Is anyone here a fan of those newspaper articles that read as if a corporation contacted a reporter and asked what it would cost to have a press release run more or less verbatim?
Good, I just so happen to have one. It’s this story in the USA Today the other day, an AP article about how the Source magazine is planning to relaunch with a special 20th anniversary issue and a brand new focus.
Don’t say I never gave you anything:
Of course, working for XXL, the Source’s main competitor, my natural tendency is to want to throw salt. Even though XXL pays me less (and less often) than it pays its janitors, it’s still more than I ever got from the Source. So fuck em!
Like Elliott “Bad Habit” Wilson, I’m a company man until the bitter end.
That being said, I’m not gonna lie, I’m kinda interested to see how this is gonna turn out.
In particular, what caught my eye is the part where one of the Source’s new owners, entertainment lawyer L. Londell McMillan (he goes by his middle name because he represents a lot of black people), was talking about how he plans to expand the scope of the magazine’s content, and how it’s not gonna be 80% music, the way it used to be. This 20th anniversary issue, for example, includes some sort of discussion between Chuck D, Cornel West, and Michael Eric “Cornholio” Dyson. (Hey, it’s a start!)
One of the things you learn having spent a couple of years working in hip-hop journalism, albeit at the lowest, most soul-crushing of levels, is that it’s no coincidence that these rap magazines have become… shall we say, nothing a grown person would want to read. To put it democratically.
The story on the Source relaunch in the USA Today, befitting its status as a buncha bullshit, tries to make the Source’s past problems out as having to do with a couple of bogeyman figures, in former Source co-owners Dave Mays and Ray Benzino, when the truth of the matter is that I’m not even sure what they did that was all that bad.
I’m not saying they weren’t involved in their fair share of fuckery. I’m just saying. The real reason the Source ran into the problems it ran into is because the TIs at Interscope (not to talk down on my benefactors…) pulled their advertising from the magazine, because it had the sheer balls to be critical of Eminem.
Which, I think, points to what the fundamental problem has been with these hip-hop magazines, never mind who Benzino threatened to beat up or sexually harassed or whatever, i.e. the fact that they’re supposed to be reporting objectively on these rappers while they’re also relying on money from these rappers’ labels to keep them in business.
It’s the reason why you keep seeing the Smoking Gun coming up with these scoops on these rappers, when you know these magazines could have, if they were so interested.
Perhaps this new version of the Source avoid suffering such indignities as, say, having sent several writers down to Florida to profile Rick Ross without having had any of them notice that he’s not this multimillionaire drug trafficker, but rather just some chubby, donut-eating ex cop who spent half a decade in his mother’s basement watching Scarface by not reporting on Rick Ross altogether.
(In retrospect, the dead giveaway might have been the fact that his mother and his sister still live in the same house where he lived back when he was with the force.)
Only thing is, I’m at a loss for how the Source expects Rick Ross’ label to spend any money on ads, if they’re not running the same fluffy, bullshit stories these magazines always run on him. Or is Londell gonna come up with some sort of new business model? He is, after all, an important lawyer.
Nah, I wouldn’t be surprised if this just turned out like when they got a buncha people that went to Harvard to run BET, and the programming somehow managed to get even shiitier. Or am I being too much of a pessimist? What do you fruits think?