The last social event Maldonado participated in was the 29th of July in El Bolsón titled “Mama Killa Hip Hop Feminine”. Mapuche rap, the influences of I Am Hip Hop Thank You For The Memories Shirt with Chilean mythological characters and traditional hip hop are the influences that reflect Maldonado’s creations. Enzo Robles, a tattooist friend of Santiago, told Página/12 that the young man who was missing for almost three months said that “politics caused him diarrhea and toothache. This is one of the phrases that Maldonado sings in one of his songs, “La Danza del fuego” (The Dance of Fire).
As part of a generation that disbelieves everything, Maldonado did not believe in the politicians of the previous government either. It may have been the music, specifically hip hop, that brought him closer to young people like Martín Sabbatella’s Nuevo Encuentro party, residents of El Bolsón, like Ariel Garzi and the Segui brothers. The latter played in a band that Maldonado heard in the bar “Estación de Cerveza”, days before finding the tragic death.
Infobae reproduces the lyrics of the songs that Santiago Maldonado used to sing to his friends. Inexplicably, until today, they remained unpublished. The melody of “Santo Sudario” begins with oriental airs and contains a strong criticism of the figure of Pope Francisco: “Father Bergoglio is a cock, Benedict is an addict, in the mosque he sends you the rich and Father Francisco takes pisco from the rich”. Pisco is a traditional drink of the trans-Andean country. In “La Danza del Fuego”, Bergoglio appears again in the lyrics and is called “marmota”. Paradoxes of life, Bergoglio will soon receive his brother Sergio and his parents.
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Notorious B.I.G.’s debut was the album of 13 September 1994, “Ready To Die”, which is a double threat: it is an artistically serious album, engendered with captivating singles and even radio-friendly. Sean “Puffy” Combs encouraged his young MC to put his gift on tracks like “Big Poppa” and “One More Chance”; Biggie did and worked. Becoming the hip hop response, the larger-sized charmer conquered the pop charts and watched his sales go beyond the two million mark. Mostly, however, “Ready To Die” offers uncompromising street material – a dark description of urban hopelessness told by one of the most immediate voices the world has ever known.
The difference between the darkest content and the most successful singles can be explained by a two-part recording process. Songs such as “Ready To Die”, “Gimme The Loot” and “Things Done Changed” (which producer Charles “Prince” Alexander characterized as “a ghetto voice” were recorded in 1993 – shortly after Puffy signed Big at Uptown Records with a strong demotape in the basement of Big Daddy Kane’s former DJ, Mister Cee). In these recordings, an inexperienced and more acute Biggie seemed wild and paranoid. But with less than half the album recorded, Puffy was fired from Uptown. Big quickly returned to the drug game, leaving a famous North Carolina drug house – at the request of Puff, who sent him a letter back to New York – the day before he was attacked by the police, and his occupants were sent to jail.
The connection between comic and hip hop goes beyond chance; materials have been built around it. In Mexico, Mike Diaz’s Elephonteasis; in the United States, Quasimoto’s The Unseen. Even events one and two of Deltron 3030 are good examples. Both forms, book and rap music, were inventions born in New York; marginalized cultural expressions that built their space into the dominant offering. Both are dominated by urban spaces, the symbols of the street and its fatal, sacred, bursts; and both are inhabited by the same kind of characters: men lost in the labyrinthine geography of the city, gray women who through an alter ego, a disguise or a new identity, resurface, rise to a new form of existence. Both, too, share the element of great battles. The opposing sides, the struggles for territories, the betrayals, the human drama dancing from page one, from the opening track, to the final point, the fade to black.
This is how Ed Piskor -illustrator, comic artist, born in 1982 in Pennsylvania- presents it in his series Hip Hop Family Tree, composed, until now, by three volumes and constantly updated in the author’s official website.
More than a saga or comic about hip hop, Hip Hop Family Tree is a graphic novel; a document that narrates and illustrates the most important events in the history of hip hop with a fictional treatment. But also with the subtlety and precision of the journalistic chronicle. With a measured structure, as if Piskor cut tracks, in the first volume (2013) we go through the scenes that consolidated the culture in its first stage, that of the Bronx. We witnessed the meteoric rise of the soundsystems and their first outbursts of war. From the first pages, Piskor warns us that the foundational idea of the crew, the essentially group element of hip hop, and the concept of battle, derive directly from gang thinking.
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Barbershop’s Ice Cube is better and I’ll explain why. Barbershop’s Ice Cube saved the entire community. And he addressed the issue of gentrification in Barbershop 2. And he showed the importance of having a stepfather in some neighborhoods. Seriously, man, Barbershop’s Ice Cube is a hero. Otherwise, people still want to make comparisons to reassure themselves. In fact, none of this makes any sense if you think about it for a few minutes. I don’t have a perm[laughs] and the message is not the same at all. We come from the same region, that’s all. When Ice Cube arrived, he didn’t say, “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes.
I am 22 years old and, when I was 10, I remember that 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” came out. I don’t think Ice Cube released any songs after that[Editor’s note: Ice Cube has released three albums since]. I think my favorite piece of Cube is Friday. And I’m talking about the movie, not the song. All About The Benjamins[Editor’s note: In France, the film is known as Chasseurs de primes] is also a great Ice Cube film. I know the Ice Cube actor much better than the rapper Ice Cube, simply because I wasn’t there when Ice Cube rapped. I know the Westside Connection better and, if I had to remember a song, I’d say “In The Name Of The Streets”… Oh no shit, it was on a WC solo that and Ice Cube wasn’t on it[Laughs] ! I don’t think I just don’t have a favorite piece of Ice Cube. Ask me for my favorite Cube movie and I’ll give you a top 5 without any problems.
But the volume not only illustrates the tensions of the Bronx, but also weaves together the moments of light of a culture at birth: the meeting of graffiti artists Lee Quiñones and Fab Five Freddy, their relationship with Basquiat and the appearance of the three in Blondie’s music video “Rapture”; the fiasco of Grandmaster Flash as the backdrop for The Clash; the birth and subsequent importance of radio stations WAX, WHBI, WBLS, and Mr. Murray, as well as other radio stations. Magic; the birth of the independent music industry, and even the first outbreaks of viral culture. Volume one is the cornerstone, the eye of the water, from which the next two are detached. It is also the one that comprises the greatest number of years (70’s-81). And if the first one is the chronicle of the battle, the second volume (2014) is the consolidation of the industry and the omens of the revolution to come: the Golden Era.
Another of the prodigies of volume two is Piskor’s vision of the close relationship that existed between two scenes of New York underground in the early 1980s: punk and hip hop. Great parties of these two universes were held in Manhattan’s Alphabet City, attended without fail by a young Rick Rubin and such Beastie Boys. Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock and its Kraftwerkian aura represent precisely the union of these two worlds, as well as laying the foundation and the footprint for the birth of Def Jam Recordings, the Beastie and a whole new generation in hip hop.
Volume three (2015), which comprises only one year in the narrated time, 83-84, presents the transition of the industry: the change that took place in the record labels -from single to full length-; the emergence of the figure of the producer; and the entry of hip hop on television. If in previous years the rapper and the DJ were the ones who held the baton, in volume three the B-Boys I Am Hip Hop Thank You For The Memories Shirt and the graffers take control and acquire a vital importance. Style Wars (1983), a film that was, in its own way, a sequel to Wild Style, is proof of this. His first scene is the great breaking battle: Dynamic Rockers vs. Rocksteady Crew. Many of the guys interviewed in this film were the designers responsible for the hip hop aesthetic we know today. For example: Cey Adams, creator of the Beastie Boys logo, who appears in the first frames of the film. This and other anecdotes can be found in volume three.