Best local zine (2008)

Wax Poetics

Wax Poetics barely qualifies as a zine in the classic stapled-together-rant-scrawled-in-crayon-on-wide-ruled-notebook-paper sense of the word. The Brooklyn-based hip-hop mag's combination of slick design, rare photography, and book-quality binding makes it look prettier and classier than the trashy mainstream hip-hop rags its insightful, inspired commentary consistently embarrasses. Started in late 2002, Wax Poetics is now 18 issues old, with artist tributes ranging from classic icons (covers stars Bill Withers, Isaac Hayes, and Roy Ayers) to more recent hip-hop heroes (this summer's stellar J-Dilla/Public Enemy split). The writers speak with encyclopedic but passionate authority on hip-hop, soul, funk, Afropop, and beyond, past and present, with enough depth to lure in crate-digging DJs thirsting for deep cuts but sufficient clarity to enamor the uninitiated curious about, say, the Meters or big-shot session drummer Bernard Purdie. Check out for more info and back issues—especially the gold-laced cover from spring '04. Let's see The Source pull that one off.


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