It's hard to argue with the first part, but the second half of his statement is more troubling. Former editor Ratcliffe (who now heads up Smooth, a King-like men's magazine) says that in spite of The Source's recent editorial successes, readers have stopped paying attention.
"Mays is a very smart man. He created the most important urban magazine in 15 years. But he and Benzino need to look at themselves with honest eyes," he says. "The Source is a shadow of itself. But even if its brand doesn't have the same luster it once had, it's still strong. But as long as you have Mays and Scott the industry will always look at them as the problem, even if their message is good."
Mays and Scott may have to jump ship in order to save The Source. "They opened the gates for the hip-hop lifestylethey legitimized it," says Dr. Samir A. Husni, chair of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi. "But when the giant reaches the top of the mountain and hides his head in the clouds, he cannot see what's going on on the ground."
If Mays and Scott do get knocked out, there are plenty of takers. Hip-hop deal maker Steve Stoute told Hot 97 he'd like to take over, and Jay-Z's name has floated about. Still, Mays and Scott are going down fightingin the courts and perhaps in the street.
Meanwhile, Source Enterprises has christened two foreign-language versionsThe Source Latino and Nouveau the Source (French). Judging from recent events, at The Source and abroad, a magazine devoted to thug activism might be a lucrative export.