RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Sunday, July 8

MNZ: XXL July 2007

I had never bought a copy of this thing before, because usually the magazines that are most prominently featured on grocery store shelves next to Beat and shit like that, I don’t know, I feel like I’m better than, which is of course stupid. Still, I felt just as stupid actually buying a copy, mostly for the “What’s the Problem With Houston?” piece, and not so much for the T.I. cover story. I do not understand the T.I. phenomenon at all. Dude seems mediocre, and his image of a cockeyed stocking hat and alter-ego in suit seems even hokier to me. I did bump that “Rubber Band Man” song back in the day, but beyond that, he seemed like one of a thousand dudes and I guess he must’ve sucked some strategic Jew dick to get to his spot as the King of the South.
Anyways, you probably already know this, but XXL is basically Spin magazine but just about hip hop – very PR-release sounding articles, boring interviews that just tell you what you already wanted to hear and nothing more or less. The intro where the editor dude bragged on how they were the best rap mag was funny to me, because I think basically every rap magazine’s intro nowadays talk about how they’re the best rap magazine going, with a couple of semi-veiled shots at the closest competition, from each individual editor’s delusional viewpoint. There was a giant indie vs. major article which just reinforced to me how every rapper is actually poor and also that there are far more than my previous guesstimate of five million aspiring rap superstars out there. I’d put it at like seven million now, with an additional three million undiscovered super-producers. The Houston thing was okay, and it’s hard to hate Paul Wall or Mike Jones because they both seem like such regular dudes who are just stoked to be doing what they’re doing. Slim Thug, on the other hand, always comes across as this Menace II Society-style character from the South, always mean-mugging and talking up his boss status and how he has thangs and no one could take them thangs even if they wanted them thangs and so on.
The best thing in this issue was the Joell Ortiz feature though. I slept on that dude’s CD a few months back when Mike Dikk was hyping it in the EWA 25, but since discovered him a bit more through the bootleg stand mixtape I got plus a couple more tracks that showed up on other things I got a hold of. I dig some Joell Ortiz, not only as throwback rapper with his head in the here-and-now, but also he seems like a genuine dude just into hip hop because he’s into it, as opposed to the crazy posturing and gimmickry, which has done just as much to kill rap sales in recent years as anything else. Too many rappers took on this WWE-mentality where they’re supposed to play a part and that’s all that people wanted. But that’s not all that people want; we want some shit that sounds real. I guess. It’s not like Joell Ortiz tore up the album charts, but I guess Dre already had him signed to Aftermath and cherry-picked the top few songs off The Brick (Bodega Chronicles) for next year’s Aftermath Ortiz release. So yeah, I guess if I’m feeling like I might have the flu and have to stop off for a couple lemons and some ginger root for tea, an XXL is not the worst thing to pick up at the Food Lion to thumb through as illness courses through my body as I lay on the couch hoping the antenna’s not too fuzzy to at least catch a Simpsons rerun at 11.

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