David Mays and Ray "Benzino" Scott, who started The Source in 1988, were forced out last January amid unpaid bills, allegations of tax evasion and a sexual harassment suit filed by two former staffers. Mimi Valdes was booted from Vibe after a change in ownership last summer.
Ms. Valdes, exec VP and editor in chief at Hip Hop Weekly, said the magazine will try to get in on the celebrity-weekly action, particularly through columns by radio vets Wendy Williams and Star & Buc Wild, but won't leave it at that. (Radar.com reported that the three were working on an "urban version of In Touch" tentatively called The Truth.)
"The rest of the magazine is really about trying to offer some insight, reflection and criticism on hip-hop as it influences everything," she said. "It's not like we only look at hip-hop. We watch TV like everyone else, we go to the movies, but when you hear our discussions of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' they're probably a lot different than other conversations you hear."
The weekly format will also make the title more competitive with monthly music books, whose long lead times make it harder to present up-to-the-minute news and photos.
'I had no problems'
Asked whether Messrs. Mays and Scott were smart partners to pick, given how well everything at The Source turned out, Ms. Valdes laughed. "I worked for six months at The Source," she said. "I had no problems. I know I'm probably one of the few. I don't know how I got lucky, but I had no problems with them. They really treated me well while I was there. In the end I had to go with my personal experience." (And, she added, she required an equity stake.)
Mr. Mays, who credited the idea for Hip Hop Weekly to Mr. Scott, said their experience at The Source was a "learning experience."
"We also made a lot of mistakes along the way," he said. "I have no regrets about what happened with The Source. This opened the door for me to take those 18 years of knowledge and experience and relationships and apply it to a much more versatile future. This is a chance for us to do it smarter this time."
Hip Hop Global Media, the holding company backing Hip Hop Weekly, will price the first issue at $2.99 and subsequent issues at $3.99. That's more expensive than OK magazine and Bauer Publishing's In Touch and Life & Style Weekly, which sell for $1.99, and even Wenner Media's Us Weekly and Time Inc.'s People, which sell for $3.49.