Rap veteran Nas appears to be following in one-time rival Jay-Z’s footsteps by reaching in his wallet and investing six figures into hip-hop publication Mass Appeal.
Details of the unexpected power move surfaced online Wednesday (April 10). The Queens-born rapper tells FORBES that he has invested a “six-figure” sum in the publication, which re-emerged as a quarterly print product earlier this year after a five-year hiatus. “I always liked what they represented,” says Nas. “They invested into the culture … I saw their vision for what they planned and I thought I could add value across the board.” He will serve as Associate Publisher for Mass Appeal, which was originally founded in 1996 as a graffiti magazine and has since involved into a broader outfit spanning print, web, video and a monthly event series. (Forbes) While Young Hov made an outlet for himself with Life + Times a few years ago, Nasty Nas decided to try his luck with a publication already up and running.
Nas explained that he’d been dismayed at the lack of options for readers interested in all aspects of hip-hop culture, particularly on the newsstands. He considered starting his own publication, as Jay-Z did, but figured he’d have better luck using an existing brand as a launching pad. “Mass Appeal has a legacy and respect,” he says. “It already has a foundation … I just feel like I can add on because I can lend my kind of cultural expertise and my professional acumen, and develop the business.” The move is indicative of a shift in the rapper’s priorities. Unlike some of his musical contemporaries, Nas wasn’t among the first wave of mainstream hip-hop entrepreneurs that sprang up in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Back in 2011, Young Hov spoke on launching his buzzing Life + Times lifestyle website. “I started working on it in its various incarnations over a year ago,” Hov revealed. “I’ve thought about it forever. You know how it works, seeing other sites and being either inspired or saying, ‘That’s sh*t. I would do it like …’ [How do we post content?] Well there is a basic metric for what we cover but, more importantly, I believe it’s how we cover it. The DNA is to basically let the subject speak for itself. We don’t want to tell you what to think. As far as how personal? I would say it has to pique my interest…I think it’s every human’s job to inspire others, to feed one another’s senses. Inspiration begets inspiration times infinity. Imagine if the person that was inspired to create the phonograph didn’t share it with the world.
While Nas’ bucks will help provide stability for Mass Appeal, he can also rely on his 12 Society buyers guide website to keep his business image alive.
“To me the 12 Society thing is just people like myself and other people that are involved connecting with the people, giving them some insight on our lifestyle and making the people a part of it,” Nas told MTV News on Tuesday. For Nas, the 12 Society experience is an extension of his music. On 1996′s “Street Dreams,” the Nasty one rapped about his David Robinson Nike sneakers, Guess jeans and Clarks Wallabee moccasins; it was like a lyrical fashion tutorial. It’s a style that Nas still employs. On “The Don,” he name-drops high-end brands like Roberto Cavalli as well as his favorite rugged army-green jacket, which he rhymed about on his classic 1994 single “It Ain’t Hard to Tell.” “It comes from music, it comes from me talking about certain kicks and sneakers I might like,” he said. “With 12 Society you don’t have to just listen to me talk about a certain shirt, you’ll get that. You’ll get that delivered to you.