Artist Julian Lytle Remixes Hip Hop and Comics at NYCC

Guns N' Honey Remix

At New York Comic Con last weekend, we had the chance to chat with artist, Julian Lytle, about his work, comics and our favorite tracks on “Choppin’ Ain’t The Same.” A Washington D.C. native, Lylte, 33, has been in the comic book game for over two decades. For those of us who are both geeks and hip hop heads, Lytle’s art threads together our two greatest passions. Whether it’s his Tarantinoesque “Guns n’ Honey’s” series or “Longboxes on 22s,” where he mashes up hip hop album covers with superheroes, Lytle is a bridge that connects these seemingly opposing worlds together.


Mass Appeal: When did your love for comics, art, and hip-hop begin?

Julian Lytle: I fell into drawing from the powerful combination of Mark Kristler’s “Secret City” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Once it was known I was good at art, it seemed everyone supported that talent. I felt no different to a kid who was great at sports. I don’t remember a time when comics and hip hop weren’t in my life. So for me, reading “X-Men” and listening to a new Biggie song couldn’t exist without the other.


Superboy-Thank Me Later by Julian Lytle


MA: I know you did some art for Wale. Can you tell us more about that?

JL: Basically, that came about from my old friend Mike Bully of Good Bully. He’s been working with Wale for a long time now and from time to time he’ll need an assist. I doubt the label or even Wale knows that I worked on those two covers. I like it that way. Sometimes you need to be Winston Wolf in the Bonnie situation.

Guns N' Honey by Julian Lytle

MA: I really dig your superhero and hip hop album cover mashups. Can you tell us how that came about? 

JL: “Longboxes on 22s” came about because illustrator Sean Causley and I are long time comic book readers and lovers of hip hop. In our heads, it’s like a completely composite superhero earth where all the superheroes are mashed with hip hop history. What’s better than Spiderman for Illmatic? Peter Parker is from Queens and a constant underdog, but is a landmark character and fan favorite.

Daredevil-All Eyez on Me by Julian Lytle

MA: At New York Comic Con, you illustrated some hip-hop influenced commissions for fans like Kid Omega as a “Mutant in Paris” and Deadpool sippin’ on lean. Why do you think there’s such a natural connection between rap and comics?

JL: I think in a lot of ways rappers have origins and two identities. They also have these fantastical adventures with fast cars, action, and pretty women. If you have ever been around a serious rap debate it’s not that much different to a comic book debate. You switch out flow, bars and who’s the nicest with power levels, costumes and comic book issues. It sounds exactly the same. Mutants in “X-Men” are the stand-in for minorities in America, so with rap still being mostly about the minority experience I think those fit well.

Illmazing by Julian Lytle

MA: Which comic book characters would you put on the covers of Drake’s NWTS, Pusha T’s MNIMN and Juicy J’s Stay Trippy?

JL: That’s funny, I have a sketch of Drake’s album cover that we are planning on finishing up soon. It’s going to be Nightwing, since DC Comic’s launched their New 52, nothing has been the same.  Everyone’s history is different to what I grew up with. As for MNIMN, if I were to do the one with Pusha’s head on it I’d use the wizard Shazam, since his name gives power. The character is very much applicable to the title MNIMN. I want to do The Riddler for Juicy J’s Stay Trippy. Can’t you see it?

MA:  Word on the street is you have plans to make a chopped and screwed comic. Can you describe how that would look visually? Any idea on when we can expect that?

JL: Yeah that’s my goal. I think it’s pretty hard. I’ve been thinking about it for a year. It has to have a rhythm to when it stops, repeats and to give across the slowed down nature of it all. Even a blend of other things also. I think I’ll have to do the comic regular first then screw it up. The one thing I know now is that visually it will have a purple and pink tone to it.

Dr. Supes The Kryptonite by Julian Lytle

MA: Since rappers can be seen as superheroes, or villains, which six rappers would you chose to be the hip hop version of the Avengers? Who would be Loki?

JL: I’ll probably pick MC Lyte as Black Widow since her flow has always been deadly and she’s been consistent. I’d pick Yasin Bey (Mos Def) for the Hawkeye role since he’s quite likable, diverse in his skills and very targeted in his verses on things. Ghostface will always be Iron Man in my mind. I don’t think anyone represents the pure id more than Ol’ Dirty Bastard so he’s the Hulk. For Captain America I think I’m going to pick Q-Tip since he’s still relevant and has his skill but is a rapper from another era. Thor might have to be Chuck D since his voice is like being smacked by a hammer. As for Loki, it’s Puffy aka Puff Daddy aka P Diddy aka Diddy. If there is anyone that is the pure trickster in hip hop then it’s him. Puffy kind of plays with the culture and directs it to where he wants it to go. We went from Bad Boy, to Sean John, to his reality TV thing to Ciroc to soon this Revolt TV thing. The thing with doing stuff like this is that if you ask me next week it will all change to something else.

The Notorious Cable by Julian Lytle

Related Articles


Hip Hop’s Genesis Drawn in “Family Tree” Comic


Originators: Anna Bongiovanni


Originators: Jess Smart Smiley


Get An Exclusive Look at Darryl Makes Comics’ DMC #2


#TinyBatman and #TinyHellboy Are A Big Hit, Blowing Up Twitter


Latest News

lamar odom's lawyer writes espn a letter after stephen a. smith's "crack" comments Sports

Lamar Odom’s Lawyer Pens Letter to ESPN Over Stephen A. Smith’s “Crack” Comments

Stephen A. clowned Odom’s addiction on ESPN this week in a clip that’s now viral
Meek Mill's crew apparently attacks Safaree in Los Angeles. News

Safaree Gets Jumped, Calls Meek Mill “Biggest Pussy On This Planet”

Meek remains unfazed

With ‘Project E.T.,’ DJ Esco and Future Gave Listeners “Too Much Sauce”

"Yeah, all of my diamonds they shine, Haters like knock that off"
Metro Boomin drops a new song with Drake and Offset Music

Metro Boomin Drops Surprise Drake, Offset Collab, “No Complaints”—Is Album Next?

The Atlanta producer's got everybody lookin'
Zola News

Viral Dancing Gorilla Sad Reminder Of What Harambe Could Have Been

Impressive moves but... damn
tupac filmmakers sued by former vibe writer Film

‘All Eyez On Me’ Filmmakers Sued for Using Fictional Characters in Tupac Biopic

Former ‘VIBE’ writer claims the movie steals his intellectual property
Call of Duty 4 Screencap Remastered Tech/Games

‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered’ Standalone Release Coming Soon

COD fans who skipped the $80 'Infinite Warfare' bundle are psyched
memesmahnegguh, coco mango cherry Hey, You're Cool

Hey, You’re Cool! @memesMahNegguh

Adult Swim, holler at your boy!
Banksy News

Goldie Refers to Banksy as “Rob,” People Freak Out

You do realize how many Robs there are in the world, right?

New Music From Vince Staples, dvsn, Heems and More

The Listening Room (June 23, 2017)
2017 Draft Class Sports

The Major Takeaways from the 2017 NBA Draft

Last night we watched men both younger and way more talented than us become way richer than us. Welp
Sizzla-DJ-Khaled News

The Untold Story Behind DJ Khaled and Sizzla’s “I’m So Grateful”

Khaled and Kalonji go way back
Eric B. & Rakim will reunite to celebrate 30th anniversary of Paid In Full. Music

Eric B. & Rakim Announce First Show Together in Over 20 Years

Finally let the rhythm hit 'em
essex-market-featured Art

‘Market Surplus’ Gives a Building on the L.E.S. One Last Jolt Before Demolition

Mural art show features Faust, Lamour Supreme, ELLE and more
Silicon Valley: The Soundtrack is available now. Music

Stream ‘Silicon Valley: The Soundtrack,’ Featuring Nas, Run the Jewels, Wu-Tang ...

A Mass Appeal and HBO collaboration, streaming now
Jay 305 talks about Suga Free's 'Street Gospel' album. Music

Jay 305 Preaches on Suga Free’s Classic ‘Street Gospel’