Friday, April 04, 2008

The new issue of XLR8R on newsstands now, the April issue with Bun B on the cover, has a big supplement about Baltimore music that a bunch of people from around here, including myself, were asked to participate in. It's not technically part of the issue (which means, unfortunately, that it's not part of the downloadable PDF of the issue available on the XLR8R website), but rather a pull-out sponsored by Converse, printed on newspaper like an old-school zine and included in the bag the issue comes with. The magazine's editor, Vivian Host, spent a few days in Baltimore back in January, meeting up folks like Labtekwon, Scottie B., Blaq Starr, Rye Rye, Death Set and others, and photographer Paul O'Valle took pictures, and put some more from the trip up on his own site.

The piece I helped with for the zine, "mixtape madness," is basically just me talking about a bunch of local hip hop and Baltimore club mixtapes. I was approached by XLR8R about this project not as a writer but as an interview subject, which I was apprehensive about just because I like to be a behind the scenes guy and I think it's a little silly for a blogger to be featured like any kind of celebrity, noone needs to see my ugly mug in a magazine. Plus, there was a whole controversy a few months ago about a few Baltimore musicians' images being used without their permission in a different pull-out ad thing in XLR8R, which made me a little wary. But I decided it was an interesting thing to take part in, and as it turned out they didn't use any of the photos they took of me (it was dark outside so maybe the pictures didn't come out well, but either way I'm fine with that). It's just credited to "Government Names," not Al Shipley, but the address for the blog is plugged in there and it's kinda cool to have it be more in the informal, zine-y style they were going for. The mixtapes I spotlighted and talked about were: Skarr Akbar and DNA's The Epidemic, Architects Recording Studio and DJ Radio's ARS Re-Loaded, Ogun's Bmore Hero, Darkroom Productions's Hamsterdam Vol. 2, Say-Wut's Club Chronicles: Level 1, DJ Mic Marvelous's Deja Vu, and Bossman's End Of Discussion. Also, I got a nice new pair of Converse for participating.

On a related tip, last year Tony Ware e-mailed me some questions related to being an mp3 blogger that I answered for a thing he was doing for XLR8R. But I kinda forgot to check if that ever came out, and just realized that the piece, MP3 Blogs: Musical Democratization, has been on the mag's website for 6 months now, and includes a couple quotes from me.

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