Interview and Written By: Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)
In 2005, Kanye West was defending Crack Music instead of Beyonce's music, print journalism continued its slow death and HipHopDX's current Editor-In-Chief Justin Hunte was a hip hop fanatic reviewing financial share data as Business Manager at Bank of America . Hunte went from handling finance to becoming a reputable voice as a Hip Hop journalist the old fashioned way: going out and being a fan. He was the guy in the back of the underground rap shows with a notebook out like Canibus in a rap battle, running up on the likes of Homeboy Sandman and Brown Bag All-Stars with a recorder “spending the next day writing the greatest, most interesting show review ever only to find nobody reads show reviews. But you get a lot of reps that way,” Hunte told me.
He was not the guy honing his craft in AP writing classes that have no Hip Hop concentration, Hunte was disseminating his musical taste to friends through emails reviewing Lupe Fiasco, before he was getting paid to do so to millions. He "crossed two rivers in a blizzard going out to Newark to sit around this New Artist Showcase where Steve Raze and Jake Paine [former HipHopDX Editor-In-Chief] were on the panel. Stayed there 13 hours just so I can interview Jake Paine, give the best interview he ever had, for my blog THE QUOTABLE and hopefully he liked it so much he'd offer me an opportunity to freelance for DX. And he did." according to Hunte.
If Hip Hop magazines were the authorities in the 90's, then the Hip Hop bible is now an e-book. XXL is mostly digital now and has reduced its print department to a quarterly publication and Vibe Magazine's print edition was discontinued in September 2014 a year after the monthly publication was made a quarterly by SpinMedia a year earlier. There's a generation of 80's babies that grew up mythologizing print journalism due to limited alternatives and its monopoly of the best writers. But that generation hs matured as adults with HipHopDX, AllHipHop, Okayplayer and SOHH as their primary source of Hip Hop news and sprouted a new era of Hip Hop journalists. In an age of Internet browsers becoming newsstands, the journalistic weight has shifted even if old stereotypes have persisted: "I think the misconception is that people think that just because it shows up on the internet people are just talking. Which is not true."
In the altered words of The Wire's Pooh: World going one way, people going another and a good journalists can cover it all.
PART TWO COMING SOON
Defending Online Journalism, HipHopDX's Process In Covering Big News Events
"A Personality" Vs. "A Journalist", Lists Rap Journalism Mount