Part of the reason hip-hop is in such a sad state of affairs is because hoodrats have all of the money, and obviously they don’t give a shit about rap music.
I realized this was the case a while back, when Elliott Wilson was let go from XXL and replaced by that one guy who was only around for a few weeks, as if he was part of the blogging department. The period leading up until that point had seen XXL make a lot of bizarre moves, clearly out of desperation: letting writers with an established following on the Internets blog for the website; putting Lil Wayne on the cover every other month, etc. Obviously, XXL wasn’t doing as well as it did back in its early to mid aughts heyday. But at least it didn’t lose its contract with Luster’s Pink Oil Moisturizer and end up having to go out of business, like Vibe, or become the vanity operation of some guy who clearly couldn’t put together a decent magazine if he wanted to, despite his intellect, not to mention his presumably abundant resources.
XXL started running a lot of stories on suspect-looking R&B artists. I read in an interview once that that’s why eskay left, though I’m not sure if I should believe it. I know he was integral in parroting the idea that the reason the late, great Sickamore left Atlantic Records.was because he could make more money working for himself. This may have even been around the same time. Later, someone told me what was supposedly the real reason, but I’m not gonna say what it was, both because that post I did on Kevin Nottingham taught me that the hip-hop community has no concept of ethics, and because shoddy fact-checking has already cost me my mostly imagined relationship with Necole Bitchie, this week. Which sucks, because that was probably the best relationship with a woman I ever had. If I’m ever gonna ride in an expensive car, that doesn’t belong to my parents, I’m gonna have to work on becoming a better journalist.
The thing is, a brother such as myself is not gonna spend a whole lot of money on material bullshit, both because I don’t have any money to spend, and because I know better than to spend a shedload of money on something that’s not really worth a shit, aside from the value projected onto it by people who lack the sense god gave geese. And I’m assuming that’s why XXL is trying to expand into that coveted hoodrat demographic, both with these articles on Trey Songz and The-Dream, and with the knockoff version of Hip Hop Weekly they’re putting out this summer. Even if a lot of XXL’s male readership would buy something just because it was advertised in a magazine, they probably don’t have any money anyway. Black women, meanwhile, stay balling, despite themselves. I read on formspring – a veritable fount of fascinating information about conceited hip-hop journalists (or so I’ve been told) – that the biggest single check Necole Bitchie ever received from blogging was in the five figure range. And because my annual salary is in the very low five figures, it could very well be the case that Necole Bitchie made more money in that one check than I made all year long. Damn.
Normally, such a revelation might lead me to reflect on some of the things I’ve had to do over the years just to put food on my family (no homo), and to lament the fact that it seems like the more effort I put into my work, the worse my situation gets, while relative no-talents are out here reaping such handsome rewards, but I’m starting to come to the realization that thinking like that is not gonna get me anywhere in life. I shouldn’t just treat a woman like Necole Bitchie any old way. And I should be supportive of my employer, in its efforts to find an audience that’s (even) more susceptible to advertising. Who knows. It might get me that living wage I’ve been dreaming about all these years. At the very least, it might keep XXL from going out of business.