ProPublica has published a story about how internet clout chasers — influencers, reality-TV personalities, thirst-trap models, plastic surgeons — exploit loopholes in platforms like Meta and Spotify so they can be classified as fake “musicians” with “blue check marks.” Nestled in the story is this disturbing detail about The Source, the magazine that, despite its checkered history, remains a famed example of golden-era rap journalism. “The people running the scheme also purchased articles promoting fake artists and their music on websites, including hip-hop publications like The Source and ThisIs50.com, a music and culture site affiliated with rapper 50 Cent,” write authors Craig Silverman and Bianca Fortis. While advertising dollars in exchange for coverage has always been one of pop media’s dirty little secrets, it’s sad to realize how low the once-preeminent hip-hop bible has fallen. The Source and ThisIs50.com did not respond to ProPublica’s emailed requests for comment.
Every year brings a fresh crop of album art clearly influenced from various sources. This season brought covers from Metro Boomin, Joey Bada$$, Boldy James and Nicholas Craven, and more.