There was a time when print magazines were the height of cultural influence. Through monthly subscriptions and seedy magazine shops, readers would indulge in the glossy pages getting the latest in fashion trends, music gossip, and hottest album releases. The speed and efficiency of the internet brought the timely decline of print forcing many publications to cease printing the magazines we loved and grew up on. Though the swift change to digital media allowed the content to live on and thrive, the memories of pages filled with exclusive interviews and iconic photographs are still reminisced and missed. Taking a trip down nostalgia we can bask in the greatness of these magazines and relive their massive impact on hip hop and our culture.
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Right On! magazine was born in 1972, out of the desire to have a teen idol type magazine for African Americans. The first cover featured The Jackson 5. Like Tiger Beat did with White American and Hispanic celebrities, Right On! covered everything and everyone African-American and involved in the entertainment business. It also offered female readers make-up tips, and had a pen pals section as well. It was first published by the Laufer Company in 1972 with editor/creator Judy Wieder and art director William Cragun. It continued publishing to c. 2011 and focused on African-American celebrities.
Every teen had a copy of Right On! magazine. The magazine was born in 1972, which featured The Jackson 5 as their first cover. Like Tiger Beat did with White American and Hispanic celebrities, Right On! covered everything and everyone African-American and involved in the entertainment business. From music news to make up tips, Right On! became a must buy.
Word Up! magazine was the original teen magazine for hip hop news and more. The magazines’ early launch allowed it to gain popularity in the ’80s through the ’90s. A true teen zine Word Up! gave readers poster fold-outs of their favorite rappers and singers. Frequent meet and greet contests and signed merchandise giveaways made Word Up! popular and unique amongst the journalistic titans of the magazine industry. The magazine had a long run ultimately ending the publication in 2012.
A fun fact about Rap-up magazine is that it actually started as a website. The site was a hub for hip hop news, top music lists, and celeb/artist insider information. The first print issue of Rap-up launched in 2001 and was a hit amongst teens greedy for hip hop gossip and glossy images. The magazine stood out and held its own in a sea of giants. Its focus, not just on rap but all facets of hip hop was fresh and relatable to a new and growing generation of hip hop fans.