Have you ever wondered about the connection between comic books and hip-hop? According to writer and rapper Jean Grae, the answer is simple: New York City. And as part of SYFY WIRE’s music month, Grae recently shared her thoughts on the subject alongside Kwanza Osajyefo, the creator of the comic book series Black.
“I think the natural crossover between hip-hop and superheroes is New York,” says Grae in our interview above. “I think it's being able to relate to these superheroes, but they also live in the city. It doesn't seem that foreign. It doesn't seem that out there. Besides looking at them and being like, 'Okay, they're not like everybody else, and we're kind of doing this new thing.' We're trying to start something that's not like everybody else.”
Grae and Osajyefo also spoke at length about their origins as comic book fans, and which artists drew them into the world of hip-hop. Grae also had a hilarious reaction when Osajyefo told her that younger fans didn’t realize that Ghostface Killah was rapping about Tony Stark long before Iron Man was a box-office superhero.
According to Grae, performing in front of a live audience is a powerful sensation, and it makes her feel even more connected to the powerful world of superheroes.
“We feel like superheroes,” explained Grae. “We just invented something that's powerful. It's powerful being an MC holding a whole audience... that is a superpower, to be able to do that. To make people feel emotions. That for me is kind of where it made absolute sense. And I'm like, 'Yeah, I guess I'm a superhero. I know all these places, and I can make people feel and do these things upon command.’”
Check out the entire interview with Grae and Osajyefo, then let us know your thoughts in the comments below!