What is an underground hip-hop magazine? How can a publication focus on something that XXL recently scoffed at — underground hip-hop isn’t an “epithet” and it shouldn’t be treated as such they remarked. An epithet, if you’re wondering is something that can stand on it’s own, without a larger context. In a way, they may be right, that so-called underground artists wouldn’t exist if there weren’t something to contrast them with. But that doesn’t mean that underground hip hop culture doesn’t exist.

To us, underground hip hop culture is today what hip hop culture represented 20 years ago. It’s about expression through art. It’s about rap music, turntablism, graffiti and break. The culture that has been stripped from hip-hop by commercialization and overzealous record executives.

Modern day rap magazines represent almost only the commercialized rap that’s pushed by major corporations — “swag”, guns and jewelry are not elements of hip-hop culture; they are elements of commercial rap. They have strayed far away from the core ideals of hip-hop culture as it originated. They represent the corporate reconstruction of counter-culture through industry rap.

Our goal is to represent the forgotten culture. Not to be a rap magazine, but to be a hip-hop magazine. To be the voice for those who value freedom of artistic expression, not commercialization and exploitation.

Where most rap magazines focus on mainstream rap, rappers and maybe jewelry, we want to focus on the things that matter to people who support the extended legacy of true hip-hop culture. We’ll chronicle events that nurture the culture, the music that serves as its voice, the fashion that marks it’s followers and the activities of those that live it: turntablism, breaking, graff, skateboarding and more.

We’ll provide news, features, interviews, downloads and videos, but our focus remains original content. We want to be known first and foremost as a magazine. A place for insightful writing and up-to-date knowledge that bring together a community. Magazines are part of identity. People can tell a lot about you by what you read. Tell them that you support real hip-hop culture; read aboveGround Magazine and share it with your friends.

-Tyler Hakes, Founder / Editor-in-Chief

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