No offense to the dude (getting to Night of the Gun soon, I promise), but it seemed unlikely that Mr. Carr would supply perhaps the most comprehensive and tender-hearted Vibe epitaph not delivered on Twitter. But his Times piece gets at what made the mag so important to both hip-hop and the NY music-mag landscape:
In the current context — a black president, rap stars so ubiquitous even your mom knows who 50 Cent is, pop songs that feature drive-bys from the M.C.’s of the moment — Vibe would seem less necessary. But it’s worth remembering what an easy target rap was in the culture wars of the early ’90s; Vibe did not sanitize rap so much as give it its cultural due. If there were no Vibe, contemporary black music and culture would not be quite so writ into the mainstream. Sixteen years ago black pop musicians may have been moving records and booties, but few got the A-list treatment in major magazines, at least not until Vibe. Those artists usually had to be huge to earn the cover at other publications, but Vibe took an interest in both the nascent and the known.
Meanwhile, we’ll wait to if Quincy Jones’ loose talk of a resurrection leads anywhere and actually enjoy Vibe‘s last issue, a dignity not extended to Blender, alas. Not sure if this is a good thing for The-Dream or not.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 2, 2009