While The Source and XXL continue to battle for
Hip-Hop magazine supremacy as if they were Jay-Z and Nas, an upstart Brooklyn-based
publication is positioning itself to steal the show like 50 Cent.
In just over a year, The Ave Magazine has cultivated
an underground following with its mix of entertainment, news, and social commentary.
As a result, the first three issues of the quarterly have sold in the streets
as quickly as a G-Unit mixtape.
"What we’re doing hasn’t really been done
by another Hip-Hop magazine on a consistent basis," Editor-In-Chief Anslem
Samuel told AllHipHop.com. "We’re trying to fill in the gaps between the
magazines that are out there."
As a former editor at The Source and current
contributor to XXL, Samuel knows the competition all too well. The Ave Magazine,
however, isn’t patterned after any of his previous employers.
Samuel described the mag as resembling a Hip-Hop
Newsweek. Recent cover stories featuring Da Band ("Too Black for TV")
and Washington D.C. sniper Lee Malvo ("Juvenile Justice") corroborate
"It wasn’t about who was on the cover, it’s
the reason why they’re on the cover," Samuel explained of Da Band, whose
selection was heavily debated by his staff. "We all love the show [Making
the Band II], but we weren’t sure if Da Band was The Ave. I know people were
like, ‘They went from Raekwon and Sheek (Premiere Issue) to Da Band? They selling
out, they commercial.’ We had those concerns, but we really just stand behind
the story and the issues we brought up. That’s what we try to do."
Currently, The Ave Magazine is independently
published and available mainly in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. They also have
a deal with Tower Records, according to Samuel, that places the periodical in
limited stores across the country.
Despite the deal, Samuel said he’s cautious to
avoid any potential conflict between advertisers and the editorial team, which
the editor felt The Source might have fallen victim to.
"I don’t want to bad mouth, or come off
like it’s a bad mouth statement," he said. "Not directed to The Source,
[but] just in general, you’ll see it with a lot of artists. You might start
off and they’re as real as can be. But as you get more popular and get more
money, things change and you gotta deal with certain rules, you know, you have
more ‘friendships in the industry.’
"I try to be a diplomat with a lot of things.
I understand relationships and all that. But I still want to stay true to the
journalism of what we’re trying to do. That’s the main thing; don’t let politics
run your business."
The current issue of The Ave Magazine, featuring
Mobb Deep and Lee Malvo on the cover, is available now.