Before Twitter, Instagram and blogs were the preferred source of entertainment news, journalists had to get out there and grind to get the scoop. Much like The Breaks character Damita Alonzo, a reporter from The Village Voice trying to bring this brand new genre to the forefront, The OG’s of hip hop journalism had to hustle (and catch some beef along the way) to get ahead.
Behind The Breaks host Sway Calloway sat down with VIBE Editor-In-Chief Datwon Thomas, former Source Magazine EIC Kim Osorio, and The Breaks co-creator Dan Charnas for their take on just how true-to-life Damita’s journey in early 90’s hip hop print journalism is. After all, they all got their start in the early 90’s, too.
“Before [The Source Magazine], the only places where you could see serious hip hop journalism were in Spin Magazine which was an alternative rock magazine, and the Village Voice out of New York,” Dan explains about the turning point for the evolution of hip hop scribes.
Though all three of these talented writers were lucky enough to break the mold by working for some of the first hip hop-centric magazines, that sometimes came with a price. Datwon remembers running into one of his interview subjects at a busy NYC nightclub only for said artist to try to set it off with him over the profile he wrote. Kim had an artist slash her tires over a feature. Clearly, Erykah Badu wasn’t lying… artists really are sensitive about their sh-t.
“It’s interesting, that relationship between journalists and artists,” Dan reflects. “You have artists who make a career out of talking real tough, but they get real thin skinned and sensitive when it comes to the work of journalists. So it’s an interesting relationship between poetry and prose…we kinda do what they do on a different level. We care about them and they care about us.”
Check out the rest of the interview above!
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