Yes XXL, egotrip, newly relaunched Mass Appeal and it also continually astounds me when people who write about rap and R&B say they don’t read VIBE, which still does the type of music journalism most ppl wish they were doing. Granted, there is a disconnect between online and print content with both XXL and Vibe which is unfortunate, but dudes, if you don’t have five bucks, at least go to the magazine bodega and flip thru that shit. VIBE’s staff are some of the best of newer and older schools of music journalism: John Kennedy and Bonsu Thompson are two I’ve worked with recently and who are fantastic writers and editors (but you know Bonsu, right?), and Clover Hope has been one of my favorites for years. Keith Murphy is the hip-hop game’s gumshoe reporter and the biggest Prince fan you have ever encountered in your life (and apparent Alicia Keys hater. Haha Murph!). Tracy Garraud no longer is on staff at VIBE (she’s now on staff at Sway in the Morning), but she continues to freelance and wrote the absolute best piece I ever read about Lil B—approaching him as a human to be unpacked as opposed to a fucking alien to be ironically exalted. Off the dome, Google: Felipe Delerme, Jayson Rodriguez, Matthew Trammell, Hillary Crosley, Chloe Hilliard, Timmhotep Aku, Anupa Mistry, Alexis Stephens, Puja Patel, Maurice Garland, Blanca Mendez, Geeta Dayal, David Turner, Jason Parham, Nuria Net, Cord Jefferson. Some of those people are outside of JUST RAP, because there is a whole world out there. (Also people, just cause some writers don’t do 5000-word academic think pieces on rap records does not mean they are not talented. And just cause you write down yr thoughts about music and get paid for it, don’t mean you’re a critic, neither.) But otherwise, I recommend outside the mainstream white publications that most music writers tend to read. Follow some ppl outside yr Twitter circle. Make a blogfeed OR WHATEVER RSS SHIT IS COMING NEXT.
Here’s another thing I don’t understand, do newbie white rap writers know their history? I feel like they don’t, but everyone EVERYONE should be up on Danyel Smith (my former boss and mentor, whose recent piece on Barry Manilow is the best piece of music writing I have read in a decade), Greg Tate, dream hampton, Karen Good, Joan Morgan, Elizabeth Mendez Berry, kris ex, Aliya S. King. To people who think Elliott Wilson is just the Rap Radar guy, have you ever READ any of his Editor’s Letters from when he ran XXL? That shit was fucking genius, criticism and poetry in 300 words, every month another Ether. Do ppl know the history of ego trip? Sacha Jenkins remains one of the most compelling music critics out when he does it. Gabriel Alvarez just wrote the new Mass Appeal story on Earl Sweatshirt and that white comedy longhair who I have no idea who he is. The list goes on, these are just people off the top.
Actually what I really wanna say is, Fresh from Crunk&Disorderly is a funnier, more interesting and more relevant hip-hop critic on Twitter than nearly all the white mane Lil B stans put together. And she is succinct!
The thing that bums me out the most is that I don’t even have a staff editing job anymore, I spend all my time writing from my kitchen, and yet I know all this stuff. Why don’t more (white) editors do their jobs and reach out/dig in/research?