It's surprising to me the non-reaction I get from my friends, other writers, and readers of this blog when I tell them I'm devoting a week of Media Chin-Check to XXL Magazine. Hip-hop media icons like BET, The Source, and Hot 97 invoke responses from people that vary between "they suck" and "I love them."
XXL gets a yawn. Why is that?
The answer - they have a weak brand. Despite being around almost a decade and being the top selling magazine, Hip-hop has no emotional connection with XXL.
We don't hate them, and we don't care for them either.
Recently in XXL Category
The latest issue of XXL profiles rappers in prison. This unique idea for a feature should not be confused with The Sourceâ€™s jail issue last year, or the Hip-hop Stars and Bars article that appeared in several newspapers months ago, or the convict interviews that Don Diva, FEDS, and FELON do in every issue. Eliottt Wilson and crew tackled it from a much different angle- THEY HAVE 50 CENT ON THE COVER!! (And oh yeah, Tony Yayo).
Also, in a twist of irony Iâ€™m sure was intentional, they devote almost a whole page to rappers in college. (Should I mention that Chris Rock joke about getting more props for being in jail than being in college? Wait, I just did.)
the head of marketing for Interscope the Editor in Chief of XXL does get his mojo back for the editorial this month (careful readers of Media Chin-Check remember that I questioned if Eliottttt was going soft last issue).
In an underdog to top dog switch, Eliottttttt doesnâ€™t bother spitting venom at The Source like I hoped, but turns on his latest rivalâ€¦hip-hop bloggers! He writes:
Seriously, when it came time to decide on our cover, instead of slapping on another picture of Shyne and running our historic interview for the third time, we hit up Tony Yayo. Thatâ€™s right, Tony Yayo from G-Unit Records. Tony Yayo whoâ€™s also signed to Jimmy Iovineâ€™s label. And whoâ€™s that by his side, 50 Cent? Curtis â€œInterscopeâ€ Jackson! Oh, you bloggers are gonna dislocate your fingers typinâ€™ so hard when you peep this issueâ€"front and back. We got the Internet goinâ€™ nuts like Paul Wall. Pray for my downfall. I feel sorry for all yâ€™all mothers. YN is here to move units, kids. Hate it or love it, my certified ABC numbers donâ€™t lie.
Too bad only 12 people understand just what the hell dude is talking about. He spits some subliminals directly at me later on that even I barely caught. I wonâ€™t guess at why the bullseye has been taken off The Source, but if the rumors are true, then it may have something to do with how Paul got Pierced.
Eliotttttttt probably doesnâ€™t realize it, but SOHH was also co-founded by a dangerous rapper, just like that rival magazine he wonâ€™t mention anymore. Iâ€™ve been to the SOHH office, and even though I didnâ€™t see guns in anyoneâ€™s face or female editors being harrassed, Iâ€™m sure they could create a script that will crash the XXLmag.com web server. So watch your mouth.
The head of XXL, Elliot Wilson (aka Yellow Nig) has the only editorial page in a music magazine worth reading. He's never been afraid to beef and brag in his column, especially when it's aimed at his rival, The Source.
So with all this Source craziness that's been poppin off in the last month, I thought, "Yellow Nig is gonna come with some XXL Ether for Benzino and crew!" But no dice. Instead, this month he yaps on about his cover story on Dame Dash and says some yada-yada about the other features. It was so boring to read, I thought Mimi Valdez ghostwrote it for him or something.
Somebody please tap Elliot and tell him- don't let marriage water down your gangsta, my dude. I don't want to see you go soft (no karamo).