Percy Carey came up in 1970’s and 80’s in Harlem. In this autobiographical graphic novel, he talks about how as a child he was an extra on Sesame Street, but from there is life goes in a different direction. Hip-hop was at its beginning and Carey was determined to become an emcee. He became well known (by the name M.F. Grimm) in hip-hop circles, and can count people like Snoop Dogg, Lady Rage, Suge Knight, Roc Raida, KMD and Tupac Shakur among his friends and acquaintances. Along with hip-hop came gangs, violence and drugs. In the opening scene of the book, Grimm tells the story of the gang shooting that kills his brother and paralyses him for the rest of his life. Along the way he goes to prison, and as one of the few prisoners who can read, becomes an advocate for prisoner’s rights, and finds the determination to change his life.
Sentences is an interesting story that is powerfully drawn. Carey takes looks at his mistakes head-on without shying away from the violence, while still allowing the reader to be proud of his accomplishments. Anyone interested in hip-hop and rap will want to read this book, but be warned— the violence, though not very graphically depicted, is there, as are drugs. The language is pretty rough, with lots of profanity, which is what you’d expect from a hip-hop artist/former gang member. It is the story of the beginning of hip-hop from someone who was there, and who is willing to talk about both the good and the bad without apology.
If you like Sentences, you might also be interested in:
50 x 50: 50 Cent in His Own Words by 50 Cent
The Way I Am by Eminem
Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip-Hop by Johan Kugelberg et al.
Chess Rumble by Greg Neri
Street Scene: How to Draw Graffiti-style by John Lee