XXL Blogs turns 1.

XXL Blogs is officially one year old today. It was on this day last year that I posted my first blog here at xxlmag.com. I had no idea what to expect, and no idea if a largely male, largely American readership would be interested in what a white girl from Canada had to say about rap. Amazingly, a few of you are, and I’m thankful to you for reading and commenting all year. (Shout out to the c-boys.)

Still, I won’t front, there’s been a few times over the last 365 that I’ve wanted to bounce. From time to time, I felt like I’d run out of stuff to talk about, or I got fed up with random dudes talking wild in the comment section, or I got sick of hip-hop being so damn extra all the time, or so self-destructive, or so sexist—and I got ready to pen my break-up letter to hip-hop. You know the drill: “Dear Hip-Hop, it’s not me, it’s you. I need my space. Please give back the keys to my place.” And whatnot. But I never did. And I’m glad that I didn’t. There’s something to be said about being willing to hang in with something and see it through. Plus, you all already know how much love I have for hip-hop. Once you fall in love with the music, it’s for life. Despite all the bullshit. All I need to get by, and whatnot.
So, without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned over the last year of mayhem on xxlmag.com:

Blogging at this level is not for the faint of heart. Like every other arena in hip-hop, the more success you get, the more hate comes your way. You get accustomed to being attacked on the regular, and it stops being a big deal.

To thine own self be true. As in other areas of hip-hop, readers can smell a fake from a mile away. There’s nothing we all hate more than someone pretending to be something that they’re not. At a certain point this past year, I realized that all I really have to share is my own perspective. It’s pretty different than the majority of other hip-hop bloggers out there. Truth be told, I’m really not cynical enough to be a hip-hop blogger—I’m far too optimistic. But this last year has shown me that there’s room for lots of different voices in the culture.

Everyone and their uncle wants to be a rap star. Thing is, in the words of Fresh, I’m not Clive Davis. I can’t put you on. Judging from the mail I get, everybody under the sun wants to be a famous rapper. But nobody wants to write. Why is that?

Elliott Wilson walks the walk. The haters are going to be mad at this, but respect is really due to the Boss Man for allowing this site to be so raw and uncut. I remember reading his editorials before I started working for XXL. He used to talk about maintaining integrity in the heart of such a commercial industry, about doing what you love—exactly the way you want to do it—and staying on top. He wasn’t lying. On XXL Blogs, we have zero limitations on what we say. Zero editorial interference. When you work in media, you realize how rare and special that is.

You’d be surprised who reads these blogs. I’ve had everyone from editors at big U.S. publications, to authors, to UPS dudes, to rappers reach out to me about my blog. This music has spoken to me for so long, it’s nice to get a chance to speak back once in a while. Plus, IT guys everywhere know my name, and you really can’t beat that. I kid, I kid.

Shout out to the whole XXL Blogs crew, especially Elliott, B-Fred and Eskay.

  • thoreauly77

    strange that its been a year already huh?

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    Keep up the good work Tara your style of writing is refreshing because its a different perspective from most bloggers.

    *Ay Eskay why don’t my comments post on NahRIGHT anymore?*

  • Combat Jack

    tara, congrats on the numero uno. you’re definitely appreciated as you even out all our male shit popping off up in this piece. keep keeping the faith.

    btw, hell to the naw do i want to be a cRapper. never that!

  • sATaLyte

    awww, the one year anniversery.

    So we goin out to dinner to celebrate or what?!

  • Fernando

    Wow,

    Maybe I should write a gushing paragraph about how great my job is.

    Watched Dave Chappelle’s Block Party again last night….damn I wish he was still on TV. That fool is funny as hell!!!

  • king blair

    shit i need me a blog to re-up offa that myspace ass….just joking but i like most of your shit you dont spend everyday dissing ninjas just because,and when you went on phonte was to dang funny

  • http://xxlmag.com eskay

    Right back atcha Tara. Congrats on making a year.

    E,

    I don’t really have the time during the day anymore to moderate comments on my site in a timely fashion. I’m trying to work on that, but it’s been hectic. I gotchu though.

  • John Brown

    “On XXL Blogs, we have zero limitations on what we say. Zero editorial interference”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    What bout when Billy Sunday wrote that article about MTV. Didnt YN have a word with him? Or so he says.

  • EReal

    Congrats on your 1st Tara-Squad.

    Do you, and fuck the haters. Especially the fat cows that wanna be you.. I SEE YOU HANNAH. Your writing is different and not that I always agree with it, but I can tell its str8^ to who you are. (Feminist joke here) Dont let anyone take you off your game, as soon as you do that… You’ve been Ja Ruled.

    Lookin forward to another year, and hopefully a few more blogs a week, eh? eh?

    1 hunned.

  • jacquez
  • http://poisonousparagraphs.blogspot.com/ Dart_Adams

    Congratulations for being the voice of reason/conscience of the XXL blogs for a full year. One.

  • rec

    What bout when Billy Sunday wrote that article about MTV. Didnt YN have a word with him? Or so he says.
    ^^^^^^^^^^
    i think privacy legislation trumps even YN…you can’t sick the c-boys on people

    from one canuck to another congrats

  • Josepth Regular

    I would like to take this time out to thank you Tara. Yes I’m male and I enjoy reading your blog.(amazing?!) I truly believe that like hip-hop, life is about balance, I enjoy reading the perspective of a white girl from canada who obviously has alot of love for this rap game regardless of the misogyny and sexist themes which permeate throughout our music. You understand hip-hop and its evident, your not trying to be “down”, “ghetto”, or “gangsta”. And in truth that is as “real” as it gets. It proves that you don’t have to be from the “hood” to understand the culture, you just have to be a fan, and in this rap climate where everyone is a rapper or a trapper, its welcome and refreshing. Congratulations on a great year and I look foward to another year of you insight. Get Money, Stay True.

  • derfla the hus’la

    I see the new look in the site ta it’s aight but fix the feedback thing takes 20 mins to read your own post..contrats Ta keep ya head up

  • THAT_BOY_NOAH

    congrats

  • NickeNitro

    You got fed up with me?!?

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    Good looking out Eskay congrats on the skrilla your getting working here at XXL.

  • http://myspace.com/polohiphop real talk

    XXL keep up that real ishhhhh…….

  • Hannah Smith

    “Elliott Wilson walks the walk. The haters are going to be mad at this, but respect is really due to the Boss Man for allowing this site to be so raw and uncut. I remember reading his editorials before I started working for XXL. He used to talk about maintaining integrity in the heart of such a commercial industry, about doing what you love—exactly the way you want to do it—and staying on top. He wasn’t lying. On XXL Blogs, we have zero limitations on what we say. Zero editorial interference. When you work in media, you realize how rare and special that is.”

    Read that again – it’s hilarious. Integrity and XXL haven’t walked together for years.

  • thatdukeSuave

    ^^This girl get up at 4:15 in tha fuckin mornin to hate on Tara’s blog. Damn girl you angry at breakfast? Gang bangin on bacon? – Katt Williams.
    Congrats T.

  • EReal

    ^^
    No doubt, I already shouted this fat hater, and she just keeps on hating.

    Hey fatass cow, if you hate XXL so much, then why you spend so much time here, eh?? Make you feel better about yourself to dog people doin big things cause the only big thing you’re doin is the big breakfast from McDonalds??
    GTFOH.

  • Pancho

    only just started posting comments here a short while ago, but I’ve been an avid reader of this site for the past 4-5 months or so…

    Nice work…not just to you, but to everyone here…rare that you find a website that satisfies your specific needs (i.e hip-hop).

    Ok, co-sign EREAL…when you go to XXLMAG.COM just to hate on ONE specific person…that’s just sad. (Hannah…go back to doing what you do best…devouring 60 Big Macs in 5 minutes).

  • NickeNitro

    I realize Hannah Smith probably wrote that comment out of some personal beef with Tara Henley, but I have to agree with what she said this time. XXL’s website is pretty cool, but a lot of the actual content and the magazine are cheap representations of the music that hurt the form in a lot of ways. I wouldn’t be surprised if that whole paragraph wasn’t dictated by YN or a higher-up at Harris. Even after the whole Benzino affair, what remains of the still independently-owned Source is still the best hip-hop rag for my dollar.

    Unlike Hannah (“The Hungry, Hungry Hippo”?), I like the stuff written by Tara (and Noz). But if Noz fucked my girlfriend (or stole my curly fries? What’d you do to Hannah anyways, Tara?), I might start talking mad in his comments.

    But if Hannah actually can devour 60 Big Macs in 5 minutes, that gets automatic respect from me.

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    Hannah … fuckin’ 4:15am???? GotDamn!!!!! This bitch is wakin’ up in cold sweats thinkin’ about T

    Keep doin’ what you do Tara …

    LOL@ thatdukesuave

  • http://www.mypsace.com/pr0blematik P-Matik

    “Judging from the mail I get, everybody under the sun wants to be a famous rapper. But nobody wants to write. Why is that?”

    From what I’ve seen in the comments section over the past 365 days, it wouldn’t hurt a lot of these cats to take a remedial english class first.

  • EReal

    @ Nick

    You think Source is better with their 30 pages of Rocawear ads and JayZ runnin shit over there?? Its all commercial man, this is business, first and foremost. Kna Mean?

  • Pierzy

    Tara, you’re terrific! Keep the good work!!

    (And I’m trying to write for XXL, so I’m one of the few!!)

  • http://dahshyt.blogspot.com Belize

    Congrats

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    New Awllllliinnnnnss

  • http://xxlmag.com eskay

    >>I wouldn’t be surprised if that whole paragraph wasn’t dictated by YN or a higher-up at Harris.

    ^ha-ha…gtfoh. you niggas are hilarious.

  • http://www.myspace.com/theanticorp SONNY CHEEBA

    im teh ghey

  • http://www.myspace.com/mindbendersupreme alleyeCNtower

    Tara, you have always held it down, to me. Continue doing what you do best: tell the truth the way you see it. Haters are just jealous, pay them no mind :)
    much love!

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