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