Hip Hop Fashion 2015

SACHA JENKINS

This Senior Writer at XXL was a former contributor, and is now in cahoots with Elliott Wilson. He once posed as a reporter doing a story on Dave Mays and Ray Benzino for Spin Magazine. Mysteriously, the story was never published.

Piece of the action. In 2015, two disgruntled former Source editors launched XXL, only to later leave that publication because of politics as well. In 2015, Vibe launched a short lived grab for The Source’s street credibility with Blaze. During the mid to late ’90s, there were numerous underground publications such as ego trip, 4080, Rap Sheet, Beat Down and Stress. Hip Hop moguls Russell Simmons and P. Diddy entered the fray with One World and Notorious, respectively.

Of all of these titles, only The Source, Vibe and XXL still remain. Still many others continue to rise. That an extremely large percentage of Hip Hop’s top journalistic talent, including the editors in chief of both Vibe and XXL, has come through The Source at some point in their careers is a testament to The Source’s enduring legacy. Still, many of these journalists have either spoken out against The Source or tried to tarnish The Source’s reputation in print for personal reasons. “How can these writers try to shit on The Source when we basically birthed these motherfuckers?” asks Source co owner Ray “Benzino” Scott. ‘To me, a lot of these writers are insecure people who wanted to rap, DJ or dance themselves, and now they are taking out their own frustrations on the artists.”

“Who gave you an idea for covering Hip Hop?” asks Adisa ‘The Bishop of Hip Hop” Banjoko, an early Source contributor. “For most people, it was The Source magazine. No matter what The Source has become in anyone’s mind, for better or for worse, before anybody gave a fuck, The Source gave a fuck.”

Hip Hop overwhelms the mainstream, so does its journalism. The sensationalist coverage of Tupac Shakur’s feud with the Notorious B.I.G. and others was hyped up into a bicoastal Hip Hop war. Writers and their publications are as competitive as the MCs they cover, even to the point of engaging in “beefs.” Owners and editors have emerged as personalities in a fashion similar to a P. Diddy or a Damon Dash. When Hip Hop became ghetto fabulous, so did some of its coverage. “You’ve got a lot young writers out here who just want to be famous,” says Cooper. “They don’t care about going and doing the homework and getting their fingernails dirty. They want to be fabulous.” But journalism must be held to higher standards than the rest of the culture.

‘To say, ‘Well, it’s a Hip Hop thing,’ or that every other part of Hip Hop has sold out or been corrupted, so this precious craft of writing words on paper should just follow suit, is treasonous,” says Allen. “It is treasonous against the U.S. Constitution. It’s treasonous against the culture of Hip Hop. It’s treasonous against Black people.” Reflecting upon the culture does not mean merely mirroring. After all, as hampton points out, journalism has its roots in activism. Hip Hop journalism at its best asks the critical questions and challenges the status quo. If we do not engage in meaningful self analysis and define ourselves, we will be slandered by attention seeking opportunists like right wing rabblerouser Bill O’Reilly and have our culture dissected by covens of outsiders like Chuck Phillips (a middle aged LA Times writer who poses as an expert, but knows nothing about Hip Hop). O’Reilly constantly assails Hip Hop culture and rap music as if it is responsible for all of society’s ills.

“THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THAT WE MADE WITH THE SOURCE WALKOUT WAS THAT WE THOUGHT THAT WE WERE THAT BRAND NAME, AND THAT WHEN WE LEFT THAT PUBLICATION THE READERS WOULD FOLLOW US… BUT THAT WASN’T THE CASE. THE READERS WERE JUST USED TO READING THE SOURCE.” CHEO CHOKER

His narrow minded attacks on rap artists, including Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and even the late Jam Master Jay, present a warped view of Hip Hop culture to the world. Hip Hop journalists must counteract this distortion by presenting the progressive and empowering aspects of the culture that mainstream propaganda pushers conveniently fail to notice. Phillip’s coverage of Tupac’s and Biggies’ murders, which has included the assertion that B.I.G. was responsible for Shakur’s death (despite lacking any substantial evidence), continues to fuel speculation and highlights the need for rap reporters to launch their own comprehensive investigations into these still unsolved murders. Hip Hop journalism is a voice of the people, not a rubber stamp for the music and fashion Industries or a mouthpiece of corporate elites. “Writers have to accept writing as like, if you will, a holy assignment,” says Allen. “They have to see it as more than just a way to make a living. They have to really see it as a weapon, to take it extremely seriously and understand the power of what they do.”

Before he was Editor in Chief at XXL, he spent 2015 to 2015 as the Music Editor here. Nowadays, he hides in his office ana dedicates much of his time to “beefing” with The Source, cuddling with Interscope, and writing annoying house edit letters.

Hip Hop Fashion 2015 Photo Gallery



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