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Showing posts from April, 2004
Comic Book History- The Hypestyle Universe
I have always enjoyed reading comic books, even before I could ‘read’, as per the term. Being the youngest out of five—more specifically, having three older brothers- I got ahold of their cast-offs in various capacities- including whatever comic books they had. Combined with the various animated adventure shows on television, my taste for superhero fiction was stoked like a furnace. My earliest interests in drawing and relateds artwork tended to revolve around super-characters. In terms of collecting comic books on my own, that didn’t happen for several years. You see, for a long time I didn’t have an allowance, per se’. I received spending money on a sporadic basis, and usually outside the context of where comic books were available. Also, my mother (indeed, all the elders in my family) had grown up in poor backgrounds, and when they were kids, comic books were still 10 cents. By the time I was 10 years old, the average price had ri…
Rap concerts in Gary were few and far between, though.. in suburban Merrillville and beyond, certain theaters like the Holiday Star would advertise mainstream pop and country acts-- Toto, Kansas, Mickey Gilley, Starship, Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle.. but forget about rap, really.. and the Jacksons never, I mean NEVER, came back to Gary for any kind of homecoming concert-- the closest they came was Chicago during the Victory tour, and that sold out in like 3 hours.. but like a good soldier, I kept my Mike Jax posters on the wall... "He'll come back someday.. Just you wait and see..." whoo-boy... well-- Jermaine did once do an impromptu visit to their old family house, which caused a minor stampede, but I digress... Whenever I got to hear about some show, I either didn't have the money, didn't have a ride (mom went through about 4 hooptie cars between 6th grade and 9th.. the last of which sat rusting in the driveway until well into my senior year when she finally …
Hype’s History with Hip-Hop:
I was 5 years old when I first heard “Rapper’s Delight”. To me, of course, it was just another record. Growing up in Gary, Indiana, I was as far from the ghetto boroughs of New York as you could get, so there was no one hipping me to the ‘phenomenon’ of hip-hop culture. The first rap song I really got interested in was the B-side to ‘delight’, “Apache”. My cousin Scott had the 45, and we played it at 33 so we could understand the lyrics and write them down. In my youngest days, I was listening to whatever happened to be on the radio, so if it was rock, r&b, or even country, then that’s what I was tuned into. Being as I was perpetually outside of the popular kids’ clique, I always seemed to be behind in knowing whatever was the latest record on the streets. Scott always seemed to be in the know about what records were out and who the performers were. Given that rap at that time was primarily singles-driven, and rap videos were few and far betwee…
Saga of hip-hop and mass media.
To me, part of the problem is not with Puffy, Missy, Funkmaster Flex, sampling, or the Beasties’ seeming lack of props from blacks. Rather, it often the self-congratulatory nature and general cluelessness of the mainstream pop culture media. More often than not, the press will fawn over a white rap act’s success in the pop field. But given certain historical parallels, this is really nothing new.

Back in the 1950’s, black rhythm & blues artists were regularly ripped off by record labels through shady accounting, and the free reign given to White artists to do cover versions. Many of which were often lame- how in the heck did Pat Boone and Bobby Vee get over? More often than not, no royalty money was paid to the original composer. By default, the ‘real’ money black acts made was from touring, not record sales. Then, there is the mega-phenomenon of the King himself, Elvis Presley. Despite the excesses he indulged in later in life, most people…