Brain Rot: Hip Hop Family Tree, Uptown Meets Downtown pt 2, Malcolm Mclaren

Read the rest of the Hip Hop Family Tree comics!



  1. I saw Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force back in 1984. I had purple hair back then. It was only 3 years after this comic but I was still into Bow Wow Wow and The Sex Pistols then. Very interesting how subcultures came together: punk + hip hop. Also interesting that one of the first hip hop songs, Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa was a mashup of rap over the top of a Kraftwerk track. A lot of people would never think that the German techno pioneers played a pivotal role in the birth of hip hop.

    1.  In the PBS history of rock series, many of the early hip hop artists credited Kraftwerk for their pioneering use of drum machines.

      Also, various black artists sampled the hell out of Kraftwerk. Right up through the 2000s you could easily hear two Kraftwerk samples an hour on DC radio stations, with the Kraftwerk track sometimes making up the bulk of the song.

    2. A lot of people would never think that the German techno pioneers played a pivotal role in the birth of hip hop.

      Weird.  I thought that was common knowledge.

      Learn your history, folks!  (Thanks for helping on that score, Ed.)

    3.  Hey Brian. It’s ok if you didn’t know this. Sometimes people who understand a specific history of a music love to dis people who don’t. It’s great that your finding this out and you are excited by it. It IS an interesting history.

  2. As I have commented here before, I was somewhat exposed to this music pretty early on even in late 70’s early 80’s mostly white Houston suburbs. But I was just 12-15 then and didn’t put all the pieces together. First song I remember hearing that was mentioned in this series was  “Funk You Up” by The Sequence at my middle school dance only a few months after it came out.

    When I got to HS all the kids bussed in from a local freedman’s town were heavily into hop hop. There was break dancing and rapping in “The Mall, an open area between the two cafeterias. But pretty soon, white jocks got into hip hop and I lost interest. Pretty sad, as one of the Carverdale kids later became an executive at Rap-A-Lot Records.

  3. ooooh. you gonna do malcolm meeting the world famous supreme team ed??? 

    you’re really doing this topic justice. reminds me of the crumb ‘great bluesmen’ stuff.

    keep it up!!! 

  4. As much as I loath rap and hip hop, this strip has truly sucked me in. And I *still* fucking hate the goddam ‘music’. Just headache inducing.

    1.  The new stuff or the old stuff? I mostly loath modern Nashville Country and Western, but the older stuff you see in movies is a different story

  5. I remember going to see Malcolm McLaren at the Roxie (where Afrika Bambaataa and  Afrika Islam would DJ for the downtown clubgoers). He had the Rock-steady crew leading the crowd in sqare dancing — while someone scratched that “3 buffalo girls” rap.

    It was one of  the most memorable nights of my years in NY clubs.

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