There is that final scene in Martin Scorsese‘s Casino, where an all-but-blind Robert DeNiro has walked away from his casino empire to become what he was in the beginning: a gambler. Perhaps there is a parallel there in the career of Jonathan Shecter.
Shecter was one of the founders of The Source magazine, the “Bible of Hip Hop,” and he was instrumental in getting the magazine from dorm-room periodical to something that was carried at 7-Eleven, and back then, every significant record store chain. By 1995, when the purists say the music soured, Shecter left the empire, presumably with plenty of chips to cash in.
In the years since, Jon has launched numerous companies, many in the online space. Among them, Game Recordings, a single-specializing label that was instrumental in the careers of Royce Da 5’9″ as well as Purple City‘s Agallah, in addition to Hip Hop Honeys, a DVD series that mixed softcore pornography with a Hip Hop edge. Today, he helps deejays including AM and Mark Ronson earn top dollar with Las Vegas gigs.
Today though, the ’88er is a self-taught poker fanatic. As HipHopDX revisits some instrumental people in the Hip Hop publishing industry, Jonathan Shecter says that no matter what the hustle is, you’ve got to gamble smart.
HipHopDX: You started your career in traditional publishing with the Source magazine in 1988. The publishing game has had to change with the start of the Internet. How do you see the traditional publishing game going in the future? Will only a handful of magazines be able to exist?
Jonathan Shecter: You know it