So after a couple of months of fruitlessly scouring the newsstand, searching for the latest issue of Scratch, I finally decided to hit up the place where I go whenever I need a reliable reference source—Wikipedia. It was then that I found out that Scratch was no more.
And it sucked because it was probably my favorite magazine devoted hip-hop. Even though Paste lines up more along my pop culture sensibilities, I’m reluctant to give up The Source and XXL (both of which I still pick up on a monthly basis despite the fact that I probably only read a third of the magazine and reviews) because it would be admitting that I had indeed grown up, with the next logical step being the repayment of my student loans.
But Scratch was different. Sure, it succumbed to the same “hot right now” mentality as The Source and XXL, but unlike those two mags, it could usually be counted on to profile a producer that I actually respected and whose work I enjoyed. I mean, this was a magazine that featured Just Blaze and the RZA on its cover. It was kind of a magazine for people who pretend to be hip-hop geeks—people like me.
On of my favorite regular features in the magazine was where one producer had their definitive beats showcased; it was called “8 Tracks”. I loved reading what the writers thought, say, Pete Rock’s best beats were. I’d either nod my head and think, “Yeah, that was a dope beat,” or I’d scoff and ponder what beats they excluded. But either way, it was one of the things that made me passionate for the music again.
There was also an occasional feature called “Remix”, where people who participated in classic albums would offer up who they’d like to hear remix certain tracks. It was always a fun read that would get my mind humming.
Another dope part of the magazine was where they’d spill the beans on where all the dope samples came from. I’d always pretend that one day I’d track down all of the songs from where my favorites were sampled. It was perfectly titled “Main Source” (though it was originally called “Liner Notes”) It was subtle touches like that which made Scratch the hip-hop magazine that I looked forward to the most each month.
Of course Scratch was the “year-end” issue on which I really wanted to get my hands, so naturally the magazine’s last issue was the one before the year-ender.
What really sucks is that I dreamed up the perfect cover story for an issue of the magazine. But at least now I’ve got a legitimate reason for never acting upon it.
I’m pretty sure that somewhere in my accumulated pile of junk I’ve got every issue of Scratch and when I sort the pile out I’ll make sure not to throw them out. And even further down line I’ll take those salvaged issues and put them with my equally cherished issues of Blaze magazine. And then I’ll weep and wonder why all of the hip-hop magazines that I love end up getting the ax.