In “Hip-hop blogs spread fake news about O-Block,” a story jointly published by the Chicago Reader and The Triibe, recent coverage of developments at Parkway Gardens on Chicago’s South Side is scrutinized. “It’s home to many esteemed Black Chicagoans,” write the authors, including local heroes Chief Keef and King Von; they compare it to other heavily mythologized hip-hop birthplaces such as Juvenile’s Calliope Projects and Jay-Z’s Marcy Projects. When the Chicago Sun-Times published a story in 2021 that Parkway Gardens was on the market, blogs and social-media accounts like RapTV and Daily Loud run with the latest “Chiraq” news, generating misinformation that the apartment complex is scheduled to be razed. None of the outlets promote a Sun-Times follow-up that the Gardens were taken off the market with equal rigor. Fly-by-night rap media companies with little-to-no journalistic ethics have become a growing problem, and the “Hip-hop blogs” authors keenly connect the dots between their tactics and how it affects local communities like Parkway Gardens in real life.
Freedom Archives, an online database focused on progressive and radical historical movements, has documentation on BLU magazine, which was published between 1998 and 2001. While most press at the time limited their coverage of politically minded rap to dead prez and Black Star, the New York magazine threaded between overlapping scenes like spoken word and Afro-Cuban sounds, featured interviews with activists like Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt and Yuri Kochiyama, and dedicated issues to the Puerto Rico independence movement and women’s right. Each issue includes a CD from major names like Tony Touch as well as lesser-known acts like Rico Pabon. All together, BLU’s 14 issues depict a complex hip-hop movement that’s often omitted from histories of the period.