Valentine's Day Massacre
Xpoz, which had a booth at the conference, hit me off with some ah-ight CDs, one called Arizona Street Heaters, which features loc's like No Remorse, Sol Camp, Mob Fam, and Yung Wax, amongst others. They also gave me a mix CD by DJ Gloss, which was a bit anticlimactic, featuring bangers from the usual suspects like Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Pimp C, Paul Wall, Bow Wow, Luda, and more.
The discs were appreciated, but when I was perusing the mag on my way back from the Hyatt Regency, I was kind of sickened by the magazine's shallowness and ass-kissing aesthetic.
Take the October '06 issue, which features local Chicano collective Phearless Records on the cover (home to No Remorse). It's subtitled "The Rise of an Empire" on the cover, which is complete hyperbole, no matter that I think Phearless is pretty dope. Immediately following the article (in which the writer or editors let the members of the collective do an extensive section of "shout outs," which is plain retarded — nobody fucking cares), there's a double-full-page advertisement for No Remorse.
Where I work, there's a full-on church and state separation between who advertises with us and what we write about folks. Just ask Zia Records or the Marquee Theatre. Phearless' cover isn't the only example; Young Buck appears on the February 2007 cover, but as soon as you open the mag you see an ad for the One Stop Shop, sponsored by G-Unit, which, of course, is Young Buck's label. Later there's a full page ad for the G-Unit/Money Management afterparty (which I skipped, I was G-Unit-ed out). A few pages later there's a full page ad for Young Buck's new album, Buck the World. Hmmm, I see a pattern emerging.
I won't say too much about the shoddy writing (it's a baby mag that probably can't afford quality writers), but flipping through several issues, I don't see an actual critical word about any of the artists they cover. If you're going to front like you're actually music critics, you can't just kiss everyone's asses kids. Additionally, please figure out if you're a T&A magazine like Maxim or some shit — the article about burgeoning actress/singer/rapper Vida Guerra has a pull-quote at the top that reads "I've always liked my butt and I've been teased about it since I was a little girl." That doesn't pull me in at all yo — I've got internet porn if I need some T&A action. And that's not even mentioning the featured model that's in every issue wearing as little as possible.
Finally, flipping through the rag, for half of the magazine it looks just like the trainwreck that is 944 Magazine — massive collections of photos from fashion shows and parties. Dudes, 944's got that covered, and it's a piece of shit, nothing to be imitating.
This is a music blog, not a media criticism blog, but seriously, this town could use a legitimate hip-hop/urban magazine, and right now Xpoz is failing pretty embarrassingly at filling that void. Get your shit together guys, and give us something worth reading.