As a seasoned journalist who first put pen to pad in nationally distributed publications back in 1998, it still feels great to talk to artists who are genuinely just as excited about hip-hop. Students of the game who not only appreciate the music, but ones who are committed to moving the culture forward. That’s the mind-set I was in when I got passed the baton to transition into the editor-in-chief position here at RESPECT., and that’s the premise of what shaped this issue’s game plan.
As we began to conceptualize the starting lineup to set off my head-coaching debut, I personally took the initiative to check the scouting report thoroughly to best prepare us for the draft. With our first and second picks of primetime players, RESPECT. magazine selected Ty Dolla $ign and B.o.B Although these two immediately showed they’ve had great chemistry ever since their initial collaboration on Ty’s 2013 breakout smash, “Paranoid,” the reason we chose these guys to play up-front at the four and five is because of their extremely high music IQs. Based on appearance, these guys fit the physical description of your stereotypical rap artists who could possibly be clever enough to write tolerable rhymes and an occasional catchy hook. But truth be told, these are a couple of the most talented, multi-instrument-playing, well-versed musicians in the game; hence the work history with top artists such as Kanye West, T.I., Eminem, 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa. The conversations between these guys while digging in the crates at Wax n’ Facts record store in Atlanta were priceless.
With the number three pick, the editorial staff scooped up Rapsody, one of hip-hop’s most precious conscious daughters. Rap has proven she has the capabilities to spar hard with her male counterparts, and at the three position, our North Carolina star has been scoring major points since blessing a verse on Kendrick Lamar’s amazing To Pimp a Butterfly LP. Speaking of pimps, couldn’t resist scooping up sir Too $hort with the fourth selection. It was refreshing to ask our swingman what it was like to go out on tour with N.W.A. back in 1989. Ironically, I actually caught the West Coast all-stars that year during their stop at the Norfolk Scope in Virginia. The final pick was Wu-Tang lyrical assassin Raekwon the Chef. Still arguably one of nicest emcees dead or alive, the court vision and veteran experience make for the best player to handle the rock.
Much love goes to our featured photographers—Jessica Lehrman, LaVan Anderson and David Cabrera—for sharing your world with us. Ian Stonebrook and Nice Kicks, we appreciate your style. My POV representers, the entire team at Wish ATL, Chris Clayborne, Tresa Sanders, Tice Merriweather, the 40/40 Club and my sis Echo Hattix for always holding me down. Salute to Kris Ex, Elliott Wilson, and my brother from another mother, Datwon Thomas, the previous magazine editors who’ve paved the way. And last but not least, Ethan, Evan, Rachelle, Kali, Morgan, Darren, Trevor, Jasmina and the rest of our editorial staff and interns: Thanks for being patient with me. It’ll get easier.
Issue Inspiration: My baby girl, my wife, my mother, Kris Parker, Brad Jordan, TPAB, and Kirk Mayes for helping me buy time when I needed it the most. #f*ckcancer
On sale May 12th!
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