Century with annotations readily at hand. (Two great online sources for these are Jess Nevin’s annotations website as well as postings by the Mindless Ones.) Next, the guys discuss Ed Piskor’s buy levitra with dapoxetine latest volume of Hip Hop Family Tree. This second book covers the scene from 1981-1983, and it picks up right where last year’s first volume left off. Among other highlights, the guys talk about Piskor’s take on Sylvia Robinson and Sugar Hill Records, the evolution of Run-DMC, the resistance of many rappers to put their efforts on vinyl, the significance of Charlie Ahearn’s film Wild Style, and the role Fab Five Freddy played in bringing together uptown and downtown cultures. They specifically focus on Piskor’s art and the way he tells his story. Hip Hop Family Tree is a series of anecdotes and ongoing storylines, first published on Boing Boing, that may appear fragmented at first, but a careful reading reveals an interconnectedness that makes for an engaging history. And the way that Piskor represents key players in early hip hop culture (e.g., Afrika Bambbataa, Melle Mel, Russell Simmons, Mr. Magic, Lonzo Williams, and Rick Rubin) is both revealing and humorous. Whether or not you’re a fan of hip hop — Andy is, Derek really isn’t — Hip Hop Family Tree is a series you definitely have to check out.
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