Silent Treatment: The Endangered State Of The Hip Hop Interview

As today's Hip Hop superstars are not frequently speaking to the outlets that most cover them, who is to blame as the access is losing ground?

"Rhyme on the interlude / Nah on the interview." - Large Professor, "The Entrance"

Next Tuesday, Drake will release his sophomore studio album, Take Care. Like our peers, HipHopDX has been covering the release since it was announced exactly a year ago. Like most Hip Hop artists, particularly the most popular, we never stop covering Drake - his tours, his creative direction, his audio, video, and sometimes his tweets. Despite two separate attempts - including one at the request of Game's guest-editing this site in August, DX tried to secure a Drake interview. Once we were denied, and another time we were just ignored. Freedom of choice is a beautiful thing, but within lies a bigger question. Less than three years into his career, is it becoming conventional for artists to control their media? And if so, who is to blame?

The other day, I did a casual count and came to realize I have well over 350 Hip Hop interviews in the can. The "can" is really a shelf of Maxell cassette tapes stored in my mother's attic 307 miles away from me in Pittsburgh, which are added to anytime I journey home. These tapes date back to 2001 and 2002, and I'm proud that I am part of a class in Hip Hop journalism where the interview was more than a Reply Tweet or a flip-cam jammed in somebody's face on a Vh1 Hip Hop Honors red carpet. Still, the generation of writers before me, whom I hold in the highest regard, probably felt similarly about people like me who sat by the phone for hours upon hours and played the publicist game in hopes of getting the big fish on the line.

That's what this piece is about - the big ones.

"Lunches, brunches, interviews by the pool." - Notorious B.I.G., "Juicy"

In my early days as a writer, it was all a game, both with my peers and with the rappers. If you interviewed Obie Trice, you'd want to do such an amazing job that when Eminem hopefully read it, he actually might consider talking to you when he was ready. There were a lot of Quans on the way to Nas, and a lot of E. Nesses before you got anywhere near Diddy. Today, the whole game has changed. The best way, it seems, for me to get a Dr. Dre interview is to start frequenting Malibu steakhouse valet areas with a recorder and maybe an odd piece of memorabilia to spark a conversation. Even then, I wouldn't bet the ranch that Andre will give me more than three minutes till the kitted-Rover rounded the bend and he disappeared. A lot of rappers and label employees have blogs. Weed carriers and label folks who are supposed to secure media for actual press sometimes try to leapfrog legitimate journalists in getting an interview too. This leads to a lot of self-referential questions, and safe content. While Hip Hop is not dead, the state of the Hip Hop interview certainly might be.

The Hip Hop Rage Against The Media Machine

With the advent of Twitter, most writers' first question, "What's going on?" is irrelevant. We, the fans, are given that answer constantly - sometimes even during sex or drunk-driving, thanks to Diddy and Bow Wow. Album details are now released in a formulaic assembly line. First the title, then the release date, then the guests, then the cover art - and then, if it's actually a conversation piece, a full tracklisting with producers, so bootleggers have a compass for the week before planned release. The labels themselves love this formula, and squeaky-voiced marketing "execs" sell the actual brass on the idea that a project will get four or five times the promotional impressions, without a single ad dollar being spent and keeping the artist totally sanitized from the dirty press. If top outlets express interest, exceptions may be made, if proper print real estate is allocated (covers or added value in social media), and they demonstrate a laymen's knowledge of the subject, avoiding anything too controversial. The only interviews that still appear essential to big artists/execs are with radio personalities, who outside of a "what do you like about [insert city here?]" will be mostly used for drops, on an artist that's lucky if they even make 10pm mix-show.

Think I'm joking? I'm not.

I've watched it come to this. Lil Wayne used to do interviews with online media through Tha Carter II. Especially later on, they were edgy and outspoken, and essential to get the naysayers ready for Dr. Carter's emcee transplant. After that whole mixtape deejay/Foundation magazine fiasco in 2008, Wayne only wants to talk to MTV and Rolling Stone, and seemingly ESPN/Sports Illustrated - as many times as possible on the subject of everything but the music. If he does go to the Hip Hop community, count on Karen Civil, Wayne's devoted affiliate to get that score. From my vantage point, Karen's earned her place on Weezy's circle, but that doesn't replace access for the rest of us. Eminem knows how rare his interviews are - he granted one to a middle school student recently, a gesture that made my mouth drop. However, Em interviews are magazine sales spikes, and a gift not afforded to just anybody, including, to my astonishment, the website owned by Em's manager, Paul Rosenberg. I was convinced that whatever chance DX stood of an interview with Em was D.O.A. the day RapRadar.com launched. However, nothing really changed. My chances are still dead, so are almost everybody else's. Magazines have that market cornered.

Why Dr. Dre, Eminem And Kanye West Influenced Rappers To Avoid Press

Dr. Dre, Eminem and Jay-Z made it cool to be selective about the press. It appears they don't seem to even want to talk to The Source, even post-Benzino, a magazine that was integral to all three of their careers (at least in the '90s and before). I recall Dre's last Source cover, if not mistaken, the same August, 1999 issue Big L's "Day One" was the "Hip-Hop Quotable." Those interviews were exciting because they were the state of the union. In a slower moving world, that was the artist's annual chance to speak about their last project and their next, provide a tour of their surroundings, and see wherever else the conversation could go. Nowadays, E-40 has dropped four albums in less than a year, and seems to do a single press day on the lead-up, and maybe a few more if there's much to talk about after the album(s) are out.

However, most rappers are not Dr. Dre, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z or even Kanye West. Even Drake, who just two years ago was a mixtape sensation (and deservingly won 2009's HipHopDX Award for "Mixtape of the Year" for So Far Gone). I'm sorry, but no matter what the sales figures say, they have not earned those stripes. To hear "Drake is not doing press" throughout 2011 is simply outrageous. Drake is doing press. He just doesn't want any from traditional Hip Hop media, especially online. Instead, the singer-rapper and his management appear to be after GQ, Esquire and the big homies at Complex. However, the platinum break-out star of 2009 seems to feel no obligation or desire to talk to the outlets who cover him the other 11 months a year. It's not just Drake. J. Cole, who went from sending me personalized autographed records at Christmas, 2009 was unreachable at the time Cole World released. Kid Cudi was equally evasive on his sophomore campaign. Is it our fault?

"Look, I gotta give my own interview / Since niggas that do my interviews focus on the miniscule" - Joe Budden, "Move On"

When contemporary interviews aren't wack, they're often forced to be salicious. Days after the information was revealed that Rick Ross had worked as a correctional officer, DJ Vlad tried to get a comment. Reports indicate that he got a lot more than that, and a settlement happened. Last year, I recall trying to get Fat Joe, a 20 year affiliate, to provide me insight on what happened with Guru leaving Gang Starr, and the Terror Squad head immediately assumed I was digging for gossip regarding his relationship with Solar. I wasn't. The most talked about Wayne interview may go down as the one he walked away from. Even Game and MTVHive got into it over Lil B. These are the interviews we remember and often talk to our fellow Hip Hop fans about. They may not be the best, but the artists are constantly on guard, and things often get interesting.

Why Rappers Want To Avoid Interviews

I applaud the artists in Hip Hop who make it hard to earn to speak to them from jump. Jay Electronica for instance, dodges interviews with a Rick Rubin-like skill. That makes me admire the man more, at a time when many of his peers are seeking coverage, looking for interest. Most of what we have with Jay are his lyrics, and some erradic musings on Twitter to boot. I've been chasing Madlib for a decade. To my knowledge, outside of a foreign film documentary, Madlib has done two interviews. The Likwit Crew alum is too busy making Beat Konducta albums and shopping tracks to Jay-Z & Kanye West, Thom Yorke and Blu than to talk about it. That effect honestly makes me listen closer to his music, as its one of the only ways Madlib will ever communicate with me most likely. Funny enough, my fellow DX editor, Omar Burgess, a Los Angeles native, tells the story of crossing paths with a friendly and outgoing Madlib on a couple of occasions. He's not cocky, he's just not interested.

But my frustrations are mainstream. Madlib and Jay Electronica are rare exceptions.

For Watch The Throne Jay-Z and Kanye West refused - what seemed to be - all press. They wanted the attention on the music alone. I think that's great for Hip Hop, and both of those artists have a right, after 10 years of experience to do that. But just as Jay made other rappers throw away their jerseys and stop putting rims on the car, I sincerely hope that he (and 'Ye) don't make their vast sea of followers abandon the Hip Hop interview. With Decoded, Jay-Z was giving the kind of transparency in interviews to pop culture interviewers that devoted Rap journalists had salivated for years. Perhaps they earned it by asking thoughtful, probing and original questions with respect. Perhaps it seemed like a safer bet to Jay, knowing that Howard Stern wasn't going to dig into relationships with Dame Dash, DeHaven or Jaz-O. In any event, as the Hip Hop media evolves, it would be nice to carry on tradition properly. I constantly field requests about new artists seeking press at online Hip Hop - I first crossed paths with Lupe Fiasco, Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa at a time when they were all seeking pre-debut-album interviews. In these difficult times, it is very difficult to entertain the constant requests of "cover more new artists," when they often emerge to not need or want that coverage later on.

I applaud mainstream rappers who have bucked this trend. 50 Cent, Nas, Game, Wale, Nicki Minaj, Wiz, Royce Da 5'9 and a handful of others have impressed me this year, with their accessability. That's the world I grew up in, and that same freedom of choice should never go away, but nor should the insightful, informative Hip Hop interview. In the words of one of my favorite emcees, "It's step your game up time."

For whatever it's worth, I wanted to close this piece with my (remaining) Hip Hop Interview Bucket List (in no particular order):

1. Dr. Dre
2. Jay-Z
3. De La Soul
4. DJ Kool Herc
5. Suge Knight
6. Will Smith
7. Rick Rubin
8. King Tee
9. OutKast
10. Kanye West

Jake Paine is HipHopDX's Editor-in-Chief. He is a Pittsburgh native and longtime Philadelphia resident. In his 10 years working in the industry, he has contributed to XXL, The Source, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Forbes.com and other publications. Follow him on Twitter (@Citizen__Paine)

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62 Comments

  • roa78

    This seems to be an interesting article. Since urban music is at all all time LOW - how about not give any mainstream (hip-hop) artists interviews at all and instead concentrate on emerging artists and those who deserve the press and attention. Or even better - start a trend of not doing ANY interviews at all and maybe other media outlets will follow. It will weed out a lot of buffoonery, cut back on whack artists getting unnecessary attention, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, shift the paradigm of whack music popularity back to music with substance. Just my two cents :-)

  • publicist

    Funny article. I feel the same way about HipHopdx. As a publicist who's tried to get your site to feature quality Hip Hop artists (my clients) I've never even gotten a response from you, neither a yes or a polite no. But if my artist was Drake, you'd get back at me quick. Sounds like you've become what you claim to dislike!

    • DX FAM A LAM

      There are emails posted on DX that ensure a response. If you're clients are starting out, interviews aren't warranted. It's a consistent reality.

  • Name

    If you're wondering what's the problem here, you're a moronic robot of a fan. These pampered pricks used to survive on the promotion of interviews - it was a mutual exchange of promotion, in fact. But since pop has merged with hip-hop, execs know fans have become more focused on the image, and thus unquestioning enough to buy whatever is lobbed their way. Don't believe me? Everyone's siding with the artists. Whenever an artists whines "fuck a critic" or some rubbish because they lazily released a crap album hoping to quickly drain some money off their fans, you probably didn't side with them. Critics are there to make sure fans don't buy artist's stuff whenever they get lazy, and of course make their own living. Music journalists live off artists, but now the utter inability of the fans to think for themselves has put us in a dark new era. For instance, look at the person below. Utterly dedicated to the image of Drake, he believes that Drake "doesn't owe" the website anything, also whining about their being adverts as though this makes the website no longer "down to earth straight for the fans"... Ads fund websites. If you (ciph3r) e-mail the person who runs the site right now and set up a paypal deal in order to fund the website with your pocket money or paper round wages, then maybe you have an argument. But when you grow up a bit maybe you'll see things for what they actually are. In the meantime, think before you type. By the way, Drake is very much indicative of the problem here. Hip-hop journalists and critics are generally tough - if you're lazy, they will see right through you, especially any of the PR rubbish that you put out about how good your stuff is (Drake does this loads). Drake is incredibly lazy - he could not care less about the fans, this is shown by his unwillingness to interact with journalists and therefore the fans, and his slurred, autotuned, lazy output shows it as well. Fans: Rappers would have you believe that journalists and reviewers are the enemy. THEY are whining because they are too lazy to make a good album that you'll inevitably pay for, and don't want to get exposed. Don't believe the hype.

  • ciph3r

    hahaha look at hhdx gettin all butthurt cus drake wont give um the time of day. whether u think he has earned those stripes is irrelevant. the point is you guys whent from a down to earth straight for the fans website.. now theres ads on every single page. Drake is set to sell anywhere from 300,000-1,000,000 units what does he owe you? viewers on this site never give him the credit he deserves anyways. quit qouting biggy that was a different era time/mind frame believe you me he would be the same way now to a website like this. i love hhdx but this makes you sound like a whiney bunch of pussies

  • thought dog

    This whole editorial is stupid...This is like Hitler writing an article asking why Jews hate him so much. Maybe if journalists didnt misquote artists and sensationlize bullshit so much they might still grant interviews.

  • Name

    If you're wondering what's the problem here, you're a moronic robot of a fan. These pampered pricks used to survive on the promotion of interviews - it was a mutual exchange of promotion, in fact. But since pop has merged with hip-hop, execs know fans have become more focused on the image, and thus unquestioning enough to buy whatever is lobbed their way. Don't believe me? Everyone's siding with the artists. Whenever an artists whines "fuck a critic" or some rubbish because they lazily released a crap album hoping to quickly drain some money off their fans, you probably didn't side with them. Critics are there to make sure fans don't buy artist's stuff whenever they get lazy, and of course make their own living. Music journalists live off artists, but now the utter inability of the fans to think for themselves has put us in a dark new era. Well done...

  • Name

    If you're wondering what's the problem here, you're a moronic robot of a fan. These pampered pricks used to survive on the promotion of interviews - it was a mutual exchange of promotion, in fact. But since pop has merged with hip-hop, execs know fans have become more focused on the image, and thus unquestioning enough to buy whatever is lobbed their way. Don't believe me? Everyone's siding with the artists. Whenever an artists whines "fuck a critic" or some rubbish because they lazily released a crap album hoping to quickly drain some money off their fans, you probably didn't side with them. Critics are there to make sure fans don't buy artist's stuff whenever they get lazy, and of course make their own living. Music journalists live off artists, but now the utter inability of the fans to think for themselves has put us in a dark new era. Well done..

  • Name

    If you're wondering what's the problem here, you're a moronic robot of a fan. These pampered pricks used to survive on the promotion of interviews - it was a mutual exchange of promotion, in fact. But since pop has merged with hip-hop, execs know fans have become more focused on the image, and thus unquestioning enough to buy whatever is lobbed their way. Don't believe me? Everyone's siding with the artists. Whenever an artists whines "fuck a critic" or some rubbish because they lazily released a crap album hoping to quickly drain some money off their fans, you probably didn't side with them. Critics are there to make sure fans don't buy artist's stuff whenever they get lazy, and of course make their own living. Music journalists live off artists, but now the utter inability of the fans to think for themselves has put us in a dark new era. Well done. Again.

  • Name

    If you're wondering what's the problem here, you're a moronic robot of a fan. These pampered pricks used to survive on the promotion of interviews - it was a mutual exchange of promotion, in fact. But since pop has merged with hip-hop, execs know fans have become more focused on the image, and thus unquestioning enough to buy whatever is lobbed their way. Don't believe me? Everyone's siding with the artists. Whenever an artists whines "fuck a critic" or some rubbish because they lazily released a crap album hoping to quickly drain some money off their fans, you probably didn't side with them. Critics are there to make sure fans don't buy artist's stuff whenever they get lazy, and of course make their own living. Music journalists live off artists, but now the utter inability of the fans to think for themselves has put us in a dark new era. Well done.

  • Anonymous

    How many times have artists done interviews just to have their words taken out of context and made to look like fools for the sake of journalists and publishers selling a few more copies Social Media like twitter & facebook made it possible for the artist to speak directly to the audience without having to live in fear about what line your gonna capitalize and put on the cover to make it look 150% diffrent then it was intended Blame yourselves. no one trust journalist because you engage in deceptive practices and manipulate peoples words to help forward your own careers....... Now the Internet has made you obsolete Go stand in line with the people who own record stores and reminisce about the days when you were relevant

  • stop sucking cock

    this country/world needs to stop sucking cock. Stop paying assholes on tv, stop talking about assholes you don't know. Stop being a journalist, stop trying to interview people, stop serving the system, stop being a ball sucker, stop being a cock gobbler, stop being a sucker to the TV, stop being a sucker to mainstream media, stop being part of the media, stop looking up to assholes who don't know you, stop sucking cock, stop gobbling down balls, stop trying to serve the system, stop sucking a rapper's cock by buying their album, stop chewing on a movie star's balls by buying their movies, stop sucking up to the news stations, stop being a bunch of gossiping ball suckers, stop serving the fucking man, stop with the interview shit, stop praising stupid assholes and the #1 thing is stop paying assholes on tv. motherfuckers need lives. not living your life through some asshole you saw on tv, just waiting for your moment to serve the system and be a part of the corrupt system. Take the cock outta your mouth america. fucking ball lickers.

  • Anonymous

    I see this article as catharsis for the writer. It seems like things done changed and in his opinion- not for the better. I don't think we have much exposure to the hip-hop scene other than a friend of ours who flows at parties, so to get a glimpse into the hip-hop environment is enlightening. That's why I like interviews- they give you insight into an artist. Their world is different from ours. Their music is a synthesis of all of their influences: food, smells, thoughts, feelings, that one time you daydreamed, as well as up and coming producers, other pieces of art: literature, paintings, cinema. All of these things float around in an artist's mind and good interviews to a good job extracting all of these separate things and having the artist explain the intimacy or lack thereof of these things to him. I only "research" an artist if I like them. Once I do, I listen to interviews or read them and I'm happy if they surprise me with witty connections or the like. That makes me like them more. I already know they're talented, I listen to the music, but the interview fleshes out another side the music doesn't show. If I paint am I a painter? Not everything you do is necessarily who you are. Pigeonholing artists into their music is unfair. They have other sides to them to, and interviews show us that side.

  • DrectMoody

    This whole article is corny. You called to talk to Drake, he said no, and you called him again? LOL..like a cry to rappers "please let me ask you some questions" lol..

  • silentturd

    CHECK THIS OUT AND LET ME KNO WHAT YALL THINK http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGrQ7w_Z5dw GOT MORE ON MY CHANNEL AS WELL http://www.youtube.com/user/trollingmusick

  • MPistol

    Just be honest - what has an interview ever really done for or against the music that was sold? Thats the real question these artists are asking themselves. Especially established artists. I mean we all know who the fuck Kanye West is! Jay-Z, Dre, etc. I don't need an interview from Dr. fuckin Dre to know the dude is this "perfectionist" I honestly don't even give a shit about him personally - either drop an album that YOU SAID YOU WERE GONNA DROP - or shut the fuck up. It's not like, as fans, we even ask for this shit. You're an artist, do your art. And why the fuck do things for fans? Fuck em. I don't listen to an artist cuz I want to hear what I want to hear. I listen to an artist for what THEY have to say. I mean change my fuckin mind about things, fuckin inspire me!!! Gimme something to have a sit down with my homie and be like "yo, this shit he said right here, kinda changed how I look at things." That is power. Power is not feeding into the masses and doing what they say, thats stupid. Further more, music critics are the most useless souls on earth. RARELY are they ever correct or even in the right context when they speak on an album. Ya know hip-hop is a culture, it's not music, it's how I fuckn LIVE!! I bring this attitude where I go, where I work, and in every conversation I have. It sure as shit NEVER started because of some lame interview. It started from taking that first breath of hip-hop. A complete sound, scene, structure. I mean think about it, when you first heard Rakim, did you fuckin need an interview to understand this man? Hell no. So screw the interview. Or interview people who have shit to say. Lil Wayne yo? GTFO - I mean what is he gonna say in an interview that his music doesn't say? You want to preserve the interview? Then interview the artists that are still struggling for country wide recognition. Like Eternia, Ill Poetic, whoever........ whatever......

  • soopa

    "Despite two separate attempts - including one at the request of Game's guest-editing this site in August, DX tried to secure a Drake interview" Maybe if you ironed out grammatical errors like this one you'd get better interviews.

  • Joey Ogoley

    So heres the thing, people are gonna get stuck on when i said "he can match lyrically with every one out right now", because people don't know how to critique hip hop. Drake's subject preference in his raps are different than most artist nowadays, just because he's not talking about coming up from the gutter, or being hard doesn't mean he's not a good rapper. Would you rather have him be fake like half of these artists and try to be someone he's not. Think of why you hate on drake, because he makes poppy music and because he sings. Well, like I said he can rap as well as anyone out, and on top of that he's a phenomenal singer. The reason they don't talk to interviews is because interviewers try to get the worst out of the artists and try to get them to slip up and say some dumb shit. There not assholes, they just have a better use for their time.

  • phillychick

    I love this article. i always thought why (lil wayne and drake particularly) shun hip hop sies and mags. i was taken aback a few weeks ago when Frank Ocean refused to talk to media. what did media do to you, further , what did we, the fans do? arrogant artists forget that WE make them millionaires. a little Q&A wont hurt. it really boggles the mind. and they wonder why we dont buy music anymore.

    • Andre

      Well they give you concerts to go and see them and music you pay for or dont. Its your option to buy the music or not. The artist is not forcing you to buy there music, so why the fuck are you bitching about that. Seriously not to generalize, but the media distorts words and takes quotes out of context all the time... Look what happen to BIG and Pac a lot of what happened was perpetuated by the media outlets. So its a trust thing, they dont want these editors to control what they say. Thats why artist dont do as many interviews as they used to.

  • Schweinepriester Helmut Smith

    Rapmagazines died a long time ago with all the gossip and irrelevant news. Same thing might happen to you and this page, Jake. The artists use Facebook, Twitter or MySpace to contact their fans about the latest shit happening, so who needs a person asking the wrong questions? The right questions might make it a good read and also interesting for the artist. And its useless to ask these newschool-cats the same questions over and over. The best interviews on this page took place with artists who disappeared for a while and then came back with actually something to say. Beef is no news just like idiots getting arrested for the same shit.

  • NoMedication

    these dudes want to seem larger than life. the more we make them infamous the bigger they will appear to their fans. u dudes jus rap for a living, u not that big of a deal!

  • Anonymous

    Social Networking made you obsolete, anything Drake has to say, he could say directly to the 2 million people following him on twitter Now you know how the people who own record stores feel Count one more death at the hands of the internet Technology will put us all out of work eventually, lol

  • Imperial Carter

    i feel dude. cuz i run a internet radio show Fly Boy Radio. Last month we sat down with Murs & Tabi Bonney of the BluRoc/DD172. I've contacted several artists, most of them independent, to no avail. The only artist that gave me reply was the Weekend, and that was to say that he wasn't dong press. I can respect that, at least he bothered with a response. But the rest of these guys are getting too big for themselves.

  • Anonymous

    For Years, the hip hop magazines blew things out of proportion, ran headlines that were misleading and exaggerated facts to make there headlines seem more dramatic East Coast vs West Coast = The press and then they'll ask a rapper some sideways question like, "Hey Drake, the new Kanye album wasnt very good was it" and then run the headline "DRAKE DISSES KANYE WEST, READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!" Good riddance

  • Joey Ogoley

    These motherfuckers made this article partially to target drake and that is fact. Search drake in your find option on your browser. All theytry to do it make him look like a rookie who is a self-proclaimed legend. But in reality he is. Outdoing every new artist these days. He can match lyrically with every artist out, and then look at melodies, be real.

    • philly

      i like drake. jay. ye em all earned their stripes. drake should not get to big for his britches, but i blame lil wayne for that cause wayne already is too big for his britches. i dunno why anyone care bout what wayne says anyway(interview or album) cause its all incoherent

    • Fado

      "He can match lyrically with every artist out", thats where you lost me.....

    • ThatKidWithTheCrown

      Lololololololol Sit your ass down, boy.

  • jg

    i usually enjoy these editorials, but therea a lot more that they could have written about this is irelevant to those of us who arent journalists

  • Mack

    As a journalist, I understand your article but it's kind of self serving. The point of it is to have interviews granted to YOU. It comes off as a fan's wish list to interview their favorite rapper, but using a high horse "they should provide media access" as a pretext. As a hip hop head and observer, its obvious why rappers don't grant interviews as they used to. Theres always been a love hate relationship with the press, since the days back when some Wu Tang member punched a writer at the Source or Wyclef pulled a pistol on one, etc..Now they can tweet stuff without an editorial staff highlighting the most "controversial" part of the article, twisting their words, or using the intro paragraph to shit on them. Also bring up diss records they don't care about, or even starting beefs by asking them what they think about so and so, some rapper or some fight that happened between rappers. I cant remember whens the last time I read an article where they ask the rapper how he writes, what inspires him..unless its with an older rapper discussing an old album like that black sheep piece a while back

    • B.Dot

      Self serving??? I doubt it. Just a honest written piece it looks like to me. Dude has a point. I mean he has been pretty accomplished over the years and most of his interviews are well written.

  • HRH

    I think all the publicist are connected to their Jewish cousins in the media, and have been instructed since their birth to only associate with fellow their fellow Jewish. It sure looks like this, but hey... maybe it's just another odd coincidence?

  • Dre Parker

    I think one the reasons why they "avoid" the Hip Hop media is because they tend to keep bringing stuff that Rappers are trying to move away from. Like for example Beef, nowadays Rappers tend to avoid beef but everytime they have an interview its always "what do you think of the beef between you and that other dude"; "So-so just dissed you, what do you have to say?"! Its like that Lil Wayne - JayZ "Beef", Everyone tried to froget it but the media just kept bringing it up!!

  • Daniel

    Are you joking. Let us be very real about this. It is so simple why they avoid you. Why would they give an interview, thereby promoting, a site who let people listen to a product they wan't people to buy. Also half of you guys post unfinished reference tracks while posting tracks messing up marketing plans and costing them money. How does them giving an interview to you help them, it just encourages people not to buy their shit. Also some websites, granted not DX, post gossip and rumour which is an embarrassment - why would any artist want to support this. Finally when an artist has twitter, a website and a facebook he does not need a external website to cover him he pretty much has a big enough web presence to have that form of media on lock. TV, Radio and Magazines are a little different. TV helps to bring national exposure, radio regional and magazines you can tap into a niche market (whether they choose to talk to a hiphop mag largely depends on trust, and how much they need that market). As for artists that buck the trend do not have a general theory on that yet, but the ones you mentioned 50 Cent, Nas, Game, Wale, Nicki Minaj, Wiz, Royce Da 5'9 - I get the impression these guys really like hip hop and in some cases just love music. They respect it, and don't do it JUST for the money, the power or the fame. For Nas this is a bit different, he has nothing else other than hiphop heads, they loyal to him and he needs to repay them.

  • D-Money

    As a bourgeoning Northwest hip-hop journalist, I for one am disgusted in the interview dodging influence that the big names have created. The hip-hop star today is streamlining themselves as an artist only and keeping their real personality a mystery. Not coincidently, hip-hop sales in everything including albums continues it's decline. I'm not a country or rock fan, but guess what? Theirs aren't. Their bands and solo artists are more human and flawed individuals which endear their fans to them. By artists refusing legitimate outtlets that want to showcase artists as more than just people who record music and get into what really makes them tick psychologically, they are shooting themselves in the foot. People buy what they are familiar with and buzz can only do much. If an artist declares themselves as being above someone than they will lose that support that which gives them the notoriety and buzz that which they're indebted to. Simply put the interview is an engine to make you look human. If you really want someone to buy the album than explain to the media that would the spotlight on you in their interview on you. Tha Carter IV and Watch the Throne would have sold a lot more records if that personal connection was made with various high profile media outtlets. If you're an artist and you don't care about what people think than you simularly don't care about your sales. I know I won't buy your album if you don't care about it. Not worth my investment.

  • JayDoubL

    Good points... in addition to the earlier post that mentioned that bloggers arent journalists... true. And since they are not, they need to step the game up.. Its natural for a newcomer to crave your press, but they get it when they are affiliated with a major or have a buzz already for the most part. most known bloggers follow a bandwagon of the news...and post the same things... Granted the known names assure clicks and views... No main blogg has broken to be the "apple" of bloggers. Focus on the art of music, from new folks.. break em' and they'll come back, coz u r truly a part of their success.. Also, not all the current artists can articulate a conversation less grant a meaningful interview... case in point Waka flocka geometry degree talk at BET. Ultimately, u are the media and u have the power to make and break.. its kinda wierd its the other way round... There are tonnes of new artists posting interesting videos everyday on youtube... what are you doing to get to those guys and interview them?? or you are just going to wait for the new signee from Def Jam or RCA to conduct an interview..

  • suga89451

    or u can do interviews and not be an attention whore...tech n9ne does it perfectly...then again wat doesnt tech n9ne do right

    • BlazeDatIshUp

      I don't know the whole story about Tech N9ne, but I do know he's a dope rapper, and you gotta be an idiot to think otherwise. I'll likely look up a lot more info on him though, cuz I always read up on my fav rappers. One thing I do know is he'd run circles around most of these rappers out now with ease.

    • @RadioRebels

      Baz you said it. I just interviewed Tech yesterday. he's had a hard go of it and he doesn't hesitate to tell you about it. it was the best interview I have had. he was down to earth, cool to speak on anything, and as he put it during "I'm to much TMI sometimes" which was perfect because he lead the interview and we basically just had a regular everyday conversation.

    • BAZ

      What and then get called a devil worshipper again? Tech N9ne has to be one of the most misunderstood rappers in the game. I blame the Major labels for spreading bullshit about N9ne through the media. The media is a double edged sword, it can make you and break you. Don't get it twisted N9ne is a smart businessman and a great MC besides if you ever read about N9ne's life you'll see how badly he's been fucked by the industry. Young need to listen All 6s & 7s son. One of the best albums of the year.

    • the Doc

      i can name a few: Be a good rapper Be a break through rapper Get media attention Reach out to a larger fan base

  • IDK

    After reading this article, one thing pops up in my head: misinformation (or misquoting). I guess some hip-hop artists (or some celebrities, in general) don't want their words to get twisted or taken out of context, so they kept themselves from getting interviewed. I may be way off and incorrect, but that's what popped up in my head.

  • Ozep

    I think there is more going on then just tough questions. I mean T.I does Howard Stern and that guy doesn't give safe interivews. You ask a actor the worst thing about press for a movie is having to do interviews with like 20+ different people and they all ask the SAME questions. hours of that gets dull. FM radio interviews with rappers or any artist for that matter are very safe and questions out of the norm are usually about stupid shit. I think rappers would have no problem with tough questions but we do have a "gotcha saying something stupid lets ruin your career" factor in the media happening all the time

  • Njck Atkins

    it's getting to the point that rap pretty much sucks. the radio sucks, even legit online spots are reduced to covering the garbage and I gotta sort thru all that to read the decent articles. the most important thing to me now (and really always) on a hip-hop website is a comprehensive list of release dates

  • Henry Rembert

    These artists no longer want to get called on their bullshit. The best interviews to me are when they paint the artist as a three dimensional person with complexities and contradictions, that makes them interesting to me. I think most of the "mainstream" artists don't like getting painted in a negative light but I feel its the journalist job/responsibility to write what they observe whether the artists agrees with it or not.

  • Rocky

    you have to blame hip-hop "bloggers". far too many have no real journalism experience. they get the opportunity to interview a respected rapper and are nervous, awkward, ask stupid questions, get on some groupie shit and worse, go straight to the gossipy bullshit questions. I've worked with DX for previous artist and you guys are straight. You just have to make sure you separate yourselves from everyday bloggers to Label/PR/Management folk.

  • emass

    Drake is a bitter..he still mad at sylvia rhone,a lot of women and his doubters on his way up.This is his revenge..The only time he's confident is when he rhymes..so he'd crack in a real no holds bar interview..he can't even handle @Hexmurda and BigGhostface on twitter and they Cook him every day. Rappers these day are all studio and no street. The Kids from the Suburbs identify with Drake because they feel like Outcast too..

  • yaboyc

    Great piece man...keep doing your thing nothing beats persistence

  • Rachael Misek

    I'll tell you why Headliner names won't do real interviews, because they might get caught up with real questions, and the truth is, the majority of their lyrics, are not even written either BY them or ABOUT them...they are internet gangsters running around harassing normal people to make an album because they sold all the gold they had inside a long time ago. This is why there aren't any hip hop interviews, they don't know what they are talking about on their albums without someone telling them what they said. PERIOD.

    • juicedUP

      Well they are smart enough to make music for a living and be revered as "celebrities." Smart enough to not get stuck in every interview with johnny pen-and-pad to be asked the same question about their beef, jail time, and favorite color. Get real

    • Adrian A Classic Joseph

      You seem to know a lot about the inner workings of the industry, but you're tone is very aggressive and you are lambasting all headline acts, I won't peruse further just thought I'd point a few things out. I don't agree with you by the way.