“I’ve Got Plans, Nigga…Big Plans…” Part II: The Solution

First off, I’ve got to give it up to Vince Young and Texas for winning the Rose Bowl. I was always rootin for y’all, but I didn’t think y’all could beat USC. But, Vince Young is the truth, and the 30-something-game winning streak was broken tonight. Congrats fellas, y’all deserve it.

Anyway, back to business…

In my last post, I highlighted what I perceived as the problems in hip-hop journalism. Recently, I heard the quote, “You can either be a problem to the solution, or a solution to the problem” – I’m choosing the latter. In this post, I’m describing the steps I’m taking to eliminate these problems and reach my aforementioned goal of raising hip-hop journalism’s standards. The steps are as follows (some of them chronological, not all of them):

1.) Get my own writing to the level of the aforementioned magazines – and this is going to be a never-ending process. Writing is one of those things that you always get better at, so the more that I write, and the harder I work, the more innovative I’ll get. I need to make the transition from efficiency to revolution, from artsy to trailblazing, from steadfast to avant-garde.
2.) Build a reputation for myself. That means that along with getting my actual writing abilities above par, getting my name and my pieces in the right places, whether they be inside of the actual premier publications or the rolodexes of movers and shakers in the field.
3.) As my reputation gets bigger, start to get provacative writing in wherever I can. Granted, many magazines may not take that, because they would want me to go along with their format, but I’ll get in the big writing in wherever I can – get my hustle by doing it at certain places, show my ass in others.
4.) By implementing Step 3, raise the journalistic standards of the hip-hop community. Hopefully, after seeing my writing, along with the outstanding talents of others in the hip-hop community, they’ll begin to think the same way that I do, and they’ll have higher ideals for hip-hop journalism. Maybe this also includes contributing in the quest to raise the literacy and retention rates amongst minorities and inside of the hip-hop community? Tell me what you think.
5.) Start my own publication. My favorite magazine, THE AVE, is doing an outstanding job (congrats on your two-year anniversary!), and they basically enacted an idea that I’ve always had hopes for, but was never able to fully develop – mentally or physically. My magazine will offer the hip-hop twist of XXL, the awareness of Newsweek, the sophistication of GQ, and the minority relevance and trust of JET.
*6.) God willing, I’ll gain success with Step 5. As my own publication gains readership, other hip-hop magazines, from my established elders to my fellow upstarts, will follow suit in raising their quality – their reasoning a combination of doing what’s going to earn them more money (because of the success of Step 4), and a newfound obligation to stimulate the minds of readers the same way that good hip-hop music can.

I’m glad that I have a set goal now. I’ve always loved what I was doing, but now I know that I can have an impact on both of the cultures that I love so much. I’d like for everybody to comment, but I’m especially looking for a response from fellow journalists and writers in general, because I’d like to see what you all think. Whether it’s offering additional steps you deem necessary or just giving props because of what you’ve seen here, I’m eager for your feedback.

Get at me.

  • Adam

    Lots of good ideas bro. I have a simliar train of thought that has many of the same stops. At this point we know so many other writers that editorially we could easily start a magazine. Unfortunately financially it just isn’t gonna happen quite yet. Personally I’d like to think I’m raising the bar. I feel I am and have been over the past half decade. The true proof for me is less in how many folks read my work, but rather how the folks who read it react. That and how many artists list me in their liner notes, ha! (I’m up to five, btw)

  • M-Dubb

    Give it to them in doses. It’s as simple as that. If you’re in it for the long haul, slowly make people realize the intelligent stuff can be worthy of reading, too. it’s all about the audience, and some have dumbed it down to reach the unreachable readership.

  • Bougie Black Boy

    Yeah, this time I agree with m-dubb…(we got that love-hate relationship).

    But the general public has what–an 8th grade education tops? when it comes to their Literacy rate. This is another reason why, unless you’re writing something scholarly for the academs or a literary novel, for the literate — you have to simplify things for the people.

    This is one reason I stopped working at a local newspaper or teach 8th grade, for that matter. I felt as if I was limiting myself in my verbal and writing style.

  • advicetotheworld

    “I need to make the transition from efficiency to revolution, from artsy to trailblazing, from steadfast to avant-garde.”

    good step to have incorporated into your plan. more so as the first one. what i would like to know however (perhaps in reference to adding more steps?) is how you are going to do this? i notice you mentioned that your writing will evolve over time. props to you, but do you have to offer? what makes you so different and unique? why should i want to pick up your magazine out of the myriad of others sitting in the waiting room? out of all your goals and steps to success it was only in those words that i truly see define yourself. i have no read any of your works…so i suppose the better question is: do you feel you have done that as yet? defined yourself in a way that will change the hip hop world? of course as you mentioned you will continue to grow and evolve as time goes by…but what is your core? your identity so to speak.
    and also another question i would be curious to know the answer to is: what would you consider the outlines of the hip-hop world? as a learner in this aspect of culture, it seems the world has, society in general, has related hip hop solely to african americans. i know this cannot be true from the world i see around me. opinion?
    otherwise good plan. you’re in it for the long run and the other commentators have made some good points in terms of finances, audience and the receptive abilities of the general population. nice job