I don’t know if you guys report on these things but if you read The Source magazine, we report on real issues, serious issues within our community and within our industry. And one of those serious issues if you know if you were to look into it is the issue of the federal governments targeting of the Hip-Hop music industry and the Hip-Hop community. It’s a profiling of Rap artists, it’s a form of racial profiling that’s taking place within our industry, the investigation of Lil’ Kim as supposedly as an organized crime figure. This is again led to things like Irv Gotti being indicted. Irv Gotti is somebody who has done more to help people save lives, bring crime down in communities, empower communities but yet he’s the target of a federal investigation and not the people that are really criminals in the industry, the real criminals. It’s just also you can read about in this month’s Source magazine where we discuss these kinds of issues in depth.
Dave Mays: We’ve criticized a lot of the journalists out there because we feel that they’re not professional. We feel that they don’t know how to separate their personal feelings from their job. We feel that they don’t exercise responsibility. We feel that many of them don’t really respect nor understand the culture and that it makes it very hard to report on the culture when you don’t really respect it and you’re not really a part of it and you don’t understand it. There’s a lot of people that pose and act and pretend like they know these things because they want a job or because they have some other agenda. They’re an artist; they’re a rapper who hasn’t been able to get a deal so they decide to go into writing because they think they might be able to get a record deal that way. I mean these are the types of people that we’ve talked about and that there’s been a lot of these type of people in the Hip-Hop journalist industry or community. And we’ve been critical of those people and we try to keep those type of people out of our company and recruit and develop the type of executives and editors that can sort of follow the, what I said earlier, the guideline and design for how to run a hip hop magazine.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think this same argument can be made of Benzino? That he’s in a magazine because he wants to become a rapper?
Dave Mays: Nope.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that’s too closely together though? His music and the magazine? Certainly with the like advertising his albums within The Source?
Dave Mays: Nope. What would be the problem with advertising his albums? I mean we have ad space he has products or we have products, we promote The Source Awards in our magazine; we run ads for that. That’s another product we have that’s not The Source Magazine and we run ads for that.
Dave Mays: That’s what advertisements are for.
AllHipHop.com: Right but he gets very prominent ads.
Dave Mays: It’s his magazine. So does The Source Awards get very prominent ads, so does The Source ring tone business and so does The Source hip hop albums get great placement, a lot of placement. Have you noticed that? We’re in the business of tooling. We have advertising pages that are used to promote product. Some are what we are paid for by companies to promote those products on those pages; some of those pages we use to promote our own products. That’s the business.
AllHipHop.com: Do you understand how people see it as a conflict of interest?
Dave Mays: I understand that people are confused and people are being misled to have a misperception of things which we talked about earlier about people who want to continue to try and just bring up the same thing over and over again for years as this big thing as the big problem and the big criticism of The Source or Ray and Dave. It’s the same thing. Reggie Dennis and his buddies said these things in 1994 and they keep getting said by everyone from Kim Osorio in 2005 on down. It’s the same thing.
AllHipHop.com: And so you don’t see that as a problem? Coming from different people over a different span of time?
Dave Mays: All disgruntled people that have gone on and done nothing. Again I let the people decide, I let the facts speak for themselves on that.
It's important to understand that the public has only heard about Kim and Michelle, but there are many others. I've been contacted by a bunch of others who want to come forward and join this suit. I have women calling me late at night leaving messages, telling me they want to talk to me and share their story. Many of them have never even met each other, but their accounts are all pretty consistent, the same people and the same acts. I'll give you one example, a boss cannot tell his subordinate to come with him to a hotel. You cannot put pressure on anyone to do something like that.
War, bad faith, gender trouble, rock in crisis: The Gang of Four are back at just the right moment.
By Jeff Chang
Jon King is dressed like he just walked in from a panini-bread lunch at some Market Street shop after a market-plunging morning on the Pacific Stock Exchange—blue button-down, smart white slacks. He's reciting a British supermarket ad campaign: "The change will do you good. I always knew it would." Clearly, he is agitated.
The stage light comes up, revealing Dave Allen and Hugo Burnham pounding out a throbbing beat. Andy Gill rips at his guitar, spinning out a run of agitated chords as if he was Wire's B.C. Gilbert interpreting the JB's Jimmy Nolen. "Sometimes I'm thinking that I love you", King snarls. "But I know it's only lust." Now he twists like a stockbroker stumbling drunken out of a Broadway peepshow. This is a 25-year old video, and there can be no doubt that an aspiring guitar hero or heroine is studying this clip somewhere.
It's been 24 years since the original lineup of Gang of Four played together on the same stage, and the timing could not be better for them to return to the same stage. Rock, having weathered an identity crisis over the past decade—bucked down into an inferiority complex by hip-hop and dance music, drawn into the fashionable but dead-end revivalism of the Strokes and White Stripes, tucked away into insular post-rock, nu-metal, and emo scenes—has got its groove back by hugging up on its postpunk past. It's a great way to nod sideways to black music, to acknowledge three intervening decades of race, gender, and identity critique, and, most importantly, to remember how to rock the fuck out.
With John Lydon disappeared, Ari Up still high in the Rasta hills, and Joe Strummer left to be repped only by a growing shelf of books, where better to start the neo-new wave revival than with Go4? Their DNA runs wild through two of the best bands of the moment—Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand—as well as pretenders like the Rapture, the Futureheads, and Radio 4. Working with a big bottom borrowed from Burnham and Allen, using moves stolen from King and Gill, these groups are only the most literal-minded of Go4 enthusiasts.
"Gang of Four was absolutely essential to pioneering independent label bands of the 80s like Mission of Burma, the Minutemen, Big Black and Fugazi," says Michael Azerrad, author of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 and the liner notes for the new Rhino reissue of Entertainment! "For people who not only wanted to make a new kind of music but also think and feel in ways not imagined or permitted by rock's old guard, Gang of Four was a godsend. Also, it allowed people who couldn't dance to appreciate James Brown."
Meeting on the campus of the University of Leeds in punk's Year Zero, King and Gill were soon running the school's film society while studying fine arts and Situationism. They could be comfortable in all-night bull sessions about "complicity", "overdetermination", and "totalities". Their lyrics were like a critical theory seminar, which only then was beginning to become the rage on university campuses. They packed songs with aphorisms that triangulated McLuhan, Marx, and Mao.
Simon Reynolds, whose new book Rip It Up And Start Again was recently released in the UK and will arrive here in February 2006, notes that postpunk emerged from a polarized political and intellectual climate not unlike the current North American blue-red divide. Thatcher's Tories and the racist, ultrarightist National Front and British Movement were gaining ground. At the same time, cultural studies pioneers like Dick Hebdige and Paul Willis were discovering new forms of praxis, while their students joined Trotskyist, anarchist, feminist and Marxist organizations. Reynolds says, "Thinking, talking, singing songs about these kinds of things would have been considered a very consequential activity, a form of resistance. Performing at Rock Against Racism benefit gigs or Anti-Nazi League festivals and tours was de rigeur for postpunk bands.
"In some ways I see the whole postpunk era as a gigantic riposte to the Rolling Stones “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll”—the resignation and underachievement represented by the cop-out sentiment of that song, which basically kissed the Sixties good-bye. Basically insisting, no, it’s not just good times music, it can be a vessel for all this weightier stuff," he adds. "Gang of Four would have been in the vanguard of that move to see how much substance rock could carry and still be rock."
Certainly Go4's lyrics read well as text. *Solid Gold's* "Paralysed" is still stunning, interlocking haikus on late capitalism's desperately emasculating effects. One of their best songs was called "Why Theory?" Songs like "Damaged Goods", "Ether", or "Anthrax" carried on dramatic internal dialogues; figuratively and literally, they read like theater.
But the music can't be separated from the text. Most rockcrits focused on Andy Gill's guitar, and for good reason. Like some pomo Robert Johnson at the crossroads, he brought together two kinds of rock futurism: Jimi Hendrix's explosive caterwaul with Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle's stinging attack. Zipping from horizontal buzzdrones to vertical wails almost like a turntablist, Gill's is the sound every post-postpunker will sell his soul for at the intersection.
Yet all too little has been written about the herky-jerky beat-throb precision of Allen and Burnham. The working-class Allen came to the group by responding to ad that read: "fast rivvum & blues band requires fast rivvum & blues bass player". Burnham, a close college friend who had marched with King and Gill in rallies against the National Front, became the funkiest postpunk drummer next to the Clash's Topper Headon and 23 Skidoo's Alex Turnbull.
The band proceeded from the pub-rock anti-war singalong of "Armalite Rifle" to building-block reggae not far from The Clash's distillation of Lee Scratch Perry's "Police And Thieves" to what they came to call "perverted disco" and "angular, metallic, white sexless funk". "I've always loved music which has space in it and has room," Gill told Perfect Sound Forever's Jason Gross. By 1979's classic *Entertainment*, they had attained an astounding range. "Not Great Men" offered dub logic—sounds attaching then dropping out, the sum and the difference both bringing the tension to a boiling point. On *Solid Gold*, they brought in American funk producer Jimmy Douglass (Slave, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Black Heat), who helped sharpen the band's increasingly nuanced rhythmic attack, the fragile "Paralyzed" on one end, and the blasting "If I Could Keep It For Myself" on the other. Hedrush's Tahir later pitched up "A Hole in the Wallet" and flipped it for the Roots' Phrenology magnum opus, "Water" (MCA, 2002).
The *Another Day/Another Dollar* EP tossed up as unlikely an anthem ever released by a major label, the rude and proud "To Hell With Poverty". But by the end of *Songs Of The Free*, by which time Allen had left, there was a sense that the band that had once summed up "What We All Want" was now like Chic after *Risque*, no longer knowing what it wanted. The album opened with three songs exploring more melodic territory—"Call Me Up", the Dance Fever crossover hit "I Love A Man In Uniform", and "We Live As We Dream, Alone"—while pointing toward an increasing Depeche Mode-ification.
1983's *Hard* and 1991's *Mall* were tremendous disappointments. 1995's *Shrinkwrapped* marked only a partial return to form. With Burnham's departure after *Songs Of The Free* (Allen had left after *Sold Gold*), the worst of the flaccid, derivative sound was epitomized by *Mall*'s bloodless cover of Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Soul Rebel". This was music that might be piped into the elevators rising up to luxury hotel suites, far from what the Delta 5's Ros Allen once called the "spontaneous amateurism" of the orginal Leeds street scene.
Yet *Songs of The Free's* "The History of the World" and "Of The Instant" also revealed that King and Gill's worldview had cohered. To their feminist-influenced dissection of masculinity, they had developed a biting, even prophetic critique of corporate globalization and neoliberalism. This made Go4's failure more than musical: just play *Mall*'s "F.M.U.S.A.", a sharp critique of race, gender, and imperialism set among Vietnam's brothels that told a story more coherent and haunting than the Clash's "Straight To Hell" but had the sonic impact of a wet towel, next to 2 Live Crew's 1989 cut, "Me So Horny". In some ways, the fate of Go4 paralleled the destiny of the radical intellectuals of the late 70s struggling to adapt in the 21st Century, confined to a small audience by their inability to continue to master the medium for their message.
So Go4's return—and judging by their setlists, they seem to focusing largely on their pre-83 music—occasions a kind of nostalgia for leftist certainty. They had emerged in the context of a street-level feminism and the Rock Against Racism movement, an "identity politics" that was vibrant, funny, dangerous, confrontational, never scurrred. The evidence was in the indie music of Delta 5, Essential Logic, the Au Pairs, Kleenex/Lilliput, the Beakers, and the Slits. As late as 1982, Go4's "I Love A Man In Uniform"—with its easy dismissal of big-dick imperialism: "You must be joking, oh man, you must be joking!"—was banned from the BBC when Great Britain launched its Grenada-of-my-own adventure in the Falklands. Over a low stuttering guitar, King finally spit out the stakes on "Of The Instant": "Who owns what you do? Who owns what you use?" The answer seemed despairing, "We, it seems, can own ourselves in imagination." Perhaps on a hopeful note, they did not take care to add the word "only".
Go4 imagines they might still have something to say in 2005. Two years ago, Gill produced those other postpunkers waiting to be rediscovered, Killing Joke, on a new version of their 1980 classic, "Wardance". If "Damaged Goods" was once a song about bad love, it now seems to have Bush-Blair's bad faith beating in its crooked, racing heart, a neoliberal sneer at Iraq and Afghanistan. Here the British supermarket ad pitch—"You know the change will do you good!"—becomes a truism of pre-emptive neo-imperialism, King's lyric bridging Vietnam and Vietnow. Gill's words are the bitter reprisal—"Open the till, give me the change you said would do me good." Then there's the brutal ending that ought to give any good pacifist pause: "I'm kissing you goodbye."
Greil Marcus once wrote that "Entertainment" was an album that illustrated the young First World collegiate rebel's process of coming to a very uncomfortable realization. As he deconstructs his world, he realizes he is indeed complicit with the forces that oppress him and the people he loves. Through his very consuming pleasures, he feeds the capitalist machine that slowly alienates and kills him. Certainly war and globalization—especially as seen in the restless daily spectacle of monopoly media—have made Go4's insights more relevant than ever.
But it also feels like there is more of a sense of hopelessness than there was in 1980, that the change that could do real good is so far away. By now we also know that the responses to the bitter knowledge can often be less than liberating: hipster irony as protection or shield, Napoleon Dynamite-like retreats toward a lost innocence. Jon Savage asked in his liner notes to the Go4 anthology, *100 Flowers Bloom*: "Could you imagine a contemporary major-label rock group recording a song as critical and vulnerable as 'Paralysed'?" Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, all you aspiring guitar heroes, the question is yours: could you?
To: David Mays, Raymond "Benzino" Scott, Al Sharpton
After two top female executives at The Source magazine filed a sexual harassment suit against their former employer on Monday, April 11, 2005, the co-owners of The Source, David Mays and Raymond "Benzino" Scott, both responded (on two separate occasions) by impugning the sexual reputation of one of the two plaintiffs, Kim Osorio, the former editor-in-chief of the magazine.
In an April 11th statement reported by www.allhiphop.com, David Mays said:
“It is a fact that Ms. Osorio had sexual relations with a number of high profile rap artists during her employment as editor-in-chief.”
The following day, Benzino was interviewed, also by www.allhiphop.com, and said,
“[Kim Osorio is] screaming sexual discrimination. What we're gonna do is counter sue her because that's totally false because especially when we have record of—we have proof of her having many sexual relations with a lot of the artists that she was actually interviewing a lot. And we will counter sue her for defamation of character and then after that, we'll just let the courts decide it.”
1. We condemn David Mays’ and Benzino’s response to the suit. The notion that Osorio’s sexual history (real or imagined) has any bearing on whether or not her claims are legitimate is ludicrous. Michelle Joyce and Kim Osorio’s claims will be evaluated by the courts, but the responses from the Harvard-educated Mays and the self-appointed community leader Benzino certainly seem to indicate that the top staff at The Source condone and reinforce a climate of discrimination against women. Basically, their argument boils down to the classic “She’s promiscuous, so she couldn’t have been sexually harassed,” so the responsibility for the harassment lies with its victim, as opposed to the harasser.
2. While we understand that the music industry is rife with little-discussed sexual perks, we hold journalists to a higher standard. Female journalists in particular have long understood that sexual relations with subject matter undermine any attempts at objectivity, clearly compromise the integrity of the magazine, blur the line between professionalism and personal pleasure and reinforce the sexist stereotype that women write about hip hop only to sleep with rappers. We in no way condone such behavior. That said, we are equally aware that Benzino’s and Mays’ accusations against Osorio are a calculated attempt to obscure the issue at hand: Does The Source engender a climate of harassment that makes it difficult if not impossible for its female employees to do their jobs without feeling demeaned, devalued or threatened?
3. In The Source and other magazines, women of color are only valued as available sexual objects, a relationship that clearly goes back to slavery and imperialism. Yet they are expected to stay loyal and quiet about sexism and injustice in their own house, and when they choose to raise the issue in public, they are again reduced to sexual objects. We are disgusted at the fact that while Mays and Benzino and other community leaders claim to be concerned about injustice, they are clearly exploiting racist and racially divisive stereotypes of women of color.
4. We call on the so-called community leaders who allegedly asked Benzino to return to The Source after he had resigned Friday, April 8, to take a stand against the sexism of both Benzino and Mays. After he put out a press release on April 8, stating that he had stepped down from The Source, Benzino recanted on Monday, April 11, announcing his return. According to the latter release, “Reverend Al Sharpton, executives from Black Enterprise, David Mays, and others insisted he retain his position for the good of the cause.” We are deeply concerned that a community leader like Sharpton, who professes to be seeking a more humane hip hop industry, would align himself with a magazine that so clearly ignores the humanity of women. We urge him to respect the concerns of men and women equally, and to use this opportunity to examine the working conditions of The Source specifically, and the sexism that women who work in music journalism and in the music industry experience on a daily basis.
According to data to be released by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) this Sunday, the number of individuals incarcerated in jails and prisons grew by 48,452 between midyear 2003 to 2004. Driven largely by growing federal and state prison populations, and huge increases in jail populations during the past 4 years, BJS reports the incarcerated population grew by 932 people each week.
Despite crime being in decline for over a decade, these numbers show a persistent rise in prison population, and push the US’s rate of incarceration to a startling 726 per 100,000-maintaining the US status as the world’s leading incarcerator (*England-142, *China-118, *France-91, *Japan-58, *Nigeria-31---*Incarceration rates per 100,000 citizens).
“Unless we promote alternatives to prison, the nation will continue to lead the world in imprisonment,” says Jason Ziedenberg, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute. “While the numbers of incarcerated people continue to rise, some legislators are realizing that by removing the barriers to housing and jobs that formerly incarcerated individuals face when re-entering their communities, we can improve public safety, cut corrections costs, and rebuild communities.”
Prisoners and Jail Inmates at Mid-Year 2004 shows that between mid-year 2003 and 2004, the jail population grew by 3.3%, the state prison population by 1.3%, and the federal prison population by 6.3%. The increase in the federal population is unnerving to some since Congress is currently considering HR 1528, legislation that could drastically increase the federal prison population even more.
"Dear Valued Client and Marketing Partner,
I'm writing to you to discuss the current status of The Source Magazine's circulation, as well as to share with you some exciting developments that are taking place under the banner of The Source - the most widely-recognized and well-respected brand name in Hip-Hop throughout the world. The year 2005 will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most pivotal years in the history of The Source...
During the last two years, I have been working hard to lay down the building blocks that will secure the future of The Source as a powerful global media and entertainment company. Check a few of the stats: the November 2004 broadcast of The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards was a smash, ranking as BET's sixth highest-rated show ever; in addition, The Source Awards Weekend is now the largest and most exciting annual live event gathering of Hip-Hop fans, attracting over 75,000 people to Miami last October; The Source Hip-Hop Hits compilation album series was expanded with the release of both Volumes 8 and 9 last year through our own independent record company, The Source Music; the launch of The Source Mobile Channel was executed and has resulted in the sale of over 1 million ringtones in less than 5 months.
With all of the time and energy that was expended building up our brand through these new channels, there was one unfortunate mishap that affected our core business at The Source Magazine. During our move to new office space late last year, we lost important subscription files, including payment records, which has created a pool of approximately 80,000 subscribers to The Source that we cannot qualify as 'paid' under ABC guidelines. Given the magazine circulation scandals that have plagued this industry over the past couple of years, The Source recently met with ABC and decided to voluntarily and temporarily suspend itself from ABC auditing of our paid circulation, rather than attempting to mask this problem with the smoke and mirrors typically used by many magazine publishers to enhance the appearance of their subscription file. The bottom line is that we will be unable to provide an audited statement of our paid circulation for the last 6 months of 2004. ABC will be conducting a reinstatement audit to cover the period of January - June 2005, and will issue its normal publisher's statement for this period in the month of August 2005.
...We are providing our clients with a guaranteed circulation of 400,000 for the January - June 2005 period, which will consist of a monthly average of approximately 280,000 paid single copies and 50,000 paid subscription copies, along with the 80,000 controlled subscriber copies. As we renew and convert this affected pool, and implement a number of new and innovative subscription acquisition methods, we are guaranteeing delivery of a fully qualified paid and audited circulation of at least 415,000 for the second half of 2004..."
"No, I didn't leave Air America nor did I get fired. I'll be doing a weekly show starting in May - sometimes recorded, at other times rolling live. Stop the blogs now saying I got canned in favor of Jerry Springer..."
"In the wake of a messy sexual harassment lawsuit, hip-hop magazine The Source is wrestling with a host of financial, advertising and circulation woes, sources told The Post.
In recent months, insiders said The Source has defaulted on a multi-million bank loan and withdrawn from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the chief auditor for circulation in the industry."
"Last year, it was down 11.3 percent in pages to 1,040.62 and this year it appears likely to fall below the magical 1,000 page barrier.
The magazine's ad revenues were down 13.9 percent to $5,972,905 and its ad pages are down 16.1 percent to 175.33."
David Mays, the chairman, did not return calls.
"He did not return calls because he said you're irrelevant," said Scott. "He told me to call you back. Our personal finances are none of your business."
What I have noticed are dozens of stories all over the place eargerly reporting that Snoop had a concert canceled by Harvard who are objecting to his lyrical content. I guess when it comes down to it, we as a country have become addicted to drama....
In fact when talking to reporters about the west coast unifying and coming together, many seemed skeptical as if they didn't want this to actually happen. It's as if they want beef and disunity to continue...
Errol Louis, of the New York Daily News, stepped forward and asked Benzino to clarify his standing with The Source. Benzino stated that he had decided to resign because of the issues his beef with Eminem was causing for his magazine, and because Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine had allegedly threatened to use his influence to get Island Def Jam executive L.A. Reid fired from his position if Reid did not pull all of Island Def Jam’s advertising from The Source. After making this allegation, Benzino said that he had planned to resign, rather than let another Black executive get fired, but his staff and several community leaders convinced him to stay with The Source so that he could better further the cause.
Somethings to Ponder: Sleeping w/ Artists and Lap Dances
By Davey D
By now most of us have heard about the drama over at The Source Magazine, with co-founder Benzino resigning and then un-resigning. That in itself has caused folks from coast to coast to talk. Initially Benzino noted that his ongoing beefs with ‘the machine’ (Jimmy Iovine of Interscope records) and Eminem have taken away some focus from Hip Hop’s Bible.
We can discuss the pros and cons and issues surrounding that in another column. However, the thing that caught my attention was the serious allegations of sexual harassment being levied at the Source by two female employees. One of them is former editor and Chief Kim Osorio.
A couple of years back she made history as being the first female to head up a major Hip Hop publication. Her arrival on the scene inspired a lot of folks especially women who felt and hope that she would move the magazine in a direction that would bring critical perspectives and unheard female voices to the forefront.
For many this did not happen to the degree that they had hoped. Kim spoke about this during last weekends Feminism and Hip Hop conference in Chicago. She sat on the industry panel and expressed regret that she didn’t try harder and to a degree got caught up. She was also brutally honest about her limitations at the magazine and that she often found herself having to put desired articles on the back burner or completely scrap them. Her biggest challenge was balancing what she ideally wanted and what she felt some of her readers wanted with the ‘Business” (i.e. what was brought and paid for or favors and relationships that had accrued).
Well, to make a long story short, Osorio upon filing her lawsuit and charges with the EEOC, suddenly found her own character called into question when publisher Dave Mays fired back and accused Osorio of sleeping with several high profile artists while in her position.
That charge immediately got folks talking with many stating that if this was true then homegirl was totally unethical and foul. ‘That’s why I don’t read the Source no more” said one prominent writer (who will go unnamed) during an internet Instant Message IM conversation. He seemed to think that Kim was sleeping with folks and then going around and giving them high album ratings.
I thought about that for a minute and told my boy he was 1- not being realistic and 2-was applying a double standard. On the unrealistic part, I pointed out that we are in a business and profession called the music industry and folks are going to hook up from time to time. That’s only natural and when dating and hollering at folks you are more than likely gonna pull from the circles you travel.
Actors date other actors, politicians hook up with others who are in the political world and music people date music people. We don't trip that Angela Jolie hooks up with her fellow actors or Julia Roberts hooked up with her camera man or Wesley Snipes got down with Hallie... Why are we tripping when music biz people hook up with music biz people?
Don't give me a song and dance about who can do what and for whom... In the entertainment field all relationships can be used for one's benefit if flipped right. Where we draw the line about ethics has always been murky-from day one. Me buying someone a drink that later shows me some sort of love can be construed as unethical.
Me going out to a meet and greet where they ply us with good food and good liquor can be seen as unethical. And yes me dating someone in the industry who later down the road is in a position of power or influence can be seen as unethical. It all depends on how you wanna look at it, cause the music biz is like any other business, its not what you know it's who you know, and all relationships at some point in time get exploited for personal and professional gain.
With that being said let's go back to dating and hooking up within the industry. We’re in a business where it causes havoc on most relationships where your other half doesn’t fully understand because she’s not in the biz. Long nights, constant club hopping, concerts, off the wall hours, and constant travel, can really only be understood by someone who lives in the same world.
Over the years I dated females who worked at labels, fellow journalists, some who worked at other radio stations and on two occasions other deejays. I can cite numerous examples where others have had similar scenarios. What I described is not usual. And too be honest for the most part, the fit has often been good, cause my partners at the time ‘got it’. They understood the business and we didn’t have any of the drama that Guru rapped about in his classic song ‘Lovesick’.
The other thing I pointed out was that in the case involving Osorio it’s been made painfully clear to the public at large that nothing is going down in the magazine unless the publishers (Mays and Benzino) approve. Hence let's say that Osorio or any other female slept with a rapper does that mean her ‘biased’ or tainted opinion could be showcased within the magazine’s pages without Benzino or Mays giving it the green light. I think not.
We can take this a step further, how should we read this if an artist with a banging body like Trina walks in and she gets hollered at by Benzino or Mays? Is she is in a catch 22? After all if she gives in to the advances she said to be a 'ho trying to sleep her way to the top'. He she don't give in, can we honestly say her 3 mic rating could've been a 4, but cats don't take rejection well. Do we charge Mays or Benzino or any other cat that approaches with being unethical for merely approaching? Lastly can they ever approach and holler at an artist if you're a journalist or radio person? I tell you this, if I see an artist like Trina on a beach with a bikini editor or no editor, if I think I have a chance I'm gonna holler. Why shouldn't I?
Back in the days when I dated someone who was working at a label or promoting records, it didn’t mean I was on the air the next day playing their artists. Sure I might take a second look or a second listen etc, but at the end of the day you don’t jeopardize your job and there were always people above you who could chin check any impropriety.
At the end of the day all of us our adults and we get to see, date and sleep with whoever we want. If folks find others attractive, they are gonna talk, and they may eventually hook up. It happens in all professions. Let's not let the folks who work in a business where we sell sex all damn day suddenly get high and mighty and bent out of shape when someone engages in the activity we promote 24/7. One should not be judging too harshly unless you don’t having your own hole card pulled.
With that being said, let’s look at the double standard. If an editor sleeps with an artist which in turn implies the inability to be objective and do their job, how is that any different then the dozens of music conferences I attended where the record labels straight up take us to strip clubs, pay for lap dances and on a few occasions when conventions were held in Vegas, cats were taken to brothels like the Mustang Ranch.
If you were higher up the food chain and held a key position like music or program director or mix show coordinator you might find yourself at the Playboy Mansion, the VIP Room of the Hustler’s club or you might find yourself on a special flyaway to one of Uncle Luke of the 2Live Crew’s famous sex parties. If you’re really special you might find yourself in a fancy hotel suite where you get a late night visit from finest felines the city you are in has to offer.
Of course all this is done in the name of entertainment. It’s explained off by many within the industry as us going out for a few drinks and dinner and then more. But the bottom line is this-what I described is standard in the music industry. If it's unethical for an editor like Osorio to sleep with an artist then it’s just as unethical for any of us who play or write about music to be hanging out at industry functions having record labels pay for lap dances and other 'sexual' fun.
Ask anyone who is worth their salt. Ask any mix show deejay etc if he ain’t ever been to a conference and some major label promoter has not taken him and his crew out for some adult entertainment. At the end of the night when all is said and done and the ‘cum stains’ have dried (I don’t mean to be crude-but lets keep it real), what do you think is expected from that label cat?
Ding Ding Ding –You got it right- He wants his record played. He paid for your sorry overweight, no real game having ass to have a lap dance in the hottest strip club in Miami, Atlanta, Puerto Rico or Vegas in exchange for you to bang the new Foxy Brown, 50 Cent, Redman or Lil Kim record. And since were on the subject of keeping it real, let’s be honest and point out that not all lap dances and nights out at the brothel are being paid for by men in the industry.
I have quite few female friends who had to pull out a big wad of crisp 5s and 10s so that popular deejay can get his lap dance. What’s even crazier is that nowadays as more and more female deejays are coming onto the scene, they too wind up having to tag along with their male counterparts to these same strip joints just so they can network and be on the scene and in proximity of some of these key individuals both on the radio and record side of the business. For those who never smelled the coffee, in the music industry, adult entertainment at night is the equivalent to businessmen going to that expense country clubs to play golf on the weekend.
Now back in the days, journalist who wrote for magazines were rarely invited to these decadent industry gathering, but over the past few years that’s changed. Quite a few no-game having writers have gotten a few lap dances...
I mention all this to ask, do you not think their judgment is slightly impaired by such activities. If anything I think there’s more damage done than an editor like Kim Osorio who is dating a rapper. One is a relationship the other is an under the cover exchange for specific favors. In exchange for Record label X paying that J-Lo look alike to give you a 30 minute lap dance where you get to lick her body parts, we would like you to play that new J-Lo record during your next mix show or give her some love in your next magazine column.
I hardly doubt the Editor and Chief of a major magazine like The Source was calling up a popular artists like Method Man and saying , Dude come over and hit it and I will put you on the cover. When you consider that cover stories are big business in the publishing world, somebody at that place is gonna be asking for their loot before anyone is on the cover whether he hit it or not is irrelevant in the way business gets done on that level of the game.
Remember we are in an industry that celebrates sex, drugs all in the name of rock-n-roll and today rap... People hook up from time to time cats need to get over it. But the ultimate bottom line to all this is who Kim or anyone else sleeps with has nothing to do with sexual harassment and the serious issues around it...
Benzino is Right...
...no one cares about this controversy with The Source except 'those kids on the internet.' And another group- industry insiders, who (as Danyel Smith admits) are biased in their opinion...
What do my friends think of Benzino bringing his friends to the mag in token roles? That's called 'looking out for your peoples' on my block.
I've watched with a certain amount of sick glee every time The Source has stumbled for the last ten years. I have felt stomach-punched and nauseous most every time they've had a success. Over the last year or so, as The Source has been slowly imploding, I have noted it in my soul's Human Tragedy column, and also in my column titled, Hip Hop Hooray. Old wars, old wounds, die hard.
AllHipHop.com: Can you just talk honestly about this lawsuit filed?
Benzino: Oh definitely, yes, the lawsuit was like—usually when people get fired sometimes, especially this magazine there's been walkouts and again, journalist people, they're a real crazy bunch of people.
Benzino: But um, basically Kim Osorio, we had let go, we had terminated a man for her to get that job. So now that we terminated her for a man, she's screaming sexual discrimination. What we're gonna do is counter sue her because that's totally false because especially when we have record of—we have proof of her having many sexual relations with a lot of the artists that she was actually interviewing a lot. And we will counter sue her for defamation of character and then after that, we'll just let the courts decide it.
AllHipHop.com: Wait, what does her relations have to do with this lawsuit?
Benzino: I'm saying, I'm saying like we will counter sue her for defamation of character because her holding that position of Editor and Chief and having sexual relations and definitely her conduct as how she treated this magazine when she was here, that's definitely gonna have something to do with her lawsuit...
AllHipHop.com: Are you trying to say that both of these women's claims are illegitimate?
Benzino: The other woman didn't even do nothing around here. She faked that she was having breast cancer so that we wouldn't fire her. These people were getting big salaries. They can't get these big salaries no where else. They were doing a weak job. It's our magazine and we fired them. I have the right too.
AllHipHop.com: And why would they lie about, like why would they—
Benzino: Clover, you're gonna have to find that out. It doesn't—but you know what, it doesn't matter. Does it matter? Whose company is it?
Benzino: Do you own AllHipHop?
Benzino: If you got fired would it really matter what you say about who's this or whatever—or like if they fired you today, would it matter?
AllHipHop.com: Would what matter?
Benzino: Would it matter like what your opinion is. Like how many people do you know who are gonna be happy when they get fired.
AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] everybody.
Benzino: Okay, then so then you just answered your own question then.
AllHipHop.com: Well I don't know why—
Benzino: It's okay, just keep it moving. I don't mind that, Clover. Zino and The Source ain't going nowhere. We're gonna stomp out the competition. It is what it is.
They built it by walking across our collective backs. When I was at the source, Women ran shit literally and figuratively. We led the editorial meetings, we held down the fort, we provided the research, development, fact-checking, writing, planning and scheduling it took to print the most popular rap magazine on the planet. But we also provided the ass...
Def Jam Records Shocker Cause of Benzino's Resignation Decision on Friday, April 8, 2005
Chairman LA Reid Pulls Def Jam Advertising From The Source After His Job Is Threatened By Interscope's Jimmy Iovine
Partners and Black leaders Appeal To Benzino To Continue His Fight For Artist's Rights and Empowerment in Hip-hop Industry
Benzino To Stay At The Source, Vows Not To Make Anymore Diss Songs… In Partnership With Reverend Al Sharpton's Movement For Non-Violence In Hip-hop
April 11, 2005- New York, NY- On Friday, April 8, Ray Benzino announced that he was stepping down from his position at The Source Magazine, as Co-Founder and Chief Brand Executive. At press time, however, many community leaders called an emergency meeting and told him he must not leave The Source.
Reverend Al Sharpton, executives from Black Enterprise, David Mays, and others insisted he retain his position for the good of the cause. Benzino says, “When I heard that LA Reid was going to lose his job, I thought it was the right thing for me to do, to step down, because I don’t want any executive to lose their job over the beef between myself and Eminem”
The ongoing Eminem lawsuit played a big role in Benzino’s initial decision to leave The Source. Benzino continues, “For the last couple of years I was speaking up for Hip-hop and going against one label’s manipulation of Hip-hop music and its culture.
The Source Magazine will no longer print any beef with Eminem. Benzino also adds that he will no do anymore diss records against Eminem or any other artist. Benzino adds, “The Source needs to be preserved for future generations of Hip-hoppers. I’ve learned a lot these past few years. The major vehicles of Hip-hop (radio, TV, etc) are aligning themselves for the money. I understand that but we need to look beyond profit and install the balance so everyone has a chance to eat and benefit from one of the most important economic opportunities- Hip-hop.”
Benzino will not step down from The Source Magazine. He will continue to work closely with partner, David Mays and with Black Enterprise (Earl Graves and his son Butch) and others to make The Source bigger and better. Zino concludes, “We’ve started The Source Life Project, The Source Youth Foundation, The Source Latino, a Source clothing line, and our own mobile ring tones. We will also continue with The Source Awards and The Source All Access. Most important of all is the music side, fat tapes, ZNO Records and The Source Hip-hop hits.”
The Source Magazine, the leading voice for the Hip-Hop community for the past 17 years addresses these problems in the May issue which is on newsstands now. It asks the question, “Is Hip-Hop The New WWF?”
The Source goes on to provide in-depth reporting and analysis on the state of Hip-Hop in light of the recent 50 Cent/The Game beef and subsequently staged “truce.” The May issue also features an exclusive interview with an insider within The Game’s Black Wall Street camp who reveals shocking news on the confrontation at Hot 97 and the truth about Game and G-Unit.
In recent weeks, the New York Daily News, Reverend Al Sharpton and others have turned the discussion of responsibility for violence in Hip-Hop from a focus on the artists back into the corporate headquarters of the music industry’s largest record and radio companies. This follows over two and a half years of reporting by The Source on forces working to destroy Hip-Hop, including corruption, racism and monopolization within the music industry.
April 8, 2005, New York, NY- Ray Benzino, Co-founder and Chief Brand Executive of The Source will step down today from his position. He says, “I want to step down from the magazine and sell my stock effective immediately.”
Benzino continues, “This is a big step for me. I’ve been consumed too much with the whole conflict thing… the Eminem suit and I am sick of it. I don’t want to take away from what The Source has built up but I got issues with The Source and magazines like that. Everyone is too politically correct. They’re not thinking about the little guy who can’t afford to pay for high priced ads. It’s like a monopoly.”
“Our other partner, Black Enterprises, is another reason why I’ve decided to leave. I don’t like how they perceive me. There are too many things that I don’t agree with so I am moving on.”
Benzino concludes, “I plan on creating another magazine that has my voice which represents the little guy. It’s because of the manipulation of Soundscan and radio that Hip-Hop is losing its edge. I want to come out with a magazine that will reflect that. I want to start from the ground up and speak for the artists.”
Notes On The Eve Of Day One
Students Occupy The New School
Farai Chideya's News And Notes on NPR Has Been Can...
I Am Nixon
Shouldna Lef Ya...
2G2K Is Back! :: On Hillary, Again, And Foreign Po...
The Impact of The Hip-Hop Vote
UCLA Education In Action Keynote Speech
A Great Day In Baseball History