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 heâ€™d 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 (â€śIf youâ€™re a magazine, in this climate, you have to prove your valueâ€ť) to the Web (â€śin the climate weâ€™re in, launching this way makes the most senseâ€ť) to business (â€ścreative people have to put their business hats on now â€¦ [the recession] is forcing all of us to grow upâ€ť) to marketing (â€śIâ€™ve been doing the legwork on Facebook and Twitterâ€ť), branding (â€śweâ€™ll do Rap Radar magazine, Rap Radar socks, lunch boxes, whateverâ€ť) and need for community (â€śRight now, the goal is to build a brandâ€ť).
Once the ad-supported site is up and running, Wilson plans to invite artists and producers to post entries, Huffington Post-style. â€śIf Jay-Z wants to express his feelings about Obama, thereâ€™s not really a forum where he can do that right now.â€ť
Whether or not heâ€™s 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 blogâ€”as 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 thereâ€™s enough interest and a business rationale, launch a print product later.
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