Brain Rot: Hip Hop Family Tree, King Tim III Lights A Fuse

Read the rest of the Hip Hop Family Tree comics!

If you're in the Pittsburgh area April 27, 2012, I'm going to be giving a presentation at Carnegie Mellon University at Baker Hall, 4:30pm-5:30pm. Click the pic below for the Facebook Event page for more info.




  1. When this was originally proposed to the BB editors, did they know that it would go on and on for years and years?

      1. The comment of we’ll get you your money back is an immature thing to say to someone who was asking a legit question.  Let’s say the poster is complaining.  Is is complaint less valid because he paid nothing for this service?  Is his interest in the Boing community less because he dislikes one part?
        Sorry to rail on you, that comment is one of those things that drive me nuts.  As if no financial input completely invalidates one’s opinion.

        1. Is is complaint less valid because he paid nothing for this service?

          Yes.  Any more questions?

        2. disagree wholeheartedly. with content as diverse and deep as what appears on this site, editors always are going to have to deal with people second-guessing their decisions. given the quality of HHFT and overwhelmingly positive response, i’d say it’s perfectly reasonable not to put any stock into this complaint. and not because the commenter didn’t pay.

    1. Obvious troll etc., but in case anyone else is surprised that a strip titled “Hip Hop Family Tree” covers 16 strips so far (and still hasn’t quite left the Seventies yet, as far as I know), this musical phenomenon called “Hip Hop” is staring down its fifth decade, encompasses an enormous number of artists and recordings and live shows, and as far as its scope goes, it’s not exactly akin to summing up the Merseybeat sound.

      I’m loving this series, though my interest to the genre was only in passing as a kid.  I kinda wish Ed would do a Heavy Metal Family Tree sometime in the future, once he’s exhausted this one (not that that could be anytime soon), but just the Deep Purple/Black Sabbath/Rainbow/Dio/Ozzy connections would be dizzying, and once you add in the Led Zeppelin/Who/Dokken/Jethro Tull tangential connections people’s interest would fade.  Except mine, I guess.

      But this here is great.

      1.  Hip hop is the reason I love music; it’s the first music I fell in love with, so I’m loving these strips. But those first wave of heavy metal cats are part of the reason I make the music I do today, and I am in the same boat. Just something I figured a simple “like” wouldn’t convey.

      2.  funny you should mention it, Mr. Petersen, because I’ve been thinking about how the HHFT reminds me of the book Please Kill Me, which could legitimately be thought of as a “punk rock family tree,” albeit text only, in the form of interviews with the people–famous or no–that made up the nascent punk scene.  it’s several hundred pages and directly quotes the oral history of, i’m guessing, probably one-to-two hundred people.  by focusing on the personal relationships of all involved, that book and this strip get closer to the multi-faceted nature of how these cultures unfolded and therefore both make for compelling reading.  never heard of a similar metal project, but judging by HHFT and PKM, i’d say you’re definitely on to something.

        1. About ten years ago I saw a Family Tree commissioned for Iron Maiden by Pete Frame, and I learned more about their history from that single information-packed page than I’d known in my twenty years of Maiden fanhood before.  It covered the entire musical history and career of every single person who’d ever spent ten minutes playing in the band, going back to Gypsy’s Kiss and Evil Ways in 1972.  Turns out he’s done a bunch of these, and they’re unbelievably exhaustive.  (Just take a look at the gigantic one for Black Sabbath!)

          But as fascinating as these text-only views into the interrelationships and evolving histories of the bands are, I’m still pleasantly blown away by how compelling and gripping and can’t-get-enough addictive Ed Piskor has made his tree with his awesome visuals.  What I wouldn’t give to see his visual rendition of Ozzy’s batmunching, Dio’s diminutive height and incomparable stature, Kevin Dubrow’s ego, Gillan’s and Blackmore’s catfights, Freddy Mercury’s theatrics, Simmons’ and Stanley’s tour bus exploits, Dickinson’s fencing, Iommi’s industrial accident that cost him the tips of two fingers on his fretting hand, Halford’s eventual emergence from the closet, Dee Snider’s congressional testimony, etc., etc.

      3.  There was (and I’m assuming Ed knows this and took it as inspiration) a BBC TV series called ‘Rock Family Trees’ which did pretty much that.

        Although now I look, the idea of a $music family tree seems to have occurred to a lot of people in a lot of different media.

    2. Well, Ed’s previous comic, WIZZYWIG,  continued for quite a while before it finished, so yeah they probably did. Do you know of many comics that haven’t gone on for years?

  2. Hope there’s a graphic novel release when all is said and done! My friends and I have been loving this series.

  3. Myself, I’m delighted that it’s going on for years and years. I also hope the whole thing is sold as a trade paperback when its done. Hip hop ya don’t stop.

  4. Am I the only one having trouble following this anymore?  (Is there something to be followed at all?  The man in the green hat and the cross-eyed guy with the gap in his teeth are appearing sort of consistently, but that’s all I’ve got.)

    “It’s a hip hop thing”, indeed.

    1.  It definitely helps to have some previous knowledge of the characters. I’m learning quite a bit about the roots of artists who were already well established by the time I started listening to Public Enemy and KRS-One in the late 80’s.

  5. I love this and look forward to it every week. And that panel of the live show Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow should be made into a T-shirt! That is sick!

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