It's a Mixtape Shook-Up World

How three street-smart guys with no publishing experience, no money and no distribution launched a high-gloss magazine that's actually making it.

By Kate Kilpatrick
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 25 | Posted Jul. 16, 2008

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Once in the VIP area, which they were told had been reserved for the media, Mack tried to strike up conversation with an industry type.

"Are you from the press?" he asked the stranger.

"Nah, dawg, I'm from the streets," the man barked back.

"We didn't know how to approach anybody or politic," laughs Malo. "We were so clueless."

Thus began the 24/7 mixtape magazine hustle: constant Chinatown bus rides to New York to drop off issues or appear at events; booking last-minute trips (like the one to Houston to promote the magazine at the Core DJ retreat); locating drop-off points at mom-and-pop CD shops up and down the East Coast; never-ending networking and bullshitting in order to work their way into nightclubs and VIP rooms for a moment of face time with Paul Wall or Russell Simmons.

There were personal sacrifices too: eating Ramen noodles for three months straight and sleeping on friends' sofas. There was the loss of sleep and girlfriends.

"I feel like in order to be successful you do whatever it takes," says Mack. "And we've done anything and everything."

But despite all of the genre's notorious beefs and battles, hip-hop proved to be a forgiving industry.

"One of the great things about rap/hip-hop is that the hustle and the grind is really respected," says Malo. "And people saw that in us. It wasn't just a bunch of 45-year-old guys in suits who saw the potential. They recognize we're just as passionate about this as they are. So they do whatever they can for us. They're real appreciative of us."

Eventually Malo joined Haney at Temple to get a degree in journalism. Like many freshmen, he had no formal publishing experience--save one: He was the editor in chief of his own magazine.

"If you look at print media, new publications and niche markets, there's nothing about our story that suggests we should've made it this far," Malo says. "So the fact that we have, we're doing some things right."


"Have you ever been playing with a dog and you're wrestling with it and it's all licking your face and friendly ... and then all of a sudden it snaps?" Malo says, describing his interview with Lil Wayne, the biggest rapper in mixtape history.

For months he'd been trying to line up interviews with both Lil Wayne and 50 Cent--"two of the people at the very tippy-top of the mixtape game," he says--and in April calls came in from reps at both Universal (Wayne's label) and Interscope (50's label). Both camps wanted to arrange an interview. Both artists had upcoming albums to promote--G Unit's Terminate on Sight (released July 1) and Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III (released June 10).

Both wanted to be on the cover.

At that point they hadn't decided which one they should put on the cover. Knowing either interview could fall through, they scheduled both--for the same day.

Mack and a freelance writer drove up to New York to meet 50 Cent while Universal flew Malo to Atlanta to meet Lil Wayne.

"We debated whether that was a smart move journalistically," Malo allows.

Once in Atlanta, Malo went to the recording studio to meet Wayne.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 25 of 25
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1. Foundation Magazines #1 Fan said... on Jul 15, 2008 at 07:26PM

“Real spiffy group of guys . . . . . . . . .Behind everyman is a spectacular woman ;-) ”

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2. Big Mama said... on Jul 15, 2008 at 08:18PM

“And Mother!”

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3. D.Quin said... on Jul 16, 2008 at 06:45AM

“FINALLY! Hard work and dedication plus motivation equals success. B. Mack is as genuine as they come. He is Foundation Magazine. Good work Brian. As I have told you before, I support your insanity. Love, The FAM ”

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4. Jizzy said... on Jul 16, 2008 at 07:19AM

“First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the founders of Foundation Magazine for their hard work and success. As an aspiring Hip Hop artist on the Philly Hip Hop scene, I am glad to hear news about someone making it on the strength of their commitment and hard work. Secondly, I would like to express interest in being featured in the magazine. I have been doing shows in Philly for a few years now. I have a lot of great music that I can't wait to release. I am hoping to network with people just like those who founded this magazine in order to continuously expand my market presence. So... Look me up! @ www.stricklybizz.com Please be sure to sign up for the email listing and leave me some feedback on the message board. My myspace page is www.myspace.com/thegiftsb Chris, Brian, and Rob, hit me up! I got some good music for yall!!! Thanks for your time, TheGift”

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5. TheGift said... on Jul 16, 2008 at 08:19AM

“First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the founders of Foundation Magazine for their hard work and success. As an aspiring Hip Hop artist on the Philly Hip Hop scene, I am glad to hear news about someone making it on the strength of their commitment and hard work. Secondly, I would like to express interest in being featured in the magazine. I have been doing shows in Philly for a few years now. I have a lot of great music that I can't wait to release. I am hoping to network with people just like those who founded this magazine in order to continuously expand my market presence. So... Look me up! @ www.stricklybizz.com Please be sure to sign up for the email listing and leave me some feedback on the message board. My myspace page is www.myspace.com/thegiftsb Chris, Brian, and Rob, hit me up! I got some good music for yall!!! Thanks for your time, TheGift ”

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6. Cj said... on Jul 16, 2008 at 11:57AM

“thats papoose, not pat boose”

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7. confused real nigga said... on Jul 16, 2008 at 03:44PM

“3 white kids running rap huh?????”

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8. getit said... on Jul 16, 2008 at 04:25PM

“yeah yu are confused”

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9. Cj said... on Jul 18, 2008 at 09:13AM

“First and foremost these guys aren't the first Mixtape Magazine is actually the first, and then you also have Blow magazine that is also dedicated to a street element, and also its a magazine in Philly that has great quality ( in terms of style & design) called PhillyMixTape.Com”

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10. Maino said... on Jul 18, 2008 at 10:13AM

“First and foremost these guys aren't the first Mixtape Magazine is actually the first, and then you also have Blow magazine that is also dedicated to a street element, and also its a magazine in Philly that has great quality ( in terms of style & design) called PhillyMixTape.Com”

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11. 8th and norris said... on Jul 18, 2008 at 11:09AM

“The first and only FULL SIZED mixtape magazine is how these guys describe themselves. and Foundation came out at the same time mixtape mag came out, and they no longer exist so pay attention. Not surprised that there is hate here, this is Philly and people always tear eachother down. Congrats Foundation, yall are all over the country right now!!!!!”

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12. 8th and norris said... on Jul 19, 2008 at 02:19AM

“Interesting article. I haven't seen the magazine yet though. Is there a Foundation website yet? Vincent http://thimk.wordpress.com/”

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13. Vincent said... on Jul 19, 2008 at 03:19AM

“Interesting article. I haven't seen the magazine yet though. Is there a Foundation website yet? Vincent http://thimk.wordpress.com/”

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14. PB said... on Jul 19, 2008 at 10:56AM

“www.foundationmag.com”

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15. NormanStocktonHuxley said... on Jul 23, 2008 at 08:09AM

“To print or not to print? that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings an arrows of outrageous publication or to take arms against a sea of blogs and by opposing, be read.”

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16. UNK D said... on Jul 28, 2008 at 11:46AM

“HEY FROM TAMPA BAY FLORIDA,I BOUGHT YOUR MAG AT THE MUSIC STORE AT THE MALL.I PAGED THROUGH IT .LET ME TELL YOU YOU GUYS "GOT IT",EXCELLENT WORK. I HAD TO BUY ANOTHER BECAUSE A VENDOR IN THE MALL LIKED IT SO MUCH I GAVE IT TO HIM.THE NAME IS PERFECT, YOU'VE GOT THE "FOUNDATION"....ENJOY BUILDING.”

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17. Jizzy said... on Aug 17, 2008 at 02:35PM

“Great story! These guys show it's hope left in Philly 4 Hip-Hop. I'm working w/ a few unsigned hip-hop artists & hip-hop producers in need of some shine. How can i get a in contact w/ these guys?”

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