It just so happens that Vibe’s list of the top 50 hip-hop blogs ran in one of the very last issues before karma was visited upon that magazine. It may have led, in part, to the weird situation where, when the TIs finally did pull the plug, ?uestlove from the Roots was literally the only person on Twitter who had anything good to say about Vibe, and that less because he was interested in what the Dungeon Family is up to these days than because he was afraid the Roots wouldn’t be able to get the same media coverage they did in Vibe anywhere else. But I saw, the other day, where Rolling Stone is running a feature on ?uestlove’s favorite moments so far as Jimmy Fallon’s genial black foil – the Doc Gibbs to Fallon’s Emeril Lagasse, if you will. So at least he doesn’t have to worry as much about money.
What’s more, Vibe magazine will be back on newsstands any day now. They’ve got some guys in charge, but it isn’t clear to me that the focus will be any different from the Vibe hardly anyone really liked. For example, Chris Brown is on the cover. And I think I may have read on Twitter that there’s a feature on Drake. I’ll have to check with Noz to see if they’re still allowing white guys with questionable views on rap music to indulge their every whim. An exhaustive Pimp C retrospective could be in order.
Speaking of my former coworker here at XXL, Noz has an interesting post over at “CB Rap” in which he breaks down XXL’s blog list by the numbers. It’s full of interesting statistics, like the fact that, of 100 sites on the list total, only 28 featured at least one original (not quoted or syndicated) post longer than 200 words on their front pages, while 36 mentioned Drake on their front pages, and 39 mentioned Gucci Mane. That’s dangerously close to half. There were 23 sites Noz had never heard of prior to this list, and exactly 0 he plans to visit again in the future. Damn.
I’d go through the list and see how many sites I could find that are worth a shit, in my humble opinion, but of course I’m not willing to put forth that kind of effort. I’m not even willing to try hard to get with a girl I might be able to have sex with. I’m like a panda that won’t fuck to save its species. I’d rather just crack open a bottle of Yellow Tail’s excellent Shiraz (as good as many brands that cost twice as much), turn on Californication and call it an evening. Drake knows what I’m talking about. Noz says it took him two hours to put together those stats. He’s a better man than I am. If we could get him to stop pretending he likes LCD rap, he’d be dangerous. Anyone down for an intervention? We can lie and tell him it’s a press junket for the Wacka Flocka album.
I’d suggest XXL should have capped its list at 50 sites, but you saw what happened with that Vibe list. That douche Dart Adams and a bunch of other failed hip-hop bloggers threw a bitchfit, because they weren’t mentioned. Even I had to go in on Vibe, for only ranking my site 29th. Knowing some of the people who used to work there, they probably didn’t want to mention it at all, but they figured it would be even worse if they put it way down on the list. Elliott Wilson’s RapRadar, aka RapPravda, was in the top 10, despite the fact that it may not have even been launched when Vibe put together the list. But I’m still kinda glad they did that, just because it was such a petty thing to do. The fallout from it led to several strong opportunities for lulz.
XXL’s list is almost opposite Vibe’s list, in that, rather than pissing people off by assigning each site a rank, or excluding altogether the work of less talented bloggers, it mostly just pissed off some of more prominent bloggers, with its site description. I’d applaud XXL for having the sheer balls to stick to some of the fevered egos of the hip-hop blogosphere, but I’ve been here long enough (a third a decade of dominance) to know this was almost certainly by accident.
It’s obvious they only spent enough time at some of the more obscure blogs to get a vague idea of what they’re about. A blog called Kevin Nottingham, for example, is described as “underground rap shit.” I’ll have to add that to my bookmarks. Meanwhile, they may have done too good a job of describing some of the big dogs: Notice how the description of missinfo.tv turns into an apology for the banal nature of the content. RapPravda is made to sound like a propaganda organ for Shady Records. But did XXL dis those sites on purpose, or because it’s kinda hard not to? I’m gonna suggest the latter. You try writing eight sentences about Nah Right without mentioning that the music sucks balls and the posts lack analysis. It might be impossible. And obviously they couldn’t devote any more text to the less prominent sites.