have you been lately?
cool. I've just been working on music as always and get the Source shit
going, we got the awards coming up. I've just been working on keeping
the magazine relevant and working on new music with the Untouchables.
And I have a new album coming out soon.
up with your new album?
finally got the "Arch Nemesis" out of my system. That sold 40,000
independently, so that did pretty good for us. It's a situation where
I think it was a closing chapter for the whole situation with Interscope
and Eminem. I closed that chapter. I'm happy with how that album came
out. This new album, I'm going about it differently. It's more grown and
sexy, and it's more musical. The "Arch Nemesis" took me about
two and a half years, and this one only took me a good four, five months.
you happy with how "Arch Nemesis" did?
course you want to move more units, but at the end of the day, I'm happy
because I put out a great album. Everybody that heard it, even with the
hate I got, still gave it 4, 4 ½. That right there made me feel
good. I do music for the love. Money's a great thing, but I do it for
the love. I don't think I'll ever outgrow or out-age. I'll always do Hip
Hop music as long as I can get up in the studio with my guys, Hangman3.
I'm a producer, I write my own songs, that's just a labor of love. The
funny thing is, every project I put out keeps getting better and better
because I really put a lot of my time into it. I love making music.
kind of impact did Almighty RSO have on Boston?
I think in the Hip Hop world, we had a huge impact. Boston, being the
type of city that it is with Hip Hop, there's not too many shows there
now. Back then, it was more pure, more new, so you had a lot more opportunities
to showcase your skills there. I think now, they've pretty much shut Hip
Hop out there. You're not going to see a lot of Hip Hop shows unless you
go to the Fleet Center. RSO had a huge impact on the culture up there,
because Boston had really held onto some very high standards. The politicians
hold it to a much higher standards than everywhere else. And Boston still
has it's racial boundaries that it has to get over to allow Hip Hop to
really breathe well.
back, how do you feel about the Wiseguys project?
right there is pretty special with us, because that year was the lowest
year of homicide rates. We had brought rappers together from different
projects. That was a special.
do you budget your time between The Source and recording?
think it's all relevant, and I think it's all within Hip Hop, so it's
kind of all the same situation. The magazine, that's the bread and butter,
so my communication with Dave and the people up there has to always be
on point. The music thing is my love. When I'm not doing music shit, I'm
doing magazine shit, and when I'm not doing magazine shit, I'm doing music
just quit, and all we've heard about it is that it's over the Little Brother
album and how many mics "The Minstrel Show" would get. Is that
actually, it's kind of a shame because it seems that everyone
who gets in that position, it's almost like it's a curse at that position
because they start out working with the powers that be, and all of a sudden
they start taking turns. Fahiym had mentioned that he wanted to give Little
Brother 4 ½, and I said that was all right. But at the same time,
I think that Fahiym and his music editor didn't give Young Jeezy justice,
and that's what you're not hearing. They gave Young Jeezy a "Mic
Check." I don't think he really understood the whole movement of
Young Jeezy, and that's the whole paradox of the job. To be honest, I
haven't even heard Little Brother. But as far as Fahiym wanting to give
him 4 ½, I have no problem with that. And they're still getting
4 ½. It's just that when you're paying attention to Little Brother,
you also have to pay attention to what Young Jeezy is bringing to the
table with his movement, and to me, that's where the conflict started.
It really wasn't so much of Little Brother getting 4 ½, because
when the next issue comes out, they're still getting 4 ½. We never
changed it. It was just an issue where we felt that he probably didn't
look at the Young Jeezy situation as thorough as he should have, and I
just think there was a conflict up there where he didn't feel comfortable
with the decisions being made up there. And that's in every business,
but I think it's magnified more because it's The Source. Either the boss
isn't happy, or somebody that works there isn't happy, and you have to
go on with your life. I wish Fahiym a lot of luck. I know when he was
there, he definitely contributed a lot to the magazine and to The Source
being the number one newsstand magazine out there.
does one need to be head editor at the Source?
have to be able to understand the magazine business. When you're an editor,
you have to understand the full ramifications of advertising. You have
to know what advertising's about, and the impact that somebody has on
Hip Hop. It's about running a magazine. It's not just about integrity.
You can't be shitting on nobody that you want for advertising.
important is it for you to stay in tune with what's going on everywhere
always been the one that's moved and stayed in different places, and been
a part of different cultures. I used to live on the West Coast, I lived
in Texas for a little while, and I'm in Miami a lot. I get to travel and
I get to understand a lot more about the people and the music. It makes
me more universal. And I am Hip Hop I love it.
do you and Dave Mays work together?
and Dave are great, because he's more organized and I'm more hands-on.
Our relationship throughout the years have solidified The Source magazine
and it's greatness. We have our good days and we have our bad days, just
like in any partnership. For the most part, there's love there, there's
loyalty there, and when you add those up, nothing can get in the way.
do you guys decide who to feature?
Hop is in a funny way right now, where you can sell a lot of records,
but then be on the cover of a magazine and sell no magazines. That's happened
to us a couple of times, but I don't want to bring up any artists' names.
I think right now, you just have to find the biggest image and what the
people want to read about. This Lil' Kim interview is going to be a big
issue for us because she's giving us an exclusive. After Lil' Kim, we're
putting out Bobby Brown and Mike Jones. Right now, it's about finding
the biggest images out there that reflect the Hip Hop culture.
determines if an artist gets a "Mic Check" or a feature?
always hard. "Mic Check" is for artists that are signed to a
major situation, or have a major situation, and it's a good look for them.
It's hard to juggle that around. Sometimes an artist may get a "Mic
Check" when they should have gotten a feature, and some people have
gotten a feature when they might have deserved a "Mic Check."
We try to appease everybody and do the best we can.
advertising ever come into the picture with who gets a feature?
would be silly for me to say it doesn't. Of course it does. You have to
understand who's advertising with your magazine. A lot of times it doesn't,
but sometimes, to be honest with you, it might. I'm not saying because
of advertising that's why they're in there, because we have to really
be careful of the integrity of the magazine. Because Hip Hop is so glossy
and corporate right now, it's just really hard to keep the grass-roots
of it in the manner that you want o. And with corporations and glossiness
come the term "crossover" and "sell-out." We're trying
to do the best we can to reflect the Hip Hop of our culture now.
fans forget that the magazine industry is a business?
think fans right now are confused by what they're hearing on the radio.
Right now, you're just getting a lot of fast food, you're not getting
a lot of home-cooking. These radio stations are dictating the types of
songs they play and they're stunting Hip Hop's growth. It's holding it
back. I want to see the day when it's really back to the streets and the
people decide what's hot or not instead of the radio force-feeding you.
made you guys switch from one "Unsigned Hype" artist a month
just too many. Right now, with the guys out of L.A., there's a whole sound
out there. There's a whole sound in the Midwest, and a whole sound in
the South. We wanted to regionalize it to give everybody a chance to get
their shine. Right now, it seems like everybody's rapping, and there's
a lot of great talent out there, but there's also a lot of average or
below-average talent out there. We want to make sure that everybody gets
their chance in the streets and give Hip Hop a shot in the arm.
can an MC do to make their demo stand out to you?
like originality. When I listen to these "Unsigned Hypes," it's
something that doesn't sound like nobody else. I think we have a whole
culture of kids sounding the same. I like somebody to try something different.
Their vocal tone has a lot to do with it also, the tone of their voice
and how they sound.
new artists are your feeling?
I like the whole Dip Set movement and what they're bringing to the table.
Of course I like the Untouchables and what they're bringing to the table.
I like when Buckshot and them came back, seeing them doing their thing.
Although they're not new. Really, I just like music and it doesn't have
to be a new artist. If you put out a joint I like, then I'm with you.
It's hard because everyone has mixtapes out. The whole market is saturated.
It's hard listening to artists with an open view. I hear artists and mixtapes
all the time. There's an artist in Miami named Snoop Monster I like. I've
been listening to my man Ace from New Jersey
important is it for The Source to keep breaking new talent?
think it's real important because you're showcasing the streets, and that's
what has to happen right now. With Hip Hop going so corporate and glossy,
we're getting lost where that real creative force is coming from, and
that's the streets. Hip Hop comes from the streets. In my mind, Hip Hop
has to come back to its roots.
you see yourself in competition with other magazines?
been out there the longest, so we put the blueprint out there and everybody
else borrowed from us. There's always room for something else. I believe
that that's just going to keep us on our toes. I always thought that The
Source paid more attention to the culture than the other magazines. The
Source is a real documented history of Hip Hop, so it makes us more of
an important publication than the other ones. On the most part, especially
XXL, I think they just copied us. They're not independently owned. The
guys over there that are trying to run their magazine, anything that we
do, they just follow suit. We established our brand as a global brand,
and as a huge brand in Hip Hop, and at this point, we just want to make
you think that it's a problem that XXL and Interscope are so close?
think that's a huge problem. I think other artists don't' realize how
much of a problem that is. When a record label takes control of a publication,
all they're going to care about is their own artists, and everybody else
is secondary. No matter who else is advertising, they have to take a backseat
to Interscope artist's each month. I think out of the last 12 covers,
nine were Interscope's artists. I think it's bad for artists, the people,
and Hip Hop. I think the artists need to understand that it's a monopoly.
It was a systematic takeover of Hip Hop. We believe that Eminem and Interscope's
tactics were nothing different than what Microsoft did. You can't monopolize
something. You have to let the little guy eat. The way Interscope is making
it with retail and radio, they've made it to where only their people can
do you see XXL going in the future?
think there's always going to be room for two magazines, but I think the
chickens are going to come back to roost on them once Interscope starts
taking away that gift. They're not as hot as they used to be, they're
not selling what they used to. Eminem and 50 Cent didn't sell the way
they thought they would. Once that situation starts dying down, I think
you'll start seeing the magazine start paying attention to other artists,
but it might be too late.
labels tried to get in bed with the Source
always kept healthy relationships, and at the same time you have to keep
relationships with everybody. It's hard. You can't show favoritism to
one label. Hip Hop is made up of a bunch of labels, a bunch of artists,
and a bunch of different personalities. It's hard to just try to focus
on one, and I think that's what XXL is doing right now, and I think it's
a big mistake that's going to come back to haunt them.
has advertising changed throughout the years?
in the days, there were a lot of independently owned record and clothing
companies that have been wiped out. Now, everybody advertises with Hip
Hop right now because they understand that's the buyer's market, that
demographic of 18-25 and 18-35. It's just about staying true to it, staying
to the core, and understanding that it came from nothing. Hip Hop wasn't
made from the affluent people that had everything. It was made from people
that were struggling and had nothing, and that's what made it special.
always been rumors that The Source isn't doing well financially and it's
going to get sold, or go under. Can you clarify everything on that?
now, just like in any business, Hip Hop is in a strange way right now.
A lot of people aren't doing as well as they did back then. By us taking
that stand (Eminem situation), we lost all the Interscope advertising.
Russell Simmons followed suit and pulled his Phat Farm advertising. We've
taken some hits, but there are a lot of other advertisers out there, and
The Source is still the number one biggest brand in Hip Hop, ever since
1988, and we're in good shape right now.
you ever see yourself leaving The Source?
I want to do a magazine that pays more attention to the streets and independents.
Hip Hop has gone so corporate and glossy, I think we need something that's
going to have that connection on a national level to the streets. The
advertising would be cheaper, and I would want to do it regionally on
a national level. The same magazine with a different cover and everybody
in that region. We need to get it back to the streets. Maybe after we
do that, we can combine it into one magazine. And big-ups to all those
other magazines out there who really do that real grassroots, street-type
of thing, F.E.D.S., Don Diva
were going to leave The Source at one point, what was going through your
mind at that time?
was a lot of pressure. I started second-guessing myself about if I was
what was best for the magazine. My staff wanted me to stay, and it was
good for me to hear that. It was a situation where if me leaving the magazine
would make the magazine better, then I was all for it. But close people
around me didn't feel that way, so I took the advice they had to offer
and stayed on, and I'm glad I made that decision because The Source is
my life and Hip Hop is my life.
a lot of Hip Hop mags either out or in the process of coming out, are
you proud of that?
am proud. Anytime you have people putting out publications, it's a very
strong form of art, and you have to understand that it comes with a lot
of pressure and a lot of responsibility. I'm happy to see people out there
taking things into their own hands. I like that.
much room is left right now for The Source to improve?
always room for improvement. We always have to find new things and new
ways to make the magazine better. I think just staying with the general
premise of caring about Hip Hop music, culture, and politics, we'll be
fine. A lot of people don't understand that we're not just about music.
We're also about the culture and politics. We care about the people that
actually live in Hip Hop.
important is it for The Source to cover social issues?
what Hip Hop is about. It's about diverse cultures coming together and
making something out of nothing, and I think we're a reflection of that,
from one piece of paper to what it is now.
much weight does The Source have on an artist's career?
believe it's done wonders for a lot of rapper's careers. But we live in
a different time now, where the media is different and advertising is
the number one thing, so with your business, you have to adjust with those
the next Source Awards going to be?
going to be big. We're working on it now, it's going to be in Miami Arena.
We'll have a few surprises of course. And at the end of the day, The Source
Awards are the only awards show that really does represent the streets.
It's all good to put on tuxedos and ties and button-up shirts, but at
the end of the day, Hip Hop was anti-that. You could come out with a t-shirt
on and be accepted. For some reason, it's taken a turn and we have to
wear these sweaters and button-up shirts. I don't understand that part.
We've just got to keep it for the streets, and I think The Source Awards
do you think of the Vibe Awards?
think that Vibe is a confused magazine that wants to reap the benefits
of Hip Hop advertising but doesn't want to fully accept the culture from
the streets. They don't want to accept the local street guy. You have
to put up a pink button-up shirt and a long trenchcoat to be accepted
by Vibe. But at the same time, if you make it big from your own movement,
Vibe wants to be right there covering you, and they want your money for
advertising. I don't think fully accept the culture for what it is.
you speak on what is happening with Kim Osorio and the lawsuit she filed
still going through that. I can't talk to much, but I am 100% sure that
we will be vindicated in the end and the lawsuit will be dropped.
guessing you can't say much on the recent shooting that just happened
can't discuss that too much either because that case is still going on.
All I can say is that when that is said and done, anybody, as far as The
Source's involvement will be vindicated also, 100%.
at yourself as an artist and how you also work directly with other artists,
is there a fine line that can be crossed when you decide how much coverage
to give your projects in your own magazine?
a gift and a curse. If Interscope has nine of their 12 artists on the
cover, me having an ad or two in the magazine doesn't compare nothing
Source once gave your album 4 Mics, what do you think of that today?
were going through some situations back then with the staff. If there
was one mistake that I've made, and that I will admit, it's that rating
right there. After that, we decided that I can no longer get ratings in
The Source. If you look at my album, it doesn't get rated, but they'll
write about it. The Source magazine to my music career has been a gift
and a curse.
you ever see yourself on a future Source cover?
don't know. If it's the situation where 'Zino deserves the cover, then
'Zino will be on the cover. If it's a situation where I don't deserve
the cover, then I won't be on the cover.
you still have beef with Eminem today?
think that chapters been closed. I think it's a done deal. I think people
will understand as time goes on what we were really talking about and
how we brought up this whole thing with Interscope and Em. I think that's
over. I think we have to move on. Life is about moments, and I think that
moment is over with for now. I think that there will always be an eyebrow
raised when it comes to Eminem no matter what, because of what we've done.
When you look at your site, and all the different sites that are out there,
it has spawned a lot of conversation and debate. And when you've got people
talking about the betterment of a culture through race, or sociology,
that's just a good thing, because you have to keep the kids talking. When
they stop talking, that's when you have to become worried. As long as
somebody's using their mind to pinpoint something that might not be right,
that's a good thing.
keeps you motivated?
And I would have to say people not giving me the credit that I think I
deserve as far as being an artist and being creative and what I've brought
to the game. All of that keeps me motivated.
a normal day like for you?
day is ever normal. I'm in the studio, I'm doing Source stuff, I'm taking
care of the awards, I've got a family, I'm a father, I've got a bunch
of guys that look up to me, so I'm kind of like a guidance counselor in
a sense, like a big brother. There's a lot of hats that I have. As long
as I can go in my closet and pick one out every day, I'll be all right.
do you want The Source to go in the future?
just want it to still be The Source. If my grandkids want to read about
the history of Hip Hop, and what it was like back then, then they'll be
able to go back to The Source. I think that will be a great thing. It's
not about the life you live, it's about the legacy you leave. I believe
The Source Magazine has left a strong mark on this culture of Hip Hop,
and I think Hip Hop is the number one driving influence in the whole world
today. It's a worldwide movement.
do you see Hip Hop going?
don't know. I don't ever try to think to far ahead and try to predict.
I try to stay with the times and just try to adapt to whatever happens,
and just try to understand it.
do you want to say to everyone out there?
you judge a man, definitely try to understand him, as far as the whole
scope of a person. Never judge anybody from what you read or what somebody
reports on him. You've got to give him an open mind. And understand that
Hip Hop is more than music, it's the way we run our lives. It's the way
people raise their kids. Everything about Hip Hop is beautiful, and we
need to take the positives from it and apply that to everyday life and
stay away from all the negativity.