A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2018
The Flavor: A Real Hip-Hop Magazine
From 1992 to 1995, Seattle was home to global hip-hop magazine, The Flavor. It wasn’t a magazine about Northwest hip-hop: It was a world hip-hop magazine based that was based in Seattle, with a peak circulation of 70,000 printed copies per issue. As editor and writer Mike Clark explains, the hip-hop genre was fairly new, there was a lot going on, and they “wanted to promote artists that we loved and help them be successful.”
This eight-minute documentary from King Khazm and Will Lemke is wonderful viewing. It’s a joy to learn the history of The Flavor, and the people interviewed are candid about their struggles alongside the successes of the magazine. They were the first magazine in the world to put Nas on the cover, only one example of how they were ahead of their time.
Publisher and editor Alison Pember acknowledges that local rappers would grumble about not being on the magazine cover, but they did have a strategy for putting the Northwest on the map: “Us putting a local artist in an issue with a national artist on the cover… People will pick up the magazine and they’ll read it.” Mike Clark adds the story of how The Flavor connected legendary local group The Ghetto Chilldren to a major label record deal with Geffen.
Finally, you’ll delight in learning about Carl Johnson’s infamous crossword puzzles. They were so incredibly hard and dense with rap lyrical references that the only person who ever solved the puzzle was later hired to work at the magazine.