After a myriad of changes including a highly publicized bankruptcy, The Source relaunches next week with a 20th-anniversary issue and a new focus. “It’s a very seminal period, an opportunity to both celebrate 20 years of content and the fact that The Source was a leader in chronicling the culture of hip-hop,” said L. Londell McMillan, a media and entertainment lawyer who, along with investment banker Jeffery Scott, purchased The Source earlier this year. “I’m on a mission to restore it to the community that gave birth to it and open the door to those that currently enjoy and influence that hip-hop culture,” he added. “It’s exciting because we believe that we can do it.” The new issue, which hits newsstands next week, features four separate covers of hip-hop pioneers LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah and Nas, photographed by director Spike Lee. “We shared with him what we were trying to do, the vision of hip-hop and where we thought it needed to go, and he thought it was refreshing and clever,” McMillan said of Lee, a client. Inside, the magazine takes a weightier tone, including a discussion with prominent professors Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, led by Public Enemy’s Chuck D. “We’re just going to expand on what The Source has always done well,” said McMillan, adding that music will be “a core focus but not 80 percent of the book.” He said the magazine will have a “multigenerational” focus, and will include sections on lifestyle, travel, education, business and other topics. “I think that what we’re trying to do is evolve it as hip-hop has evolved and become an international force, to evolve it without losing its core essence that was the centerpiece of its earliest beginnings and greatness. But it has to evolve, just like hip-hop has to evolve,” McMillan said. At its prime, The Source was the pre-eminent magazine for rap, and it helped fuel the rise of urban magazines such as XXL and Vibe, which celebrated its 15th anniversary this week. But over the last few years, The Source ran through a series of editors, had financial problems and suffered a decline under the ownership of Mays and Raymond “Benzino” Scott; the pair were fired in 2006 and subsequently launched Hip-Hop Weekly, an Us Weekly-like magazine chronicling the lives of urban music stars. When the magazine filed for bankruptcy, it was millions of dollars in debt. Source: AP
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