This article needs to be updated.June 2015)(
|Publisher||Wax Poetics, Inc.|
|First issue||December 2001|
|Company||Wax Poetics, Inc.|
|Country||United States, Japan|
|Based in||Brooklyn, NY|
Wax Poetics is a quarterly American music magazine dedicated to vintage and contemporary jazz, funk, soul, Latin, hip-hop, reggae, blues, and R&B in the crate-digger tradition; the name of the magazine is itself an allusion to vinyl records.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
Funk is a music genre that originated in African-American communities in the mid-1960s when African-American musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul music, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). Funk de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions and focuses on a strong rhythmic groove of a bass line played by an electric bassist and a drum part played by a drummer, often at slower tempos than other popular music. Like much of African-inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves that created a "hypnotic" and "danceable feel". Funk uses the same richly colored extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths and thirteenths.
Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.
Since the first issue of Wax Poetics was published in December 2001, the magazine has expanded its operations to include apparel sales, a record label, and book publishing imprint.
In November 2008, Wax Poetics, Inc. unveiled Wax Poetics Japan.
In spring 2001, Editor-In-Chief Andre Torres was living in New York City and conducting preliminary research for a documentary on die-hard record collectors when he realized there were no publications to consult devoted to the culture of beat-digging. He scrapped the documentary and, instead, decided to start his own quarterly to fill what he perceived to be gaps in the landscape of contemporary music magazines.
"No one was even touching jazz, soul, funk, or anything like that", Torres said in a March 2008 interview with Current TV."What I was trying to do was essentially look at hip-hop through that lens."
Torres enlisted the help of Brian DiGenti, a close friend with editorial experience as a freelance writer. Both Torres and DiGenti had graduated from the University of Florida in 1995—Torres with a degree in painting and DiGenti with a degree in English. Although they had met at school, they didn't begin to develop a friendship until they had both moved to New York City in the late 1990s. There, they often made beats and went mining for vinyl together, further cultivating a common fascination with the crate-digging lifestyle. DiGenti had moved to California about a year before Torres called about the start-up, but agreed to co-found the publication across the country.
The University of Florida is an American public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida, United States. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. The university traces its origins to 1853 and has operated continuously on its Gainesville campus since September 1906.
Polyvinyl chloride is the world's third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, after polyethylene and polypropylene. About 40 million tonnes are produced per year.
For a year, DiGenti and Creative Director Kevin DeBernardi, then a partner in the fledgling quarterly, collaborated to create a mock-up of Wax Poetics. In December 2001, Torres, DiGenti, and DeBernardi independently published the first issue, which cost $6 USD and featured stories on Bobbito, Scotty Hard, Idris Muhammad, Charles Mingus, and Madlib. The magazine continues to be independently published.
Idris Muhammad was an American jazz drummer who recorded extensively with many musicians, including Ahmad Jamal, Lou Donaldson, Pharoah Sanders, and Tete Montoliu.
Charles Mingus Jr. was an American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer and bandleader. A major proponent of collective improvisation, he is considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers in history, with a career spanning three decades and collaborations with other jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dannie Richmond, and Herbie Hancock.
Otis Jackson Jr., known professionally as Madlib, is an American DJ, music producer, multi-instrumentalist, and rapper. He is one of the most prolific and critically acclaimed hip hop producers of the 2000s and has collaborated with different hip hop artists, under a variety of pseudonyms, including with MF DOOM, as well as J Dilla. Madlib has described himself as a "DJ first, producer second, and MC last," and he has done several projects as a DJ, mixer, or remixer.
Starting with Issue 2, Torres began to incorporate a one-page editor's letter to preface the magazine's content.
With Issue 15, published in February 2006, Wax Poetics transitioned from a quarterly to bimonthly magazine.
As of September 2011, forty-eight issues of the magazine have been published. In terms of physical size, the magazine is a 7x10-inch publication in the vein of National Geographic. It has grown from 81 pages in its first issue to 130 pages on average. Aside from regular contributions from editors, the magazine has no staff writers and relies exclusively on freelance work.
According to a 2009 press manual released by Wax Poetics, Inc. readership has also grown exponentially. Today, there are approximately three readers to each issue, making for a total audience of 232,200. About 92% of Wax Poetics readership lies within the United States, mostly in Mid-Atlantic and Pacific states. Ninety-seven percent of readers claim to collect their issues, according to a Wax Poetics reader survey conducted in June 2008.
Torres' manifesto was not only to shed light on funk, soul, and jazz, but to illuminate the symbiotic and historical relationship between those genres and contemporary hip-hop. Wax Poetics regularly features seminal artists like David Axelrod or Bob James, unveiling the stories behind the people and music that have provided both a cultural framework for hip-hop to evolve, and the sonic backbone for crucial elements like breakbeat.
"We dibble-dabble in the new and the old", Torres told Current TV. "Young people come to this older music; it's through hip-hop. It's hearing someone sample something and saying, "Oh, yo, I gotta find that record that Primo or Dr. Dre or whoever used on that track. It's like a time-machine. You use hip-hop to travel back and pick up on everything that's happened before."
Since Issue 4, every issue of the magazine features a "re:Discovery", or a brief article that revisits a noteworthy vintage record. Recent issues include upwards of five re:Discovery blurbs, each accompanied by a full-color photograph of the record itself or its original cover.
Aesthetically, the magazine has been hailed by the New York Times Style Magazine as, "The best and most exquisitely laid-out music bimonthly in America"Starting with Issue 19, Wax Poetics regularly began to feature a different artist on the front and back covers of the magazine; prior to this design change, both covers typically featured artwork or non-specific vintage photographs.
"I wanted to create something that, when you finished reading it, there would be no way that you would ever think about putting it in the trash", Torres told Current TV.
In 2007, Wax Poetics, Inc. expanded to include a book publishing division and a record label.
Wax Poetics Books has since released three coffee table anthologies, including two collections of notable past articles, published in response to demand for back issues. The manifesto of Wax Poetics Records is to reissue rare LPs, 12-inches, and 7-inches.
In summer 2008, the company also launched an online music store—Wax Poetics Digital—where customers can purchase performance-quality mp3s of music featured in the magazine.
In 2011, Wax Poetics, Inc. received an Utne Reader Independent Press Award for Arts Coverage.
In 2013, early trailers for the film Dead Man Down featured a cover of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" performed by Wax Poetics Records artist Kendra Morris.
In 2016, Founder Andre Torres stepped down from the magazine.
On January 16, 2018, Wax Poetics sent an email to subscribers, advising them:
It is with great sadness that we announce we are no longer able to fulfill Wax Poetics Magazine subscriptions. After sixteen years in print, we will cease being a traditional newsstand publication. We want to sincerely thank all of our loyal fans, customers, and subscribers who supported us since December 2001. And we are truly sorry that we are unable to fulfill our obligations to our current subscribers who put their trust in us.
While our subscribers have always been very important, please understand that we never made a profit from selling subscriptions because of the high price of printing an independent, niche, high-quality magazine; as well as the increasing shipping prices and the cost of customer service. We always set the price at a breakeven level, but we often lost money on subs when all was said and done. Unfortunately, we are unable to refund the cost of your subscription. And we are unable to deliver the Prince issue.
We will be starting a new venture where we can offer a version of Wax Poetics as a print-on-demand journal via Amazon/Ingram. This technology will allow us to continue creating the long-form music journalism that we have always been known for in a printed form, but we will no longer have to front costs for printing and freight. Please understand this is a separate venture, and thus a separate product for these reasons. We hope our longtime customers will understand and continue to support Wax Poetics.
The following are published issues with an abridged list of featured artists:
Issue 1: Idris Muhammad, Charles Mingus, Madlib
Issue 2: Bob James, Ike Turner, the Kings of Rhythm, Clive Chin
Issue 3: People Under The Stairs, Peanut Butter Wolf, The Last Poets, Charlie Ahearn, King Tubby
Issue 4: Malcolm McLaren, Donny Hathaway, The Rza, The Hollies
Issue 5: Isaac Hayes
Issue 6: Sun Ra, Eddie Kendricks
Issue 7: Pete Rock, Roy Ayers
Issue 8: Danger Mouse, DJ Premier, Madvillain
Issue 9: RJD2, Stevie Wonder, Geto Boys, Al Green
Issue 10: Beastie Boys, Melvin Van Peebles
Issue 11: The Imperials, Afrika Bambaataa
Issue 12: Jimmy Smith, Yusef Lateef
Issue 13: Ron Everett, Eric B. & Rakim, Sharon Jones, The Meters
Issue 14: Big Boi, Edan, Sarah Vaughan, Wayne Shorter, Blowfly
Issue 15: David Axelrod, Jackie Jackson, Yoko Ono, Gilberto Gil
Issue 16: The Jungle Brothers, Hank Shocklee, Herbie Mann, Bill Withers
Issue 17: J Rocc, Curtis Mayfield, Prince and the Revolution, Little Beaver, Jay Dee
Issue 18: Stephen Sondheim, Parliament Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins
Issue 19: Arsenio Rodríguez, Richard Pryor, Brian Eno and David Byrne, J.J. Cale
Issue 20: Lee "Scratch" Perry, King Curtis, Frank Zappa
Issue 21: James Brown, Planet Rock
Issue 22: Alice Coltrane, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ornette Coleman, Betty Davis
Issue 23: Rick James, Black Milk, DJ Shadow, Chico Hamilton, Arthur Russell, KRS-One
Issue 24: Oh No, Grandmaster Flash, Gangstarr, Augustus Pablo, Marcos Valle, Kool and the Gang
Issue 25: The Eliminators, Céu, Miles Davis, Beastie Boys
Issue 26: Kurtis Blow, Eddie Fisher, Bobby Byrd, Pharcyde, Barrington Levy, Osaka Monorail
Issue 27: Chuck Brown, Tom Terrell, Newcleus, Brownout
Issue 28: Flying Lotus, Q-Tip, Quincy Jones, The Lebron Brothers, Questlove
Issue 29: Herbie Hancock, Spoonie Gee, Lalo Schifrin, Pete Rock
Issue 30: Bad Brains, Elvis Presley, Dave Bartholomew, The Rascals
Issue 31: Shuggie Otis, MF DOOM, Patrick Adams, Menahan Street Band, Os Mutantes, Slick Rick
Issue 32: Sly Stone, Jimmy Cliff, Ahmad Jamal, Large Professor
Issue 33: Gamble and Huff, Teddy Pendergrass, The Stylistics, Questlove, Vince Montana
Issue 34, The Jazz Issue: Melvin Sparks, Horace Tapscott, Creed Taylor, Joel Dorn
Issue 35: Lord Finesse, Ralph MacDonald, Booker T. Jones, Byron Lee, Mahavishnu Orchestra, E.Z. Mike Simpson, Def Jef, Roger Troutman
Issue 36, The Brazil Issue: Jards Macalé, Gilberto Gil, Arthur Verocai, Airto Moreira, Tim Maia
Issue 37: Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, Wah Wah Watson, DJ Nicky Siano
Issue 38: David Holmes, Iceberg Slim, Ralph Bakshi, Curtis Mayfield, Spike Lee
Issue 39, The Africa Issue: Orchestre Poly Rythmo, Pax Nicholas, Rail Band, Tony Allen, Fela Kuti, Orchestra Baobab
Issue 40: Tortoise, Joe Cuba, Tribe, Smokey Robinson, Ohio Players, Gene Paul, Johnny Lytle
Issue 41, The Hip-Hop Issue: Chillie B (Newcleus), Guru, Malcolm McLaren, Souls of Mischief, DJ Disco Wiz, Easy Mo Bee, Ice-T, Ice Cube, KRS-One, Grand Mixer DXT, EPMD, Peanut Butter Wolf
Issue 42, The R&B Issue: Bilal, Spree Wilson, The Bamboos, Kings Go Forth, Melvin Bliss, Erykah Badu, Gil Scott-Heron, Barry White, D'Angelo, Ernie Hines
Issue 43, The Reggae Issue': Augustus Pablo, Kafu Banton, Gaby, El General Issue 44: ?
Issue 45: ?
Issue 46: ?
Issue 47: ?
Issue 48: ?
Issue 49: ?
Artists signed to the Wax Poetics label include Kendra Morris, Adrian Younge and The Jack Moves.
Jazz rap is a fusion of jazz and hip hop music that developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. AllMusic writes that the genre "was an attempt to fuse African-American music of the past with a newly dominant form of the present, paying tribute to and reinvigorating the former while expanding the horizons of the latter." The rhythm was rooted in hip hop over which were placed repetitive phrases of jazz instrumentation: trumpet, double bass, etc. Bands involved in the formation of jazz rap included A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, De La Soul, Gang Starr, Jungle Brothers, and Dream Warriors.
Newcleus was an American electro and old school hip hop group that gained popularity in the early 1980s. The group is primarily known for its 12-inch single "Jam-On's Revenge" and "Jam on It" (1984), which began as an anti-rap joke, according to founding member DJ and producer Ben Cenac.
At the time (1981) we were going by the name Positive Messenger and were making music that had a purpose, either messages of love or faith or talking about the conditions of the world. However, we were still doing lots of Hip-Hop jams with our DJ crew Jam-On Productions. So, one of our DJs, Salvador Smooth, kept nagging me to do a Rap song. Having come out of Hip-Hop street battles in Brooklyn in the ’70s, I didn’t really think much of the Rap records that were playing on the radio, so I figured as a joke I would make a parody jam ... I threw in an idea from an [event] that actually had happened in the ’70s, when a DJ who we had just blown out in a battle said to me “Yeah, you guys are bad, but you can’t do this… wikki wikki wikki wikki,” meaning how we didn’t scratch on the turntables.
I used to play “Jam-On’s Revenge” at our parties and it would fill the dance floor, so even though I had never planed to release it, when I was shopping Positive Messenger for a deal I put it on the tape just to fill out space at the end. Turned out it ended up being the track that drove everybody crazy! So, we went with it and changed our names to Newcleus."
Peter O. Philips, better known by his stage name Pete Rock, is an American record producer, DJ and rapper. He rose to prominence in the early 1990s as one half of the critically acclaimed group Pete Rock & CL Smooth.
Madvillainy is the debut studio album by American hip hop duo Madvillain, a group consisting of MF Doom (MC) and Madlib (producer). It was released on March 23, 2004 on Stones Throw Records. The album was recorded between 2002 and 2004 and was produced entirely by Madlib, with the exception of "The Illest Villains" which was produced by both Madlib and Doom. Madlib created most of the album's instrumentals during a trip to Brazil, where the production was composed in his hotel room using minimal amounts of equipment. Fourteen months before the album was officially released, an unfinished demo of the album was stolen and leaked onto the internet. Frustrated over the leak, the duo stopped working on the album and returned to it only after they released other solo projects.
Ahmir Khalib Thompson, known professionally as Questlove, is an American musician and music journalist. He is the drummer and joint frontman for the Grammy Award-winning band The Roots. The Roots have been serving as the in-house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since February 17, 2014. Questlove is also one of the producers of the Broadway musical Hamilton. He is the cofounder of Okayplayer and OkayAfrica. Additionally, he is an adjunct instructor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University.
George Evelyn, better known by his stage name Nightmares on Wax or DJ E.A.S.E., is a DJ and electronic music composer from Leeds, England. His music is released on Warp Records and was one of the first releases on the label.
Hip hop production is the creation of hip hop music in a recording studio. While the term encompasses all aspects of hip hop music creation, including recording the rapping of an MC, a turntablist or DJ providing a beat, playing samples and "scratching" using record players and the creation of a rhythmic backing track, using a drum machine or sequencer, it is most commonly used to refer to recording the instrumental, non-lyrical and non-vocal aspects of hip hop.
Champion Sound is a studio album by the duo Jaylib. Half of the songs are produced by Madlib and feature J Dilla on vocals, and the other half are produced by J Dilla and feature Madlib on vocals. This album was the first of the Madlib duo collaboration albums made during the 2000s.
The Unseen is the debut studio album by Quasimoto, a hip-hop duo composed of Madlib and his animated alter ego Lord Quas. It was released under Stones Throw Records on June 13, 2000. It was re-released in 2005 as a deluxe edition with a bonus CD containing the instrumental version of the album.
OffBeat is a monthly music magazine in New Orleans, Louisiana, first published in 1987. The magazine mainly focuses on the music scene of New Orleans and Louisiana, the region's culture and its cuisine. The magazine covers wide range of local music including R&B, blues, brass bands, jazz, cajun music, zydeco, rock, hip-hop, Mardi Gras Indian, funk, and independent singer-songwriters.
Juice is a well known German hip hop magazine and the biggest of its kind in Europe. In every issue readers find interviews with rappers and record reviews. The editors pick an 'album of the month' and, additional to the normal reviews, Juice features a 'battle of the ear': If the editorial staff's opinions about a record diverge strongly, it is reviewed by two different editors, each defending their point of view. In the magazine, records are rated with crowns on a scale from one to six.
"Devil's Pie" is a song by American R&B and neo soul musician D'Angelo, released October 31, 1998 on Virgin Records. It was issued as a promotional single for his second studio album, 2000's Voodoo. The song was composed by D'Angelo and hip hop producer DJ Premier of the group Gang Starr. "Devil's Pie" served as a departure for D'Angelo from the urban contemporary style of his previous commercially successful singles to the more experimental, "jam"-like sound that is predominant on Voodoo, as well as the use of sampling in his music. The song appeared on the soundtrack to the 1998 film Belly. DJ Premier originally made the track for Canibus but later offered it to D'Angelo after Canibus rejected the song.
Clutchy Hopkins is purportedly a multi-instrumentalist musician based out of California. His existence has not yet been fully verified, though he is widely believed to be a pseudonym for one of several popular DJs. The true identity of the person behind the music is not publicly known.
Shook was an underground independently produced British music magazine, based in London, which covered various forms of black music and electronic music.
Theme for a Broken Soul is an electronic and house music album by hip hop producer Madlib under the alias of DJ Rels. It was released on August 24, 2004 through Stones Throw Records. The album was inspired by the West London scene responsible for the short lived "broken beat" scene.
Malcolm Catto is a British musician and producer. He is the co-founder and producer of the London psych'/jazz/experimental outfit The Heliocentrics. The Heliocentrics have so far released four of their own albums but have also issued collaborations with DJ Shadow, Mulatu Astatke, Lloyd Miller, Orlando Julius and Melvin Van Peebles.
Markel Scott, better known by his stage name Bishop Nehru, is an American rapper and record producer from Nanuet, New York. He also directs and edits music videos.
Echoes is a monthly magazine of soul, jazz, R&B, hip hop and reggae. It was founded as a weekly newspaper, Black Echoes, in 1976 and later changed its name to just Echoes. It became a monthly magazine in 2000.