Maybe you've noticed, but I've been a bit quiet here. Well, there's good reason for this as for the past two months or so I've been writing articles and reviews for the US hip-hop magazine, Ambrosia for Heads. Info from the website's "about":
At times this work has seemed more like a reporter's boot-camp than the chilled-out, leisurely life of a writer for hire, as conceived in the public imagination. The editor contacts me with an idea, normally around dinner-time here in Paris and I get to work, trying to get the story done - and done well - within the shortest possible time frame. Don't misunderstand me, though, I'm loving it (as they say).
Working like this is a jolt back to my journalist past, feeding into the same adrenalin-driven buzz that I remember from working as a SBS TV World News reporter chasing down people to interview, racing around the Sydney suburbs, never feeling completely at ease, always fully aware of the daily deadline inching ever closer. It's fun and a challenge and I'm happy; and I'm learning a lot as a writer and a devotee of the culture.
A large part of this satisfaction comes back to Ambrosia for Heads editor, Jake Paine who first gave me a chance last October with the BROOKZILL! interview. Jake has that right combination of calm, supportiveness and encyclopaedic knowledge that makes new writers on the team like me feel confident. (Is there anything Jake Paine does not know, it astounds me).
I should add that I feel really proud to be writing for AFH, as it has long been my favourite hip-hop magazine. In such a crowded media landscape - I mean, how many dozens of hip-hop magazines and blogs exist out there? There seems to be trillions, all jostling for attention - it is different. It is different in the way it respects hip-hop culture in a way that is inclusive to those who shaped it, not falling into the trap of pitting one generation against the next, while forever remembering the centrality of community, from which hip-hop emerged and continues to gain its power. I only hope that my association with AFH can continue to build in strength.
Over this period, I've had some great assignments, here's some of them: Weldon Irvine and Stevie Wonder; Nas speaking about his debt to Biggie; a review of "Bullet Club" (Lloyd Banks/Conway/Benny); a story based on research into the "Migos Flow" tracing it back to Bone Thugs and P.E.; and more recently Alchemist in Paris and O.C./Apathy's Soviet-themed album, Perestroika.
Spellbound, totally ...