Keyshia Cole, step your game up

Confession time: Even though I spend as much time thinking and writing about hip-hop as anyone, I hardly ever get around to reading hip-hop magazines. I have the first issue of XXL, with Jay-Z on the cover, and the second one, with D’Angelo (nullus), but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of the actual print version of XXL.

Also, I subscribed to the Source for three years, from 1994 (right around the time of the original Benzino dust-up) to 1997, and then bought it occasionally up through about 1999. But for the most part, there was a serious decline in my hip-hop magazine reading that began around the time hip-hop started to suck balls (i.e. 1998) and has persisted to this day.

The other day, for shits and giggles, I figured I’d stop off at the local Barnes & Noble, cop one of those $6 coffee milkshakes (which is like drinking a Big Mac) and grab whatever hip-hop magazines they carry. Come to find out, you can’t really get hip-hop magazines at a Barnes & Noble, or at least not this one [1].

Granted, this isn’t the kind of neighborhood where I’d imagine very many people would be interested in reading about hip-hop. (For my St. Louis peeps, Ladue Crossing.) Still, it’s not like they have book stores anywhere other than decent neighborhoods, which makes me wonder: How do magazines like Rime and Elemental stay in business if you can’t buy them anywhere?

Aside from the Source and XXL, it was slim pickins. There was an issue of URB, that magazine that once had Slug on the cover, but I think that might be more of a gay-ass techno magazine. And there was an issue of VIBE there, but I couldn’t get myself to spring for it. Cover girl Keyshia Cole has ridonkulously large boobs, which is one of the things I look for in a woman, but otherwise she’s the definition of busted.

So I ended up copping this month’s issues of the Source and XXL. The Source I got is that special 200th issue, with Ice Cube on the cover. The XXL is the one with Jay-Z on the cover and the making of Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z’s best album.

I was all prepared to write about how the Source had been turned around ever since Dave Mays and Benzino had been fired from their own company, but clearly this isn’t the case. I picked up copies of the Source once or twice during their “baroque” period, and they were way better than this bullshit. Some of the regular sections, like the record report, the artist interviews and what have you weren’t any better or worse than you’d expect, but the actual anniversary package itself was one huge shit sandwich.

It would be unfair to compare XXL to the Source, given all the bullshit the Source has been through, but it’s worth noting that I found XXL rather impressive in its own right. Aside from the Reasonable Doubt features, very little of the content interested me on a personal level, but you can hardly fault them on the execution and the overall presentation. The spelling and grammar was even on point, which is impressive for an “urban” magazine. The broad in their monthly Eye Candy section was remarkably almost-not-fat!

If I can’t talk Elliott or whoever’s in charge into getting me a free subscription, I might go ahead and drop the $12 or whatever it costs. I’d do the same for the Source, but I heard they’ve had problems mailing out issues because they can’t afford the postage or some shit. Do you ‘bags know any other hip-hop magazines worth checking out?

[1] It should be noted that for about ten years before this, I went to a Borders near where I grew up (Olive and New Ballas) and, now that I think about it, I don’t think they ever carried much other than the Source and XXL, either.

  • http://xxlmag erererer

    i would have taken this moe seriously if u didnt work for xxl magazine and yet tryna give me a reason why the source is bad.fuckouttahere.

  • twerkolator

    uh…the source IS bad.

  • FLAboy

    First!! Murer Dog and Ozone

  • FLAboy

    First!! Murder Dog and Ozone

  • DCMadeMan

    wtf, You ever heard of O-ZONE magazine?

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    I think I like the source even more because they’re attempting to win people back. I detest Yellow Nig, but sheeit, I fuckin’ despised Benzino & Dave Mays with a fiery passion reserved for MTV’s reality programming.

    XXL is okay most times, but their reviwers give almost everything an XL rating, which is horseshit. That probably annoys me more than the 6 G-Unit covers per year thing.

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    u a faggit ass nigga bol

    chillin’ in barnes and noble wit milkshakes readin’ magazines – u sure know how 2 ball, huh bol?

  • Lefty 2Gunz

    Now I feel better about the B&N around the way… they have like 6 or 7 different Hip Hop Mags. (XXL & Source included) Granted the only other one I can think of right now is Murder Dog, and some people might wanna include Scratch.

    And I feel you (nullus) on not copping The Source….I can probablly count on 1 hand the copies of The Source I’ve bought since 98/99. Their sh!t just started getting way too biased.
    Now I did check out that anniversary issue and I thought it was nice. Not great but nice in it’s own right. I thought it was great not to have the stench of Mays& and the worlds worst rapper alive all over it!

    As far as XXL goes, I’ve always thought the presentation was second to none. From the covers to
    (the issue with Biggie in the red leather and the Versaces’ on=perfection)
    That’s what got me checking em out from the get go; how it was pieced together. The inside didn’t read like a bunch of
    sh!t slapped between to covers like what happened to The Source.

    When YN puts out some wack sh!t I’ll be the 1st to call it but right now son got the mag game on lock!

    One

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    rey would suck nip nigga wilson dick and clean jeff mao toilet if it’d get him his own xxl magazine blog

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    I must’ve hurt your feelings when I called you “sis”.

    Na, no fellating SellOut Nig for me. I can have assholes like you talk random ignorant shit to me just fine now.

    Sorry, snowflake. Not riling me up today.

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    yellow belly coward ass nigga wilson should fire that lazy ass faggit sickamore and give me his blog instead

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    “yellow belly coward ass nigga wilson”—Damm.. For once we agree on something.

    Your blog would be called “____ is a faggit ass nigga”..

    Hell, I’d read it.

  • Tha Blueprint

    Bol, i honestly have never heard you write one positive thing about anyone in any of your blogs/ rants. They are ignorant and incoherant ravings that are at times difficult to follow. In this particular article the title had Keyshia Coles’ name in it but there are probably two lines about her in the actual article. (she does have big boobs though)You need to step you literacy game up and learn to write. One more note, if you think hip hop music sucks balls so much y are you a columist at a hip hop magazine. Go do something with positive with your life and stop stepping on the toes of people who are trying to do something that they love.
    peace-

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    XXL and Scratch is all you would need. Scratch has hot articles about producers and mixtape reviews and other shit.

    Man I’m hyping them like they pay my rent.

  • Danja29

    Scratch is a good mag.

    And yeah, I noticed that too about the Source- they’re really no better than they’d been before Zino & Mays got the boot.

    *waits for Benzino to come back on his horse*

  • Danja29

    Oh and I’d like to add- I’ve been a fan of Keyshia Cole’s titties since I saw ‘em jumpin’ in that “Changed My Mind” video.

  • d rock

    XXL sucks because jimmy ivone and 50 cent own the mag.

    source is trash cuz benzion fucked it up and now they still trying to fix it.

    The only mag i fuck with is SCRATCH. a real mag.

  • Pingback: » Bol gives his opinion on the current state of hip-hop magazines - XXL

  • John Cochran

    DOG, DO YOU LIKE ANYTHING?

  • Big Jay

    I used to buy the Source, XXL, Vibe, AND King, now I buy none of them. Not all at the same time but at one point or other..Now, if I am out at the store and happen to be in the magazine section, I will pick up XXL and check it out for a min, but neither of these publications are getting my hard earned dollar. Not to mention, you seen gas prices lately?
    All the magazines are pretty much the same, not too much to differentiate one besides the other right? All the rappers talking about the same shit, section with some video hoe trying to get on, section for cars, section for the latest gear and so on and so forth. Basically, they all are as good as Charmin, and no one is really writing anything new, or earth changing for that matter. I would rather read Blo’s blogs. Your ass is always complaining about some shit, but the shit is funny, raw, opininated and beats spending $4-5 bucks on a magazine that is gonna end up in the fuccin trash anyway..

    I’m audi like Allen Iverson in Philly.

  • Enlightened

    For the bullshit you just wrote and the bullshit opinion that had no real substance to back it up, I have to quote that nigga Transient on this one –

    U a faggit ass nigga Bol

    Matter of fact from now on I’m calling you Manute Bol! Not only will you never make the all-star game, you’ll never average double figures and when you’re gone, nobody will remember you were here.

    Alright then Manute

  • Belize

    SCRATCH MAGAZINE FUKKAZ!!!!

  • Provokate

    You wanna know….fuck all those cup coasters…..scratch is dope for what they are trying to do……xxl is hype but has been hit or miss for the last couple years….but WAX POETICS…thats for the “grown and sexy”…..still don’t truly know what that means but it makes me laugh everytime i say it….grown and sexy.hahahahahahahaha

  • Fernando

    Murder Dog is Koo, but the Organization, presentation, & Website suck arse. Source is worse than shit. Ever since they gave Lil Kim’s stupid ass 4 or 5 mics they have been Banned. XXL is ok but the 50 dik rydin has gotta stop. And get the right people to review albums!!! Dont have some Backpack rapper lovin cat review a Lil John album or a Mos Def connasseur reviewing E-40. HIP HOP MAGAZINES HURT…Accept it.

  • Provokate

    Manute Bol is a real bad example chief…..how would you use a guy with a long-standing guinness record(don’t know if it is still standing)just based on how big the muthafucka is….so its not like he went on unnoticed…by the way SNL used him for a few sketches in the early 90′s…so for him to just vanish…?

    Do this instead…..use them surefire puns and homonyms you got, unleash them meteoric metaphors….and we just might have the next dope thing on wax…

  • Samhain Misfit

    Ummm…why is this called “Keisha Cole, Step your Game Up”?

  • dj madwax

    but I think that might be more of a gay-ass techno magazine…

    actually Urb has more hip hop coverage since dance music died. buts its all white people hip hop (aka quality MCs who know how to rhyme but dont make sales)

  • thoreauly77

    blueprint: “you need to step you literacy game up”… hahahahahaha!

  • yaboy

    the transient is fuckin laughs. chillin at his computer waiting for bol (no, anyone at xxl) to make a new post… u know how to ball to i see.

    no sarcasm on the laughing thing. i really do every time u post something.

    fuckin clown

  • http://UG-RS.com Tyler

    Scratch is tight 2 do. . they don’t seem 2 be big enough 2 have 2 pick sides and shit like y’all do yet but we will see where they go wit’ it. This was a waste of article time homeboy. .sorry I usually got your back. Peep the heat at: http://www.myspace.com/marcmaysrockandrollthug
    http://www.myspace.com/marcusorealiusmusic

  • Meka Soul

    “scratch” is pretty fuckin’ good [what up harris publications!]. i like xxl’s writing, & i’m prob’ly one of the few people that’ll read xxl from cover to fake grill & porno ads.

    i picked up that new issue of the source. it’s not good, but @ least there’s no has-benzino propaganda plastered all over it. that nig popped up more times than waldo.

    *also still waiting on benzino’s white horse return*

  • Meka Soul

    and yes, keyshia cole does have some stupendously gargantuan milk makers.

  • Nelson Abbey

    FAIR ENOUUGH, THE SOURCE IS A TRAIN WRECK. FORGET ALL THAT. I’VE BEEN DOWN WITH XXL FROM THE START. NEVER EVER MISSED AN ISSUE. INFACT I BROKE THE WINDOW ON TOWER RECORDS IN PICCADILLY CIRCUS AND GOT ARRESTED BECAUSE THEY DIDNT LET ME IN 2 MINUTES AFTER CLOSING TIME (MIDNIGHT) TP PICK UP ONE OLD XXL WITH SUGE KNIGHT, LEFT EYE AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER PEOPLE ON IT. TRUE STORY.

    HOWEVER IN TERMS OF ISSUES GETTING DELAYED XXL WAS TERRIBLE.I SUBSCRIBED LAST YEAR AND MY MAGAZINE WAS ROUTINELY LATE. INFACT I WOULD RECIEVE MAGAZINE ALMOST 2 TO 3 MONTHS AFTER THEY HIT THE SHELVES!!! OBVIOUSLY I REFUSED TO RENEW MY SUBSCRIPTION.

  • Nelson Abbey

    Apologies for the caps Bol!

  • yaboy

    ur obviously an oddball of mega proportions.

  • P-Matik

    Scratch
    Elemental
    Mass Appeal

    I chose not to renew my Interscope Monthly..I mean…XXL subscription because I couldn’t stomach it anymore. The Show & Prove section is the worst. A bunch of drug dealing idjits trying to rap now.

  • Enlightened

    Provokate,

    You right. Manute Bol probably is a bad one to use, huh?
    But you know what. I am the new dope thing on wax. I’ve moved a couple thousand units independently and I’m about to release a double disc in October. I just don’t use my real name (MC name) when I get on here and posting links to my website and everything. I keep my MCing separate from my blog repsonses, but I really am tight as hell on the mic though. No BS.

  • raul

    the main problem with xxl is exept for the interscope covers (I don’t give a fuck what yn says there are more artist that can sell covers than 50)is there rating system they only have a 5 point system and given thst most artist don’t get a S or a M and very rarely a XXl is all the reviews is gonna be a L or a XL that’s a pretty big margin.So the reviews are one or the other it’s hard to know if they thought a album was good. Another thing is they don’t have no political content like The Source in their prime.So basically every issue is the letters to the editor( which I love)
    YN opening, Gossip,The up and comers profile A few main stories and reviews which arent a lot and A little cheap as section reviwing indie rap.Even though I like XXl for the most part I feel they should be more well rounded and stop only putting gangster rappers in the pages I am sure other artist will sell.

    Ps Scratch is the shit they need to come out monthly.

  • Enlightened

    RAUL,

    That’s a good ass point. 90% of the reviews are always L or XL. I’ve thought about that before. Like at least with the Source, that half mic gives you 4 different ratings that 90% of the CDs will get.

  • UnFaded Disciple

    You really fucked up with that title, huh Bol?

  • mark givens

    Dont Diss Keyshia COLe! She is not busted. Id like to see what fat white bitch you are fucking!

  • http://xxl dabronx

    nobody reads the source anymore because they are eastcoast bias
    (just like eastcoast rappers and their fans)shouts to the dirty

  • 5 STAR X-E-Q-SHUN

    What the fuck does the headline/title of ur blog have to do about anything U wrote?! When did ya mention Keyshia in ya blog?!

    What da fuck do U smoke/drink in ur office/cubicle?!

    Go back 2 journalism skool U donkey ass.

  • http://www.urbanology101.com The Critic

    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE
    GO BUY URBANOLOGY MAGAZINE

  • Tha muhfuckin Rapture

    Tremendous yellow titties!!!! There, now at least this has SOMETHING to do with Keyshia Cole. Proceed.

  • bhillboy

    BOL you a straight up rap nerd. I finally realized it when you said keyshia’s busted. nigga you the one look busted. that’s a bad bad bitch.

  • I Fux

    I read Complex which is really a lifestyle magazine, so other than that i just check for shit here at xxlmag.com , but on another note I once subscribed to the source for a year got 3 magazines total and recieved those particular issues 2 to 3 months after being on newstands truly horrible experiance fuck the sourceshit

  • \sjios\deio\shnd

    i like keisha cole u must be gay bol?

  • DrGonzo

    The Border’s here in Dallas usually have a pretty good stash of hiphop mags. Elemental, wax poetics and such, as well as your source’s, xxl’s, and vibes’s. Just saying . . . .

  • \sjios\deio\shnd

    why did u even put keisha cole in the title, u didnt write anythin about her…

    STEP UR GAME UP TOILET BOL

  • Gutta

    xxl is the better mag right now,but yall still get sloppy(nullus). i like a girl wit ass myself but wsup wit all the fat chicks in the back? who wanna see that shit man? and why do u constantly put artists on show & prove who will never drop an album? and ask YN when he gonna drop that album on interscope cuz i swear he on interscope payroll with all the interscope artists. just a thought

  • bol

    yo i just asked for opinions u faggots. Ye im not supporting either xxl or the source they both rubbish horse crap. and oh yea…im gay

  • Hannah Smith

    Forget US magazines – they suck. All of them. Check out Pound in Canada and Hip-Hop Connection from the UK – both come with a sense of humour, honest reviews, articles that go beyond the inane XXL Q&As and – helpfully – are written in English. Cashback!