Ex-XXL Editor to Launch the 'HuffPo of Hip-Hop'
Elliott Wilson wants Rap Radar to fill Perez Hilton-like void first.
RELATED: Why Wilson's Approach Makes Sense
The former editor of XXL magazine is getting back in the rap magazine game‚ÄĒthis time, online.
Elliott Wilson is preparing to launch RapRadar, a Web site he hopes will eventually be a Huffington Post-like destination for hip-hop music fans and, perhaps, a print magazine. First, though, he says, he wants to develop a voice that has been lacking among Web sites that cover rap‚ÄĒthat is, something akin to Perez Hilton.
The New York-based site is slated to go live March 9.
When it does, RapRadar will enter a highly-competitive category‚ÄĒwith established Web sites including AllHipHop.com, SOHH.com and upstarts like NahRight covering the space alongside MTV, Billboard, the Source and even XXLmag.com, which Wilson launched during his XXL tenure.
‚ÄúThere are a lot of sites out there that do news, and a lot do gossip,‚ÄĚ Wilson told FOLIO:. ‚ÄúBut not a lot of them can put it into the proper context, where it‚Äôs journalism versus pure gossip. I want to raise the bar journalistically. The public is hungry for both.‚ÄĚ
Once the ad-supported site is up and running, Wilson plans to invite artists and producers to post entries, Huffington Post-style. ‚ÄúIf Jay-Z wants to express his feelings about Obama, there‚Äôs not really a forum where he can do that right now,‚ÄĚ he said. (Wilson‚Äôs Soul of a Hustler, an authorized biography of Jay-Z, is scheduled to published in Spring 2010 by Atria/Simon & Schuster.)
The venture is being backed by Paul Rosenberg, Eminem‚Äôs manager with whom Wilson launched Makavelliott LLC. ‚ÄúBut this isn‚Äôt gonna be an Eminem fan site,‚ÄĚ Wilson said.
Wilson‚ÄĒwhose wife, Danyel Smith, is the editorial director of Vibe‚ÄĒstill thinks rap magazines are viable, and is hoping Rap Radar will eventually make its way to print.
‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre a magazine, in this climate, you have to prove your value,‚ÄĚ Wilson said. ‚ÄúYou are looking at your editorial staff of 10 or 15 people saying, ‚ÄėWho are the seven people I can keep and still put out a magazine?‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Wilson added: ‚ÄúRight now, the goal is to build a brand.‚ÄĚ