Dropping Science: Marvel’s October Hip-Hop Variants

After immense success with putting Hip-Hop duo Run the Jewels on the cover of a few of their books, Marvel has expanded the idea to give each and every single book in their All-New All-Different line-up its own Hip-Hop variant. We’ve tracked down each cover, provided information about the album inspiring the variant cover, and given our two cents on whether it fits the subject. We’ll be doing this each month for as long as the All-New All-Different brand keeps putting out variants!

October 7th

Amazing Spider- Man #1 - Midnight MaraudersAmazing Spider-Man #1
Marvel Creative Team: Dan Slott (Writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Hip-Hop Album: A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders (1993)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Award Tour,” “Electric Relaxation,” “Oh My God
How well does it fit?: The cover to Midnight Marauders is legendary for the faces in its background, compiled of some of the most famous artists in the biz at the timeAmazing Spider-Man also seems to love this concept, and includes a bunch of famous Spider-faces new and old – even those who will not make appearances in the book.

Contest of Champions #1 - Liquid SwordsContest of Champions #1
Marvel Creative Team: Al Ewing (Writer), Paco Medina (Artist)
Cover Artist: Denys Cowan/Bill Sienkiewicz
Hip-Hop Album: GZA’s Liquid Swords (1995)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Liquid Swords,” “Shadowboxin‘”
How well does it fit?: This book is going to be full of the leftovers of everything enjoyable from Battleworld and smush it back together with pretty drawings and fight scenes in a shallow attempt to recapture the magic… hey! Just like this GZA album. MAJOR shout-out to Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan for working on this variant cover. Don’t know the name? Look it up!

Dr. Strange #1 - The ChronicDoctor Strange #1
Marvel Creative Team: Jason Aaron (Writer), Chris Bachalo (Artist)
Cover Artist: Juan Doe
Hip-Hop Album: Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (1992)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Nuthin’ But A G Thang,” “Let Me Ride,” “F*ck With Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)
How well does it fit?: Well, there’s the obvious name similarity. Like Doctor Dre, the good Doctor Stephen Strange seems to be all powerful and everybody respects him… but he doesn’t really seem to do anything specifically worth praising. 

Invincible Iron Man #1 - Get Rich or Die TryinInvincible Iron-Man #1
Marvel Creative Team: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Marquez (Artist)
Cover Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Hip-Hop Album: 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003)
Best Tracks off the Album: “In Da Club,” “21 Questions,” “If I Can’t,” “Life’s on the Line
How well does it fit?: The biggest difference between Tony Stark and Curtis Jackson isn’t a genius intellect or tendency to play superhero, it’s that 50 Cent is BROKE AS F*CK.

October 14th

Extraordinary X-Men #1 - 3 Feet High and RisingExtraordinary X-Men #1
Marvel Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (Writer), Humberto Ramos (Artist)
Cover Artist: Sanford Greene
Hip-Hop Album: De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Me, Myself and I,” “Buddy,” “Say No Go,” “Eye Know
How well does it fit?: De La Soul were on the front lines of the wacky, relatable, and socially responsible rhymes. With Lemire writing this new X-Men series, it’s about damn time the X-series got back to its roots.

Update: The release of Extraordinary X-Men #1 has been moved to November 4th.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 - Bizarre Ride IIGuardians of the Galaxy #1
Marvel Creative Team: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Valerio Schiti (Artist)
Cover Artist: Shawn Crystal
Hip-Hop Album: Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (1992)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Passin’ Me By,” “Ya Mama,” “Officer
How well does it fit?: The Pharcyde have always been regarded as the “weirdos,” choosing a more melodic tone over gangster tales (which was huge for the early 90’s in LA). Likewise, the most recent Guardians seemed to overcome all odds to become a household name.

New Avengers #1 - The MessageNew Avengers #1
Marvel Creative Team: Al Ewing (Writer), Gerardo Sandoval (Artist)
Cover Artist: Ed Piskor
Hip-Hop Album: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message (1982)
Best Tracks off the Album: “The Message,” “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel
How well does it fit?: “The Message” is one of the most humble songs in the history of Hip-Hop, taking aim at social injustice and poverty in the black community. New Avengers? It has Kid Hulk… Yes, this book is going to have to depend on great dialog and humor. Not looking forward to this book.

Sam Wilson Captain America #1 - Long.Live.A$APSam Wilson: Captain America #1
Marvel Creative Team: Nick Spencer (Writer), Daniel Acuna (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Hip-Hop Album: A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP (2013)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Wild for the Night,” “F*ckin’ Problems,” “Golie
How well does it fit?: A$AP Rocky might be a wonderful artist, who knows? I’m not going to take the time to find out, and sadly, I feel the same way about Sam Wilson being the new Captain America. That being said, it’s a beautiful adaptation of the original cover.

Spider-Gwen #1 - The Great Adventures of Slick RickSpider-Gwen #1
Marvel Creative Team: Jason Latour (Writer), Robbi Rodriguez (Artist)
Cover Artist: Humberto Ramos
Hip-Hop Album: Slick Rick’s The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Children’s Story,” “Hey Young World,” “Mona Lisa,” “Teenage Love
How well does it fit?: Slick Rick was the piece that fit the Hip-Hop scene so well that you almost overlooked the fact that he was a British pirate. Gwen Stacy, similarly, is a product of her multiverse – a damsel in distress that’s supposed to be dead, but instead is one of the hottest new superheroes in the Marvel U.

Uncanny Avengers #1 - Yo! Bum Rush the ShowUncanny Avengers #1
Marvel Creative Team: Gerry Duggan (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist)
Cover Artist: Jason Pearson
Hip-Hop Album: Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush the Stage (1987)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Public Enemy No. 1,” “Miuzi Weighs A Ton,” “You’re Gonna Get Yours,” “Sophisticated B*itch
How well does it fit?: Well, there’s Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Thor, Sam Wilson, and Iron Man… So I’m calling it now – Nova is going to be this book’s Flavor Flav. This is by far one of the most diverse teams in Marvel’s line-up, so if they have anything resembling the real talk that Mistachuck can spit, it’ll be a well-deserved homage.

Spider-Man 2099 - Cruel SummerSpider-Man 2099 #1
Marvel Creative Team: Peter David (Writer), William Silney (Artist)
Cover Artist: Afu Chan
Hip-Hop Album: G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer (2012)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Mercy.1,” “New God Flow.1,” “Don’t Like.1,” “Clique
How well does it fit?: G.O.O.D. Music created enough momentum just using Kanye West’s name to get attention, but not enough to really make an impact. That’s pretty much exactly what’s been going on with Miguel O’Hara. Hopefully this new team can take him back into the realm of relevance.

October 21st

Angela Queen of Hel #1 - Pink FridayAngela: Queen of Hel #1
Marvel Creative Team: Marguerite Bennett (Writer), Stephanie Hans (Artist)
Cover Artist: Annie Wu
Hip-Hop Album: Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday (2010)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Roman’s Revenge,” “SuperB ass,” “Moment 4 Life,” “Blazin
How well does it fit?: It’s a pretty bold statement to let Angela’s dopplegänger to be Nicki Minaj. They must really be desperate to sell some books for the Asgardian. However, Angela is just as insane and deadly as Nicki is with her lyrics.

Karnak #1 - Saturday NightKarnak #1
Marvel Creative Team: Warren Ellis (Writer), Gerardo Zaffino (Artist)
Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews
Hip-Hop Album: Schoolly D’s Saturday Night (1986)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Saturday Night,” “We Get Ill
How well does it fit?: Karnak and Schoolly D have one district trait in common. I do not plan on picking anything up with their name on it anytime soon. 

The Astonishing Ant-Man #1- Ready to DieThe Astonishing Ant-Man #1
Marvel Creative Team: Nick Spencer (Writer), Ramon Rosanas (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
Hip-Hop Album: The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die (199?)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Juicy,” “Big Poppa,” “Suicidal Thoughts,” “Gimme the Loot,” “Machine Gun Funk,” “Warning,” “Who Shot Ya
How well does it fit?: The irony is overwhelming here. Really though, how does Scott Lang sit side by side with the legendary Notorious B.I.G.? Well, like Biggie, pretty much anything with the new Ant-Man on the cover is worth adding to your collection. Ready to Die was also Big’s first album and the platform he used to rocket to stardom.

Uncanny Inhumans #1 - AqueminiUncanny Inhumans #1
Marvel Creative Team: Charles Soule (Writer), Steve McNiven (Artist)
Cover Artist: Damion Scott
Hip-Hop Album: Outkast’s Aquemini (199?)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Rosa Park,” “SpottieOttieDopalicious
How well does it fit?: Outkast is like other Atlanta Hip-Hop acts, except it’s not. They’re weird. They’re fascinating. They’re BETTER. Same goes for the super-race of Inhumans from Attilan(ta). 

October 28th

The Howling Commandos #1 - 6 Feet Deep '06The Howling Commandos #1
Marvel Creative Team: Frank Barbiere (Writer), Brent Schoonover (Artist)
Cover Artist: Wilfred Santiago
Hip-Hop Album: Gravediggaz’s 6 Feet Deep ’06 (199?)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Diary of a Madman,” “1-800-Suicide
How well does it fit?: What a better way to show that your book is full of crazy monsters than with a Gravediggaz album cover? One of the most manic groups in rap is a perfect fit for The Howling Commandos. That’s assuming the book isn’t a corny mess of horribleness.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 - WolfThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
Marvel Creative Team: Ryan North (Writer), Erica Henderson (Artist)
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
Hip-Hop Album: Tyler the Creator’s Wolf (199?)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Domo23,” “Tamale,” “Jamba
How well does it fit?: As childish as Tyler can be, he’s also pretty damn smart and resourceful. And with his group (former group?) standing behind him, Tyler is brazen enough to say and do some of the silliest things in all of Hip-Hop. Doreen is no different. With her misfit college friends and Tippy the Talking Squirrel, she kicks butt and takes names at the same time!

That about does it for Marvel’s new books and the Hip-Hop variants that come with them. Check back next month for a whole new set of entries.

 

Diggin’ Through the Crates: A Tribe Called Quest “Award Tour”

ALL BLACK EVERYTHING

Artist: A Tribe Called Quest

Song: “Award Tour”

AlbumMidnight Marauders (1993)

 

Lyric: “I have a quest to have a mic in my hand/ without that, it’s like Kryptonite and Superman.”

Character Reference/Meaning:

In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to change it up a little bit and look at some of the artists that really contributed to the culture inside and outside the booth. Well, today I am here to try to bring back some of those hip-hop glory days by introducing A Tribe Called Quest to D.T.C. with their song “Award Tour.” Released more than twenty years ago, “Award Tour” has withstood the test of time with it’s catchy hook, jazzy beat and wise lyrics. Released off the Hip-Hop classic album Midnight Marauders in 1993, “Award Tour” was smack dab in the middle of the Native Tongues movement.

The Native Tongues were a group of progressive Black groups and artists (namely Tribe, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, Mos Def, and much more) that often collaborated in their work. Hip-Hop has had mega-groups like this before, but in the commercialist explosion of the genre in the late 1980’s, it was hard finding a groups with a positive message. A Tribe Called Quest embodied the movement, with songs about racial equality, treating women with respect, and having good, clean fun. Oh, and did you know that Phife Dog and Q-Tip, two of Tribe’s founding members, are huge nerds??

He might be Superman on the mic, but off of it? I can tell you this for a fact: the only thing weaker than Superman drowning in a pool full of Kryptonite is an MC without his mic. Without such tools, a person of poetry who has lyricism crawling through their bones is powerless to change the world around them. However, let’s switch it up and take a look at the rapper that does possess the almighty mic. A power so strong that Thor and his hammer can only wish to idolize it, a bond so deep and true that Superman’s X-ray vision can’t see past the first few layers, a passion so unrelenting that Poison Ivy can’t help but to succumb to its desire. To the rappers that started revolutions and what it meant to be a hip-hop mastermind that spoke to and for the people, that is what hip-hop heads view a rapper and his mic as. And that is exactly what Phife is saying in this particular lyric.

Only with that ability to make music and share it does he feel powerful, whether it be to make music that others relate to, or to shine a light on issues that other previously couldn’t relate to. All of this sounds dramatic and over the top, but I guarantee you, it’s fact for those individuals out there that can recite every line to “Award Tour.” It sounds an awful lot like being a superhero to me. For those of us who are unfortunate enough (or fortunate depending on how you look at it…those are scary places sometimes) to live in Metropolis, Gotham City, or any other city or planet thriving with super-beings, sometimes that music playing in our heads is our Superman. Everybody has their Superman; you just need to go discover what it is. For some it is their family and friends. For others it is music, movies, and books. And in this case of Phife Dog and the lest of A Tribe Called Quest, it’s being able to have the mic in their hand. What is yours?

Written by Evan Lowe and Sherif Elkhatib

“Rawr, Rawr like a dungeon dragon!” Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes are back on a collaborative mix tape

I was a freshman in high-school when People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm came out. My family had been in Denver for a few years after moving from New York, and I was desperately in need to connect with the culture we had left behind. I went from being immersed in a pure Hip Hop culture, to struggling to find b-boys and emcees.

One day, my buddy Christian popped in a tape. Back then, unwrapping album art was like opening a Christmas gift. I was amazed. Before Push it Along even began I was a fan for life. A Tribe Called Quest single-handedly gave me part of my essence back. For that matter, so did the entire Native Tongue family. Groups like De La Soul, and Leaders of the New School spoke to me almost directly. They embodied what it was like to be a nerdy street kid. Busta Rhymes’ delivery was refreshing. He rapped like an unchained beast. He was every bit a creative genius as his Abstract and the Dragon counter-part, Q-Tip.

The pair have been friends for decades and collaboration is long over-due. Q-Tip has teamed up with Busta on several different projects. We have all belted out the now classic line, “Rawr rawr like a dungeon dragon!” verse on Scenario. Q-Tip’s first solo project, Amplified, was disappointing but also featured our dragon emcee. There are some real old school gems on this project, but not nearly enough new work. Standouts like We Taking Off and Butch and Sundance will get notable rotation in your playlists. Consequently, I’m not a fan of the lead off track from this project, Thank You. Lil’ Wayne and Kanye provide slight vocals on this club friendly joint, but don’t add any flavor to the already lyrically heavy song. Personally I didn’t see the point of having them on the record at all. Anyone remotely interested in this project would be happy enough with Busta Bus and Kamaal. Q-Tip’s partnership with G.O.O.D. Music is clearly the reason for the Yeezus appearance.

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The Abstract and the Dragon is a free mix tape. The tracks on this project are a mix of collaborations, previous songs from the 1990s and previews of tracks from new solo projects from Q-Tip: The Last Zulu and Busta Rhymes: Extinction Level Event 2. Busta gives narration in-between tracks to guide us through memory lane. If you never owned jean overalls and rocked one leg up, you may not appreciate this project. This mix tape is for the former African medallion wearing, Starter-Jacket rocking, high-top fade sporting, “Rap is dead now,” Hip-Hop heads. Truthfully, you should already have at least 12 of these tracks.

The album art is a tribute to the Low End Theory’s painted woman cover art. The cover was originally Q-Tip’s idea. He was inspired by The Ohio Players albums, but wanted to give Tribe an afro-centric, avant garde look. You have to admit, this would make a sick t-shirt design!

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This mix tape is definitely worth the zip file. I’m glad that they collected all of their classics into one project. You can download Abstract and the Dragon here.

Hushcomics gives Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip a B- for nostalgia, but let’s hope their solo projects revisit that Native Tongue sound we all love.

1. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Intro
2. A Tribe Called Quest Feat. Busta Rhymes – God Lives Through
3. Q-Tip Feat. Busta Rhymes – Gettin’ Up (DJ Scratch Remix)
4. A Tribe Called Quest Feat. Busta Rhymes & Redman – Steppin’ It Up
5. Busta Rhymes Feat. Q-Tip, Lil Wayne & Kanye West – Thank You (Kid Capri Remix)
6. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Always Add On (Interlude)
7. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – The Abstract & The Dragon
8. A Tribe Called Quest Feat. Busta Rhymes – Wild Hot
9. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Speaks (Skit)
10. A Tribe Called Quest Feat. Busta Rhymes – One Two Shit
11. Bust Rhymes & Q-Tip – We Taking Off
12. Q-Tip Feat. Busta Rhymes, Raekwon & Lil Wayne – Renaissance Rap (Remix)
13. Q-Tip Feat. Busta Rhymes – Get Down
14. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Butch & Sundance
15. Shaheem Reid – Speaks (Skit)
16. Busta Rhymes – Pardon My Ways (ELE 2 Exclusive)
17. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming (Skit)
18. Busta Rhymes Feat. Q-Tip – For The Nasty
19. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Come On Down (Skit)
20. Big Daddy Kane Feat. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Come On Down
21. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – J Dilla (Skit)
22. Busta Rhymes Feat. Q-Tip – You Can’t Hold The Torch
23. Busta Rhymes Feat. Q-Tip & Talib Kweli – Lightworks
24. Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Chris Lighty (Skit)
25. Q-Tip Feat. Busta Rhymes & Missy Elliott – Vivrant Thing
26. Busta Rhymes Feat. Q-Tip – Ill Vibe
27. A Tribe Called Quest Feat. Leaders Of The New School – Scenario
28. A Tribe Called Quest Feat. Hood & Leaders Of The New School – Scenario (Remix)

Written by John Soweto