Recently it had been reported that the newly elected board of director’s for the self proclaimed “Hip Hop Bible”, The Source magazine had made a move to try and fire founder Dave Mays and partner Ray “Benzino” Scott. This action was blocked by a temporary restraining order issued by the New Jersey Superior Court. Today, the order was lifted and the axe fell.
The lawyer for Mays and Scott issued a statement last week that his clients didn’t recognize the new board as being legit. Apparently, that viewpoint doesn’t hold much weight. The new board includes Earl Graves Jr., the CEO of Black Enterprise, Ivan Hopkins, Jeffrey Scott and Ed Williams. The board came into existence about four years ago, when Black Enterprise Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Partners, a private-equity firm controlled by the Graves family, made a $12 million investment in The Source and Providence, R.I.-based Textron Financial Corp., loaned the magazine $18 million. Textron Financial was brought into the fold by the Graves Family.
Jeremy Miller, current publisher of Down magazine and previously the COO at The Source, was officially named the new president and CEO of The Source magazine.
Miller has commented that he plans to attempt to help The Source magazine regain it’s once respected status in the Hip Hop community.
For years there has been controversy and grumbling from the industry and Hip Hop fans alike about the way Mays and Scott have been running The Source. Numerous news reports about what goes on behind the doors of the magazine have been published exposing “not quite right” behavior against employees as well. Also in the news has been several high profile beefs with other members of industry; such as Eminem and Ozone Magazine owner JB whom Benzino left a very nasty voicemail message to in response to a published article by them labeling Benzino as “The Most Succesful Extortionist”. In response, Ozone has place the audio on the net for all the world to hear. Shameful language there Ray tsk tsk. (Listen to the Voicemail message)
ChronicMagazine.com reported that:
Despite the board action, Mays and Scott are still pursuing another action in New Jersey, claiming the new board illegally seized control of the company. As of late yesterday, Mays remained in the company’s new office at 11 Broadway.
Textron in October claimed that The Source had defaulted on its loan and sought to have the New York State Supreme Court appoint a receiver to supervise the company, but in late December the bid was rejected. State Supreme Court judge ruled that despite Textron’s eight-figure exposure and a litany of mismanagement complaints at the magazine, the lender had no more rights than other creditors.
Reactions to the news that the duo of Mays and Scott had been ousted from the HNIC positions at The Source magazine by those that we spoke to seemed to be similar. Q-Unique, Rock Steady Crew member and Uncle Howie Recording artist had a lot to say about the Source and the way it has been run.
“This ‘rap industry’ is a circus…and like myself, everybody wants to be a ring leader…unfortunately certain people don’t understand that with great power comes great responsibility…as cliché or corny as it sounds, its true…and certain people in this game get blinded by the money and the lights and the glitter and the shine…a lot of us want to be the ‘one’, in there case, they were supposed to run a magazine…according to them, ‘the hip hop bible’…so if that’s your bag, then be a journalists or part of that equation…them guys got carried away. Four page advertisement ads for themselves. I’m just skimming the surface…drunk off the power they had.”
New York based label BZ70 Productions’ Shane Mills summed up his feelings in one word. “Finally.” While Brooklyn emcee and QN5 artist, Pack FM deferred comment by saying “I still haven’t received my subscription in about 8 months, call me when that’s fixed.”
It’s no doubt that the Source has been a strong stable in Hip Hop media for a long time. ODB collaborator BeKay had this to say, “they had a great legacy, a great beginning of one of the biggest if not the biggest hip hop magazines of all time. They paved the way, and then they fucked it all up, but who the fuck am I? Whitetrash scum.” His comment seemingly alluding to Benzino’s opinion of white artist involved in Hip Hop that he spoke on during his campaign against Eminem.
Still, Kirshan Murphy, editor and owner of Blackinthecity.net, a news and information e-zine that focuses primarily on targeting it’s content to the black community had a different take on the situation.
“The firing of The Source’s founders is unfortunate from their perspective. However, this sort of thing is common. So up and coming entrepreneurs should be wary of this sort of thing (the taking over of your work by your board of directors) by educating themselves on just how cutthroat business can be.”
Indeed it is. Although it seems that a lot of people are in favor of the removal of founders of The Source from their seats atop the urban media world, the full effect of their firing won’t be seen until the new board takes the magazine in whatever direction they plan on going.