#DX15: Jeff "J-23" Ryce Recalls HipHopDX's First Breaking Story, Split With 2DopeBoyz

As part of our 15 year anniversary celebration, DX interviews music expert and first Editor-in-Chief, Jeff "J-23" Ryce.

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 2DopeBoyz.com, which he fully explains in this conversation.


Jeff Ryce Details HipHopDX's First Year




  • CBT Entity

    I remember looking at the editor in chief under contacts a little while ago and noticed the name of the person looked like it was different. I remember when AllHipHop pissed me off because when they were breaking in the industry in 2004, I became disgruntled with Steve Raze after they gave exposure to my song, but neglected my correct info to the point where I asked Steve Raze to take it down and give me my money back. So I started looking for other sites and came across here. Haven't really found how to get my music up after 1o years which is unfortunately but I didn't know there were so many editors-in-chief.

    • Justin Hunte

      Thank you for the comment, CBT Entity. You can submit music through Music@hiphopdx. Thank you for checking the piece.

  • San Diego Negro

    I remember when SOHH was number 1 and getting watered down and HHDX seemed to be more down to Earth and on point and that's when I started checking for HHDX more. Whatever happened to that one dude that used to write his editorials and call the comment section the "C-Section"? Can't remember his name but he used to piss everyone off. Dude was a master troll. I wanna say he was Nigerian, but I don't really remember. As for hip hop though. The shit really is dead. Nas called it a while back. The majority of the game now is corny af. Only a few really carrying the torch and coming with original styles, developed flows and good lyrics. For the most part dudes just recycle styles now. That and everybody is a rapper, producer or both these days. Smh.

    • Justin Hunte

      Thank you for the comment, San Diego Negro. If I'm not mistaken, you're referring to Meka. He ran a dope column called "Slap-Boxing With Jesus." We're running an interview with him this week. I see where you're coming from in regards to "Hip Hop." An artist I've idolized and respect told me the other week that he feels that "Hip Hop has jumped the shark." With all the Twitter-slapping going around, it's difficult to disagree. But even with that, I think Hip Hop is as dope as the individuals perspective. I get a scattering of wack emcees in my inbox, but I don't have any in my iPod. The biggest difference between "then" and "now" is volume. But the quality, the dopeness is still there. Thank you again for the checking the piece.

  • Anonymous

    I've been reading coming through this site from time to time since I first got the internet in 2000. Cool to hear the stories from behind the scenes. God Bless J-23 and all the other former staff in their future careers.

  • JR

    Thanks so much to you both. I would've been happy to just do it for myself, others enjoying my writing is more than I ever hoped for

  • kas

    I have been a daily visitor to DX since 2009. In fact I check DX around 10 times a day. J-23, man, I loved your insightful and incisive articles and reviews. Your Eminem reviews come to my mind when I think of your writing and how brilliantly you analyzed The Eminem Show and the Jay-Z albums. I think DX has become much less insightful since you left. The reviews have kind of become hit and miss for me. Some are really great, but some just aren't well researched or well written. Hopefully, DX will improve itself again. Seems much more commercial these days which is not good. Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I have always enjoyed your writing. It has been a delight learning about the culture from your voice.