A HuffPo for Hip-Hop?
Ex-XXL editor preps launch of Rap Radar.
Elliott Wilson, the former editor of XXL, the Source and others, is prepping the launch of Rap Radar, a Web site he says he‚Äôd like to see become the Huffington Post of hip-hop, a platform artists and producers can use to sound off on music, politics and culture.
Wilson has a reputation for being outspoken. And given his reported tendency toward rants, when I spoke to Wilson yesterday, I found him to be surprisingly level-headed about everything, from the state of print (‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre a magazine, in this climate, you have to prove your value‚ÄĚ) to the Web (‚Äúin the climate we‚Äôre in, launching this way makes the most sense‚ÄĚ) to business (‚Äúcreative people have to put their business hats on now ‚Ä¶ [the recession] is forcing all of us to grow up‚ÄĚ) to marketing (‚ÄúI‚Äôve been doing the legwork on Facebook and Twitter‚ÄĚ), branding (‚Äúwe‚Äôll do Rap Radar magazine, Rap Radar socks, lunch boxes, whatever‚ÄĚ) and need for community (‚ÄúRight now, the goal is to build a brand‚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
Whether or not he‚Äôs successful remains to be seen. (After all, if a guy like Jay-Z wanted to sound off on Obama, he could blog for the Huffington Post; if he wanted to renew his beef with Nas, he could post it on his own blog‚ÄĒas Kanye West has proven, if you blog enough, people will find you, wherever you are.)
But he seems to have the right approach: Build your brand online first, and if there‚Äôs enough interest and a business rationale, launch a print product later.
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