Entries Tagged 'Magazines' ↓

How To Get On The Cover of a Hip-Hop Magazine.

GrindXDesign is an 8-week series of meetings-by-phone. The calls feature industry pros, talking on subjects that are firmly in the field of their expertise.

So, for example, we could have gotten Vanessa L. Satten, right, editor-in-chief of XXL, and Kim Osorio, below, editor-in-chief of The Source, to talk about touring, and what makes a good live show. They’re certainly knowledgeable, and would have had strong opinions.

Instead, we got Chuck D and Questlove to do that, because, in addition to firm ideas about stagecraft, they also have experience with it, and a legacy of showmanship.

In like manner, for our tutorial on how to get your music covered by magazines, we didn’t seek D.J. Premier, who has. We sought Vanessa and Kim, who do. We did this, because we wanted to make sure that the information you get, as a GrindXDesign registrant, is right and exact. (I’ve written about hip-hop professionally for 25 years, and felt comfortable giving advice in the video clip, above. But I wanted a discussion on how decisions are made given by those who make them.)

D.J. Premier, and Jay-Z engineer Young Guru, right, will both be live, tonight, at 8 pm ET, for GrindXDesign’s first tutorial. I’ll be interviewing them about production and songwriting. Then, I’ll turn our callers aloose to ask these wizards questions on those subjects…and, really, anything else that the students want to ask them.

Note: This is also the first time that Premier and Young Guru have ever appeared together to speak. So, there is a more-than-average amount of historical shine on the event, too.

We’re doing GrindXDesign to help people learn more about the art and business of hip-hop; to show the kind of projects we believe hip-hop needs in order to change; and as the foundation for future projects that, by repeating the formula, do the same…and more. Please kindly support these efforts.

Registration for GrindXDesign is $97. Go to GrindXDesign.com for more information and to get on board.

When DAM Breaks, the Sound of Palestinian Freedom Gets Unleashed.

Palestinian hip-hop trio DAM, above, wield the power of hip-hop as a force against the Israeli occupation of their homeland—the world’s longest—and their minds as well.

Formed in 1998 by brothers Suhell and Tamer Nafar, center and right (friend Mahmoud Jreri, left, was added later), they initially sought to make party records that would earn them cool points with peers and the ladies. Then it was still “just for fun,” says Tamer. They completed a six-track EP titled Stop Selling Drugs, the first time any Palestinian had ever recorded rap music.

What politicized them, however, was the Second Intifada of 2000…and the music of 2Pac. As Tamer poignantly told me, for my March 2008 piece in VIBE, “Straight Outta Palestine,”

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No Wonder Rielle Hunter Felt Sick When She Saw Her GQ Pictures.

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Is it me, or does former Presidential candidate John Edwards’ paramour, Rielle Hunter, above, give off a certain, I dunno, trashy, ‘coon-eatin’ vibe in her decidedly un-erotic pictures for Gentleman’s Quarterly?

According to Barbara Walters, on today’s The View, Hunter called the doyenne aghast and in tears over her own photos. (This despite footage released by the artist, Mark Seliger, showing Hunter enjoying the shoot and the images.)

Yet, says HuffPo humorist Andy Borowitz, that’s not the worst of it, and far more extreme responses to Hunter’s pics have been widely noted:

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – In a move that many in the magazine world called unprecedented, GQ today recalled the entire print run of its new issue after a photo spread featuring John Edwards mistress Rielle Hunter was found to cause nausea and in some cases projectile vomiting.

rielle3“We at GQ want our readers to know that we are doing everything in our power to avert a public health catastrophe,” said magazine spokesperson Carol Foyler. “And if that means tracking down every last copy of those Rielle Hunter pictures [right] and destroying them, that’s what we’re going to do.”

As emergency rooms across the country overflowed with people who had unwittingly opened the latest GQ and seen the Hunter photos, fresh concerns were raised over the existence of a John Edwards-Rielle Hunter sex tape.

Rand Deckle, press spokesman for the National Institutes of Health, issued this statement on the matter: “Given the health crisis that the Rielle Hunter photos have created, it is imperative that every copy of that sex tape be secured and buried in the center of the Earth.”

I’m tellin’ you that they…wait…no…Bobby!! Put DOWN that DVD!! DO NOT PRESS “PLAY”!!!!!

Barf.

Vanity Fair: White Power Pictures.

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The world gets smaller and smaller, and Vanity Fair‘s gets even tinier, still: Their new, March 2010 Hollywood cover, above, shot by Annie Leibovitz, features a bevy of SPF50-dependent, semi-translucent beauties.

They are, l-r, Abbie Cornish, Kristen Stewart, Carey Mulligan, Amanda Seyfried, Rebecca Hall, Mia Wasikowska, Emma Stone, Evan Rachel Wood, and Anna Kendrick.

While this isn’t unexpected—I’ve written, here, on Media Assassin, before, about VF‘s glaringly white Tinseltown special issues—it is, again, a tad doddering, and way out-of-touch.

cover-girls-bts-1003-we06It’s almost, like, given the kind of talent available and doing amazing work today, if you do a magazine cover of nine young women in film, right, and they’re all white, it’s just because you want it white. You’re making, intentionally or not, a racial power statement.

I wonder: While discussing Haiti over lunch, did any of these actors say, “Wow: This sure is one Caucazoid photo shoot”? Better yet, did anyone refuse to be part of something which so genteely hangs out the NO COLOREDS sign?

I don’t know if these women have thought about this, but, just like global warming, every bit of race adds up, and if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. At least, consider that the next time you’re cast in a project—like this one—that sends relations back sixty years.

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“Lemme See,” Said Tiger Woods. “Think I’ll Hit The Links. Then I’m Gonna Knock Over This Gas Station.”

0210 VF NOUPC

Count on cash-strapped photog Annie Leibovitz to dig up the Tiger-Woods-As-Black-Man-You’d-Lock-Your-Car-Doors-For shot, now the cover of the new Vanity Fair.

Is the hatred his wage for casually tapping a baker’s dozen of white women? Can’t imagine that VF, or the rest of American media, would’ve cared if he’d been married to a sister, and/or had cheated with a cluster of ‘em. In any event, it certainly wouldn’t have ranked this Oz reject photo.

Yo, Tiger: If you didn’t know it yet, the Cablinasian Era is officially over.

When Google Said That They Wanted All the World’s Knowledge Online, This Wasn’t What I Had In Mind.

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With their Google Books service, the world’s dominant search engine is making the contents of everything from Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival to Texas Monthly to VIBE available through anyone’s computer.

But this is the motherlode, friends: Weekly World News, the self-proclaimed “world’s only reliable news source since 1979.” (Google’s archives go back to 1980.)

Can you believe it? That’s the January 2, 1990 cover, above, courtesy of Media Assassin, complete with nutty Xmas messages and puerile racism. “Baboon boy”? It get’s no worse, people. It gets no better.

“YO! WHO THE HELL PUT THIS BIG, NASTY, DIRTY BIRD IN MY FOOD?”

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Don’t let ‘em lie to you: I know with all the cooking shows, people try and act like, in the past, American food, though artery-clogging, was hearty and simple. Meanwhile, many argue, today’s chefs have gone bonkers, working to outdo each other with odder and even odder ingredients, methods of preparation, plating, and the like.

Well, if you really think so, try and hold down your lunch just imagining what anybody you love would do if you sat this, below, in front of them: A whole pheasant, tail feathers, head, eyeballs, beak, and all, surrounded by greens, and, incidentally, plunked down next to a roasted version of itself.

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Baaroomph. Around 8pm, one day over sixty years ago, somebody probably ran out onto a busy city street and upchucked all the previous week’s electrolytes. I know that because the above is a print ad for Niblets Whole Kernel Corn, from pg. 10 of the Nov 11, 1946 issue of LIFE magazine. (“Gay Color – Good Eating,” blares the headline. Wow.)

That retina-scalding, ornithological centerpiece, above, says the copy, was

prepared by Louis Diat, Chef, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, New York City—a spectacular way to serve pheasant…the casserole of meat flanked by the brilliant plumage of the bird itself. And what goes better with pheasant than the gold of Niblets Brand whole kernel corn, the tender flavor of its sweet young kernels?

nibletsA little context, admittedly, might be helpful here. This is, literally, the postwar period; WWII had ended a bit over a year before. Julia Child wouldn’t start teaching French cooking for another half decade. American women probably wanted to do something exciting in the kitchen, after years of shortages and rationing.

Minnesota Valley Canning Company probably seized the opportunity to market arguably the second-most generic vegetable known to humanity, after rice, by linking it to exotic dishes and fantasy. They knew full well their target audience would never go to the Ritz-Carlton, but would be entranced by its world-renowned reputation for luxury and excitement. They certainly knew that the chef there woulddn’t have touched Niblets, above, to make a meal for his discerning clientele. Notice they never claim he does in the text, but just strongly associate it with his food?

Fortunately, Minnesota Valley Canning smartened up and realized that they needed to talk to regular people, and heightened both the visibility and branding opportunities in the green giant on their label, even ultimately sprouting a little giant called, of all things, Niblet. (Green Giant was a ho, ho, ho.)

But, thankfully for all of us, they stopped trying to sell housewives the myth that their hard-working, meat-and-potatoes husbands would stomach the sight of an undressed bird, still smoking with buckshot, on their dinner plates. After all, supper’s the time for family talk, not taxidermy.

Just Blaze: Is the @TheMegatronDon Actually Not a “Super Producer,” or Did XXL Magazine Just Super FAIL?

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Early this evening, I tweeted famed hip-hop producer Just Blaze, above, with a simple question:

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For the record, here’s the list, from the magazine, about which I was speaking:

10. Scott Storch
9. Wyclef Jean
8. The RZA
7. Swizz Beatz
6. Jermaine Dupri
5. The Neptunes
4.Timbaland
3. Kanye West
2. Sean “Puffy” Combs
1. Dr. Dre

Now, though I know or have met almost all 10 of these, the talented names on XXL magazine’s list of knob-twiddlers, I don’t know Just Blaze. I do know of his reputation. However, I haven’t met him, and didn’t even really expect him to reply.

So, I was a bit suprised when, fewer than ten minutes later, I got this tweet:

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My Final Visit as VIBE Flatlines.

jay-z-vibeStick a knife in it, they’re done:
Jay-Z unknowingly celebrates VIBE’s last Juice issue, September 2008

When I went upstairs yesterday, to the 21st fl. of 120 Wall St., and the offices of VIBE Media Group, I first noticed the seated retirees at the door. I suspected, and it was later confirmed, that they were security, sent by the company’s owners to maintain the premises as the magazine’s personnel began packing up their professional lives.

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I’m Gonna Venture a Guess That Obama Didn’t Stop Smoking Yet.

Barack MAD First 100 Days

What’s way cooler? Is it this February 2009 cover for MAD magazine, above, titled, “Obama: The First 100 Minutes,” revealing a hyperperplexed new president in a classic “What? ME WORRY!!!!” pose, sucking down nicotine sticks by the bushel, gurgling Pepto-Bismol, and grabbing his cranium for even a moment’s sweet relief?

Barack Obama Vanity Fair cover

Or is it this dry March 2009 Vanity Fair cover, right, pushing forward a dignified, confident, fossilized, stuffy Obama, complete with bland taupe background, shot in a style that seems as dated as Obama’s presidency is fresh?

As even the fastest walk-run past a newsstand reveals, everybody’s sticking Obama on their covers, even if they have absolutely no reason to do so. I can hardly wait to see Expert Bowler Today, Black Mother Magazine, and Stutterers Digest get in on the action.

Vanity Fair July 2007 coverAnd speaking of getting in on the action, how mega-lame is it for Vanity Fair to front a front by using the exact, same, leftover shot they ran back during the American Express RED Africa, 20-person multiple cover back in July 2007? And how come The Huffington Post, raving over the cover, didn’t notice this? Tih-zired.

Mad: 2. Vanity Fair: You get nuh-ting!.