Now honestly, I have always liked magazines in general and think they bring something to the masses especially those who don't have 24-hour access to the internet for the hottest blogs (like this one here). The other thing is that for the most part magazines have the resources to pay quality reporters to do actual stories and go in-depth on topics. Newspapers, are vitally important in other words. For hip-hop, there are two magazines and a gossip rag but none of them do any real justice in my opinion.
I base that on a couple of recent things, one, (and this is something I will get into later in my own review) but the Source gave Bun B a 5 mic rating. Let that marinate, because I am not a hater but there is no way that Bun B album deserves 5 mics at all and yes, I have listened to it. The Source has officially killed its credibility. The second thing is the recent XXL which takes the time to start on a good article or discussion on both realness and beef but they fail to devote more than 2 pages to either subject and glance over the most important aspects of the discussion itself.
Honestly, these two magazines do more for ass kissing then ever actually exploring a topic and getting in-depth with the artists while asking them questions that actually present a challenge. The main reason is because much like the radio and television personalities today, writers want to be a part of the in-crowd. These 'journalists' seem to have a lack of pride in what they actually do and an understanding of what the third estate is supposed to be all about. There is very little controversy now because the artists and labels will just close off access to these artists. Rolling Stone however doesn't have these same restrictions.
The third hip-hop magazine, the gossip rag, Hip-Hop Weekly has the best ability to get into controversy but lack the credibility and seriousness to actually capture the topics in a way that preserves their integrity. This mag is more apt to publish a report with no back-up or documentation because the labels don't want their artists to have direct quotes with an entity that cannot be trusted to present them in the "best" light.
The future of hip-hop criticism and analysis is therefore, on the web, where bloggers who truly have a passion for music and are not in pocket, or trying to be celebs themselves can offer the only honest opinions and analysis. This isn't just about this blog, but there are many others out there who are furthering the mission and offering new insight. The problem is, today's artists are pampered and protected more than superstar athletes. They are coddled and kept at an arm's length from anyone who would truly dare to make their lives more difficult. I covered this before when I wrote about radio and its responsibility to hip-hop and the community at large.
Unfortunately, labels will still be picking and choosing which blogs to support when it comes to interviews, much like they do with leaking music. Until the public forces artists to be more accountable and actually answer to the fans and real questions without the normal generic rhetoric. As usual, the power is in the hands of the people if they choose to wield it.