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XXL’s Blogger Contest: Let Your Voice Be Heard

You’ve heard the old adage that “everyone is a critic” before, or its variation, comparing opinions to derrieres. The sentiment behind both sayings has never been truer than it is in today’s Internet-obsessed society. Just log on to any hip-hop blog or pick any 10 rap-loving Twitter heads at random and follow their profiles. Within seconds you’ll be bombarded by disses against your favorite artists, 140-character album reviews, and profanity-laden debates. Online, anyone can be a gangsta brave enough to throw shots at real G’s the likes of our cover subjects, Shyne and Young Jeezy, without ever having to confront them in person. The impersonal nature of the cyber world bleeds over into music, as well. All it takes is a webcam or a RapidShare account to broadcast “hardcore street music” recorded in the comfort of a suburban home.

XXL tries to remain objective on such matters, which is why we’re ready to take hip-hop blogging to a higher level. Here’s the drill. Flip to this issue’s brolic feature well, [on stands August 10] and you’ll come across a pair of analytical investigations into our culture’s ever-changing climate. First, on page 112, we dissect the clash of “art versus authenticity,” in light of hip-hop artists who’ve achieved consistent success despite combating allegations of fraudulent pasts. Then, on page 116, the lack of notable rap beefs in 2010 is put under XXL’s microscope.

Being the lovers of lyrical sport that we are, we long for the days when superstar MCs sparred over bars. Remember the excitement that surrounded the war of words between Jay-Z and Nas? Wouldn’t you love to hear another duel of that caliber? As for art versus authenticity, there has been a question inside our offices that’s been tough to answer, which is, Does “keepin’ it real” matter anymore?

Start formulating answers, because it’s your turn to sound off. The task is simple: Write a 500–600-word blog on either of the two topics: the current state of street artists in hip-hop, using Shyne and Jeezy as jump-off points, or the importance of on-the-record lyrical battles. Once you feel it’s ready for public consumption (don’t forget to edit!), e-mail the text, with “360 GUEST BLOGGER” as the subject line, to All submissions must be received by Wednesday, August 18. After that, we’ll select the five best blogs to run here on throughout the week of August 23–27.

Like our preference in rappers, genuine articles will earn the most respect.

Really doe.

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