Ethered in utero
You’ll recall that Dave Mays and Ray Benzino were once the CEO and “Chief Brand Executive,” respectively, of the Source magazine. Mays founded the magazine back in the late ’80s with some other cracka-ass crackas from Harvard, his alma mater, and built it into the so-called Bible of Hip-Hop before Benzino came along and ran off most of the staff with his bullshit.
Still, the magazine surged in popularity until Benzino managed to really fuck shit up by pissing off the TIs at labels like XXL parent company Interscope and Def Jam over his beef with fellow white rapper Eminem. And then Mays defaulted on a loan for some exorbitant sum he took out to work on the magazine’s website(?), which finally resulted in the two of them being fired from their own company earlier this year.
For their next act, it was announced that the two would be creating a new publication – a weekly hip-hop magazine in the vein of In Touch or some such – to be called, creatively, Hip-Hop Weekly. Mays and Benzino would again serve as CEO and “Chief Brand Executive,” while embattled former Vibe Editor in Chief Mimi “Juan” Valdes was brought in to serve as Editor in Chief. And similarly issue-prone talk radio hosts Star and Wendy Williams were brought on as columnists.
At the very least, this seems destined to be… interesting. But you have to wonder how successful this is going to be as a business venture. Already, the nascent publication seems to have its share of issues. First of all, who’s going to spend $4 a week (that’s $16 a month!) for a magazine that’s said to be way thinner than your average monthly hip-hop magazine? For the price of one month’s worth of Hip-Hop Weekly, you could get a whole year’s worth of XXL.
Also, it’s been announced, so to speak, that Mimi Valdes is already out as Editor in Chief, though there’s no word yet on what exactly went down there. Presumably, Benzino ran her off with some of his usual bullshit. The point remains though: What kind of dumbass would opt to work for a magazine run by Dave Mays and Benzino knowing good and well the most you might get in return for your work is a gun shoved in your face? No Mark Foley.
Maybe that’s what dawned on Mimi Valdes and that’s why she decided to leave the publication before the first issue hit news stands. Going into business with the two of them, at this stage, couldn’t possibly be a good idea.