Power To The Publisher: You Had A Classic On Ya Hands
It was all a dream I used to read Word Up magazine Salt'n'Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine Hangin' pictures on my wall Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl
- The Notorious B.I.G
In this digital age I sometimes find myself wondering, do kids still put posters on their wall? I'm not talking Facebook, I mean actual walls? My childhood bedroom was covered in them.
I know the fanatic fans do, believe me I've seen the Justin Bieber bedrooms. But what about the everyday fan? The regular kid that we all use to be, buying Word Up, Vibe, The Source, etc. I know I'm not the only one that mastered the art of staple removal and had a steady hand when tearing pages from those same magazines.
While kids these days can get all their music for free, they don't get to really 'experience' music in it's entirety...at least not the way older generations did.
My connection to music, specifically Hip-Hop, comes from my older siblings. My brother was a Death Row fan to the core and had everything on wax. And then there's my second oldest sister, who had dreams of becoming Ladi B.U.I.T, the first major female rapper to infuse the French language into her rhymes.
Before her rap dreams ended, I would spend hours with her at local record stores like Dr. Wax in Hyde Park, but mainly the one that use to be on 87th & Cottage in Chicago. Unfortunately, neither of us can remember the name. But it was there that I got my first glimpse of the music hustle or rather, the old grind.
I didn't understand the depths of the things that I witnessed there at first. To a 9 year old, it was just a small cramped space with too many people, and lots a pictures of unknown rappers with naked women.
That was until I started reading Hip-Hop magazines. The in-depth interviews with artists from different places that shared the same experience of creating music, putting a tape together, and pushing it in record stores similar to the ones that I once spent whole Saturdays in changed my perspective... or rather put things into perspective.
These publications didn't see young guys loitering, they saw ambitious artists looking to be heard. And while I'm sure many will disagree, they even provided a platform for young women aspiring to be models. Just like popular music magazines didn't want rappers in their publications, popular fashion magazines didn't want black women or 'urban' models in theirs.
We can argue about the negative imagery and stereotypes all day, but that's just one perspective, which, if you ask me is deeply rooted in self hate. Some of thee most classic films for white Americans are centered around infamous gangsters and pure hearted sex workers, but I digress... 🤷🏿♀️
Hip-Hop publications not only provided a platform for creatives of all types, but inspired a generation of young people that never saw life beyond the block they lived on. Seeing artist that looked like them and came from the same places they did was a life changing experience and an invaluable motivational experience.
They helped shift the culture and provided an experience that this digital generation will never get to experience. Although many have switched to digital, they've also watered down their content to appease the short attention span of their young audiences. Digital will never compare to the physical.
But, after a year and some change...that's just my opinion.