Hip-Hop Marvel Comics: De La Soul, Public Enemy Become Rap Superheroes

Zachary Volkert

Marvel Comics and hip-hop might seem to be on opposite sides of the pop culture spectrum, but both have managed to turn out some of the most iconic, well-respected work of the modern era. Today you can get your PhD writing about Public Enemy's protest music or the evolution Spider-Man's villains just as easily as comparing great philosophers and painters.

That recognition isn't solely academic. Once too subversive to be mainstream, hip-hop now sees itself integrated into even the most the accessible facets of entertainment. Marvel Comics is now rolling out a series of covers that will smash together their greatest superheroes and some of rap's seminal works into a perfect marriage of two art forms who have finally secured hard-won success.

Marvel Comics' series of hip-hop covers will feature 50 albums that have had a hand in shaping the genre. Not to ignore albums pushing rap into new territory today, it will feature newly inaugurated classics like A$AP Rocky's Long.Live.A$AP alongside older hits like De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising, reported Uproxx. Check out the Marvel comics hip-hop covers, as well as some info about the original works, below.

De La Soul's 3 Feet High And Rising -- Extraordinary X-Men #1

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De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising has been around more than 25 years since it was first released in 1989, and in that time its influence has continued to grow -- the album is rarely absent from lists of the greatest hip-hop records of all-time. Noted music critic Robert Christgau said that the album is "an inevitable development in the class history of rap, [De La Soul is] new wave to Public Enemy's punk. Their music is also radically unlike any rap you or anybody else has ever heard — inspirations include the Jarmels and a learn-it-yourself French record. And for all their kiddie consciousness, junk-culture arcana, and suburban in-jokes, they're in the new tradition — you can dance to them, which counts for plenty when disjunction is your problem."

Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version by Ol' Dirty Bastard -- Howard the Duck #1

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The members of rap supergroup Wu-Tang Clan have broken off to create several of the most lauded classics of the hip-hop genre. One of the first to accomplish breakout success was Ol' Dirty Bastard, who released Return to The 36 Chambers a little under a decade before passing away in 2004.

Long. Live. A$AP. by A$AP Rocky -- Sam Wilson, Captain America #1

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The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill -- Ms. Marvel #1

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Lauryn Hill's outspoken politics and ego might have lost her a few fans since The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was first released in 1998, but even now the talent behind the album is undeniable. Hill broke the record for most albums sold in the first week of release by a female artist with a number one debut.

The Chronic by Dr. Dre -- Doctor Strange #1

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More than 20 years after the release of The Chronic, ignoring Dr. Dre for his own Marvel Comics hip-hop cover would be a travesty. The albums has sold more than 5.7 million copies since its release, according to Billboard.

What album do you hope makes the cut for Marvel Comics' hip-hop covers?

[Image via Marvel and BCM Records]