85: Ed Piskor
Welcome to the No BS Marketing Show with Dave Mastovich featuring Hip Hop Cartoonist Ed Piskor!
Summer-the laid back mindset. Ever wonder how much productivity suffers for companies? Oftentimes people use the “I’ll be on vacation” line to excuse why they can’t get to something before, during, or after their vacation. But marketers can be productive even while on the beach! It’s market segmentation at it’s finest.
The No BS Marketing Show, Audible is offering a free download with a 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. You can download it for free today.
This week’s guest is Ed Piskor, a writer, designer, creative, artist, and hip hop historian. He is the author of the Hip Hop Family Tree, Volumes 1, 2, 3, and soon to be released in August, 4. Piskor grew up in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homestead. In the 1990s, the area was full of gangs so instead of getting involved, he stayed indoors developing his drawing skills. Although his parents involved him in some local art classes, his comic skills are largely self-taught. Growing up in an environment of hip hop, Piskor has a unique ability within the comic world to create his one-of-a-kind Hip Hop Family Tree books.
He first gained popularity by his publications on Boingboing.net which went viral. Rather than research, Piskor considers the compilation of the history in his books “reading for pleasure”.
“Comics is a medium that rewards obsessive compulsive behavior and we indulge in that as cartoonists. You can’t turn that off.”
“Over the years of watching rap music videos or hearing weird guest spots on different rap records, all these questions popped into my head. In an archaeological sort of way I would dig deep to find those answers. As a fan, as a nerd.”
“During my 20s I would strike out and fail and end up back in my Mom’s walk-in closet until I got my foot in.”
Piskor’s work is considered a “journalistic piece”. He “followed the ‘journalistic code of ethics’ when putting this together intuitively just because he wanted to have an extremely comprehensive piece of work.” He has not had one notable rapper say that what he’s written is untrue.
“You would think that if you made a billion dollars you would be above that flattery…But it’s not true, my phone number is within a network of extremely famous rappers…When I get a phone call from one of these rappers or a number I don’t recognize…My heart beats out of my chest when I see that more than when I’m hanging out with a pretty girl I’m waiting for a call from.”
Ice Cube shared a comic strip of him meeting Dr. Dre by Piskor on social media.
“The reads are so easy and almost funny to read because it’s all in comic book form,” Dave Mastovich.
Grand Master Flash holds the cover of Volume 1.
“Volumes 1 & 2 are very historic. If you were really into music you knew and heard a bit about these artists. But the average person doesn’t really know Afrika Bambaataa other than Jay Z mentioning it,” Dave Mastovich.
Run DMC is on Volume 3… “Starting to get into the records that everybody knows,” Piskor.
Mentors and Inspiration
A really great art teacher in middle school that always shows up to Piskor’s events, even today. “She recognized my craft and just let me go.”
“Really it’s just environment that is my inspiration, because I came from some really extreme spaces. I never want to go back to that and I know I have to keep working hard to not go back.”
He went to art school for one year after high school. Joe Kubert School of Comic Art. The value for him was being around other people with the same goals and of high talent.