Editorial:
It’s My Thang

hiphopcop.jpgI can’t complain. That’s my new refrain. Ask YN how he’s doing, and there’s your answer. Have I locked down that Jay-Z and Nas cover yet? Nah, but I can’t complain. Is The Game or 50 Cent droppin’ an album this summer so I can sell a shitload of issues? Right now, it doesn’t look likely. But you know, I can’t complain. Is it true that by the time this issue hits stands it’s possible I might be goin’ head-to-head with another music magazine with the same cover subject? Yeah, but I can’t complain. I brought it on myself.

You see, Busta Rhymes on the cover is traditionally bad business. Even though he’s a rap legend 15 years deep with plenty of platinum plaques on the wall, he’s never been a big seller for any publication on the newsstand. It’s a fact, Jack. So when my publicity snuggle bunnies at my favorite record label on God’s green earth—say it with me real slow, In-ter-scope Re-cords—called me about locking down the Flipmodian for the front page, I scoffed at them like a stuck-up dime piece (I see you Nick Cannon, stop rhyming!) at a high school dance. I said something like, It ain’t gonna happen, so stop askin’.

Then “Touch It” dropped. Hot record. Then 24 remixes of it dropped. All hot records. Then you know what happened at the video shoot. The media swarm began, and now you can’t pick up a newspaper or surf the Web (xxlmag.com is rising, and that ain’t surprising) without Trevor Smith all up in your consciousness. Let’s be truthful though, tough guys and girls, y’all are listening to T.I. and reading about Busta. So who the fuck else am I gonna put on the cover? Share, share, I don’t care. I believe my story is hotter. (The boy kris ex is on fire. Catch up, niggas.)

But you can’t just do things without putting them in their proper context. Busta’s daily dilemma is whether he should cooperate with the authorities to help capture the person who killed his bodyguard/friend. Should he snitch, as the kids say? So why not do a real reported story about the rap community’s current obsession with keeping our lips sealed? Why not assign it to heralded Time magazine writer David E. Thigpen and have our own V. Satten help track down MCs to discuss the one topic they hate to go on the record about?

Wait, we got more. Why not do a story on New York’s infamous original hip-hop cop? The man who created a twisted scrapbook of your favorite rappers’ most unflattering mug shots? Shit, he’s already gotten a Village Voice cover. (Remember when that paper used to be good? They guzzle monkey piss now.) And Derrick Parker’s got a book coming out and plenty of TV and movie opportunities down the pike. Anybody wanna know his theory on who murked JMJ? Who set ’Pac up back at Quad Studios? And as luck would have it, he also claims to be the one law enforcement officer who had spoken with Busta in the past on more than one occasion. That’s synergy, sissies. (Condolences to the fam of the Vanglorious One!)

In the publishing world, it’s called a package. A group of stories placed together in a feature well that complement and/or enhance one another. Who else you gonna learn from? My new ABC audit is in. Guess who dominated in the final six months of 2005? Don’t hurt yourself thinking. It was YN and his friends—again! So who’s sweatin’ any so-called competition? I hope we are head-to-head right now. Mano a mami. It ain’t personal; it’s business. And I stay in this to win this.

Shit, keeping you suckers in fear is the least I can do, since I’m so well taken care of over here. Why you think I’ve been here so long? Don’t get me wrong, my turn of phrase has brought me praise; but these days I’m focused on making the brand expand. Whether it’s the Internet, DVDs (yeah, we’re coming with one), albums (let’s not go there), or off-shoot magazines (Hip-Hop Soul is back! Can you believe it?), I’m still kickin’ ass and taking names as XXL gains more acclaim. And if I ever get beat at my own game? That’s right, I can’t complain.

I do this in my sleep,

Elliott Wilson
Editor-In-Chief

P.S. Check out my blog on xxlmag.com. Yeah, I find the time to be the best at that, too.

  • http://www.myspace.com/imobilare Priest $ Pepone

    Mayorial Address (911) Abaddon

    Selah, I’m Priest The Desert Pope aka Mayorial Skrill, and I’ve been reading your magazine since you started your company as competition for the Source, so with that said it shouldn’t be too much listen to me, and I’ve never and I mean never wrote you anything you’ve never received nothing from the Pope. Now the piece you did on Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada Late Nite Tip, XXL hits Sin City’s Mandalay Bay was hella cute ya dig, oh amnesia the one with T.I. on the cover, now every time, and I mean every time your magazine mentions or speaks on Las Vegas it only concentrates on The Strip, which only encompasses ¼ of the city. Now it’s not entirely your fault, because you’re not welcomed and you’re warned to stay on the strip. This is the Desert (What happens here stays here is the code of Omerta in six o clock terms No Snitching Mobish) My City was built on corruption, ran by the Mob, My Co-Mayor OG(Oscar Goodman)was the most prominent defense attorney in America for 35plus years and he defended top Mafiosos and serious Capos ya dig, and he’s still Mob related and for the record he’s The Best Mayor in America let him be. Now Benjamin Sigel I can call him Bugsy eternalized The Casino and he wasn’t alone if you didn’t know. Now Makaveli the Don lived in LA but died in LV, Flamingo and Koval, Tupac Wess in Peace can’t forget that. Playboy is you still listenin I hope so, now you’re supposed to be an Urban magazine correct, hold on you describe your mag as Hip Hop on a higher level, well let’s get lifted, because you aint dealin with no regular stress, this is purple history you should be lucky that I’m blessing you before I curse you ya dig. Now you’re supposed to report the truth is that correct and you’re supposed to tell it like it is correct, keep it quote on quote real, nutty fuck all that. Now in the Desert, Syn Cyty (there’s no eye in Vegas), really there’s no eye in Beautiful Babylon because there is serious business falling on deaf ears and blind eyes 24/7 365; everything is controlled from publications to statistics. Now I won’t hold you accountable for anything prior to 2006 because there’s so much crimson history here, and it’ll be delivered gradually in the future, but this recent turmoil that you choose to neglect, I can’t neglect, so I will briefly re-iterate the condition. Sheriff Bill Young wrote a letter last June to the Gaming Control Board requesting their help in getting casinos to ban gangsta rap from their nightclubs and concert venues. “I don’t know if we can influence the gaming industry to not book gangster rap acts here in Las Vegas, however, to my way of thinking it is a legitimate crime prevention strategy.” Also Following the murder of Sgt. Henry Prendes by an aspiring rapper (Amir Trajik R.I.P. member of Desert Mobb), the Gaming Control Board referenced the sheriff’s concerns, In fact, the rum jungle at Mandalay Bay hosted an event featuring Nelly shortly after the Gaming Control Board letter went out and news of the sheriff’s earlier letter broke. This is important, because while Nelly would not be considered a gangsta rapper by most music fans, the sheriff’s June letter followed shootings that he specifically tied to the aftermath of a Nelly concert at the Aladdin last May. “There has been a string of murders of what I will call gangster rap artists that have occurred in Las Vegas in the very recent past. (But not in casinos) No, but they were living and working here and in and around here. (But they weren’t successful or famous) “I don’t know if they were or weren’t. We have a lot of these people living and working here and there is a culture of violence within it, and I can document and show you the murders that have occurred. You can call them not famous. You can call them anything you want. They think they are famous. And I don’t know if you can differentiate between an artist that has great fame and one that is on the lower ebb. If they are playing in a club venue in town, would it not be reasonable to assume they would attract the same gang members and people with guns that were firing them off at the Nelly concert?” said Sheriff Bill Young. Particularly contentious have been the weeks since 21-year-old rapper Amir Crump fatally shot 14-year police veteran Sgt. Henry Prendes, who’d responded to a domestic violence call at the 8336 Feather Duster Court home Crump shared with his girlfriend. Somehow Crump’s crime has been linked to his occupational aspiration. The ensuing media frenzy has been a double-barreled blow to a local rap community that needs bad news like a punch in the mouth. It’s a community that stands as a house divided: beefs over on-wax disses and physical confrontations, neighborhood affiliations and women; consternation over urban radio’s minimal support; feuds between local artists and out-of-town newcomers; anger at bar owners for not booking them and heavy-handed security police tactics when they do. The tension has led to eruptions such as a 30-person brawl at the Take One Nightclub in January and potential catastrophes thereafter like the near-riot at the Beach nightclub following a no-show in February by hotshot Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy, whose Snowman T-shirts (with depictions of Frosty) created a furor because of reputed references to cocaine. Smoke, a solo artist who’s been on the scene for 12 years, says a lack of radio support and an increase in territorialism foment competitive tensions: “When you go to other cities, the people there embrace the artists in their cities. Radio supports them and radio stations are looking for artists to come out of the city. Here, the radio stations don’t care about rap artists. If you listen to the radio, [KVEG] 97.5, they got a guy from Oakland who plays all underground Oakland music. Even Mexican rappers have their own local hour with all their raps. Black artists don’t. Everybody does want to blow, but you can’t blow if you don’t have any radio support. When we go other places, everybody loves us. Hotels don’t care about rap artists, either. So it’s hard to create the distinctive things, with dances or dress styles, that LA has or the South has. Vegas, is a melting pot. You have rappers from Vegas that have a culture and you have people that come from elsewhere and they try to establish their culture and that’s where problems start. Some people from here have ties, yes, to gangs. In the inner city, you remember back in the days, gang-banging was at an all-time high. Dwayne Cromwell, owner of Triple P Records, says the media is blowing things out of proportion: “We’re still struggling to build a hip-hop scene for Vegas because we don’t have a place we go to clique up. You have a few artists that people know, but that’s about it. The scene is coming. There are artists out here that write true-life stories about Vegas that are not getting heard. If we’re going to complain about radio stations not playing our music, we need to pull back from those stations in terms of pulling back our money. If we come together and make a move like that, it will send out shock waves, and then we can start building a scene. We [his artists] participated in a book drive [for Las Vegas City Councilman Lawrence Weekly]. We did it because we’re part of the community and care about the community, but the media won’t write about that.” Greaz, owner of Avenue Records, says Sheriff Young’s anger is misdirected and rappers aren’t credited for the good they do: “I don’t care that the sheriff did what he did. The casinos don’t support us anyway. No one from Vegas has come out to do something really big, except the R&B folks, the 702s, the Ne-Yos, but nobody on the rap side. Some of it is ignorance. The same way guys I used to know who came from elsewhere thought we lived in casinos, you had this news anchor lady saying we don’t need gangsta rap in the community. We are the community. She’s making it seem like the community is just Las Vegas Boulevard and the suburbs. They make it seem like Vegas don’t have ghettos, that all we have is slots and entertainment. They’re not looking at the positive aspect of us trying to be entrepreneurs. For majority of the young brothers in Vegas, if it wasn’t for the studios, they would be out robbing and stealing cars; because they don’t have any other dream. Music gives them a way out: Make a CD, burn it and sell it for $5 to $10 on the Strip. Music gives these gangster rappers life. I own a recording studio and I deal with these knuckleheads. In many cases, they are knuckleheads. But when they do music, you see the side of them that their mommas and grandmommas see, the good side.” Smoke, on how police make a bad problem worse: “We had a spot at the Sultan’s Table. We never had a fight or argument and kept 100 to 150 people in there every weekend. We ended up getting shut down because someone underage was outside and the bar owner got fined. The cops were basically trying to find something wrong, but it had nothing to do with rap. In general, bars don’t want to deal with rap. They’re intimidated. But Vegas ain’t as bad as it used to be. People get killed everywhere in the city now, not just Northtown, but in Summerlin. Ay This the Pope I hope you still listenin Mr. or Mrs. Hip Hop on a higher level, we blow that gospel out here straight through Al Capone sweets now following The deaths of Amir (Trajik) Crump and Officer Prendes may they both rest in peace; policed killed a gunman in a violent standoff, now tell me if this is rap-related. The gunbattle began when police responded to the Woodridge Villas apartment complex near Eastern and Owens Avenue for a complaint about marijuana smoke, Under sheriff Doug Gillespie said. Police ordered the man to come out, when he didn’t three officers entered and were met with gunfire, Gillespie said. Nearly five hours later, the gunman, Christopher Scott Hawkins was dead and hundreds of rounds had been fired at the complex. During the standoff, 13 public and private schools endured the longest lockdown in recent local history. Officers fired 605 rounds during the exchange with the gunman, and Hawkins fired 40shots police said. Hold up Hold up Stall that now 605 rounds do you know how many 605 rounds are that’s 605 shots playboy ya dig, not 40shots R.I.P. Amadou Diallo (Boogie Bronx), but 605 rounds fuck off. Right after that there was a Slaying and a standoff that disrupted your pretty ass strip, yes there was a shooting at Harrahs casino yeah on your I love to go to Vegas and Strip just like bitches at Palominos, Spearmint Rhinos, The Library, and Lil Darlings haha. Off and for the record niggaz do get murked on the strip playboy, niggaz tried to murk me by the MGM and by the Flamingo and well ya dig it goes down 24/7 365, so right after that happened peep game, Secret donor earmarks money for gun purchases after deadly shootout, they feel The Law is outnumbered so they a secret donor, donated 100,000 to buy police rifles wow is that war or what. Now that I have your fuckin attention, and I’m taking you on a higher level about the Cyty, where everybody wants to visit, but everybody doesn’t know shit; just call 911 Abaddon, that’s me Priest the Desert Pope Selahv 1mobilare.

  • http://YAHOO 1 K.I.N.G W.A.T.R

    THIS IS TO THE DESERT POPE:

    VERY WELL PUT!!!!!!

    THINKING BOUT MOVIN TO LAS VEGAS READ ENTRY 911 ABADDON. THE WORLDS 1 FUCKIN BIG HOOD MAN.

  • Danja29

    Good one. But instead of sayin’ VV “guzzles monkey piss” now, you shoulda said they “sip ammonia”. Remember that? “Sippin’ ammonia”? You could joked VV and [the Campers] all at once.

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  • ROB G

    FUCK THA POLICE!!!!!!!!!

  • Crown

    Christopher Scott Hawkins!!!!!!! PEACE GOD!!!!

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