HipHopDX celebrated a significant milestone this year. It’s been 15 years since Sharath Cherian launched the publication out of his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Over that time, there have been five Editors-in-Chief, seven different versions of DX, and a gaggle of incredible articles written by a generation of talented journalists. The online journalism landscape has changed significantly. The Internet is infinitely more crowded. A decade-and-a-half is impossible to document in one non-book-length conversation, so we’ve decided to provide an extended glimpse into the history of HipHopDX throughout the week. Over the next week, we’ll release interviews with previous DX Editor-in-Chiefs, key staff members as well as Cheri Media CEO and the founder of DX, Sharath Cherian. Each delivers a compelling peek into the publication’s legacy within a constantly morphing journalistic landscape.  

Up next, Jeff "J-23" Ryce has been an integral part of just about everything that has ever happened to HipHopDX. He began writing for the site in 1999, six months after launch. As he describes in this interview, he was upset by how poorly a Funkmaster Flex album review was written and emailed his complaint to the site's founder. 

"Sharath replied pretty much right away," J-23 explains. "I think we had a little bit of a back-and-forth first, one thing led to another, and all of a sudden I was writing a review for HipHopDX. You always wonder if these things are meant to be. I’m not the type to do that sort of thing [where] you write and complain. That’s just not typically what I do. So the fact that I did it there and it led to a big part of my life for 10-plus years was a little bit strange to me."

In the decade-plus to follow, not only would J-23 become one of the site's most penetrating and popular voices, but he was integral in the crucial hiring of Andreas Hale (which set up DX's "Blog Era"). Ryce was also the spark that led to the creation of, which he fully explains in this conversation.


Jeff Ryce Details HipHopDX's First Year