BY AMY Z. QUINN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!
ON THE COVERS
CITY PAPER: See that fierceness on the cover of this week’s CP ? That’s Lady B, OG Philly hip-hop DJ, who taught yours truly and legions of other little white girls about rap music back in the day. Her Sunday afternoon Street Beat show on Power99 was like a class we all took each week in hip-hop, learning the difference between Schooly D and Special Ed, and on where to buy extra-fat “New York” style shoelaces for our suede Pumas. Deesha Dyer‘s check-in with the undisputed Queen of Philly Hip-Hop — now way up the dial on 107.9 FM — is the highlight of CP’s Music Issue, which this time around focuses on established around-the-way acts rather than up-and-comers.
The baby-faced listeners once glued to her show have all grown up and have kids now glued to other shows. She calls this a double advantage: “I love taking my listeners back to when we didn’t have kids and those responsibilities. That is a good feeling. I also try to address a serious topic every now and then, so the old-school listeners who are parents can take that information back to talk with their kids. The communication gap is an ugly thing right now and these kids are living in a scary world.”
Lady B reaches out in the community, speaking at events like Temple University’s Hip-Hop 101 classes. She feels like it’s her challenge to preserve what she calls “the voice of my people that has turned into a materialistic, disrespectful and lost genre of music. Whether it was party or political, hip-hop stood for something,” she says. “There was no way you can tell me that Salt N Pepa, MC Lyte or myself weren’t sexy then. We didn’t have to bend over a car with a sponge. There’s a place and time for everything — I just think there is too much of that in hip-hop today.”
Other highlights in this week’s CP cover package include them getting Josh T. Landow’s name wrong in a photo caption about the CP vs. Y-Rock Philly Band Shootout and a profile of local bebop sax legend Bootsie Barnes. Overall, this was a refreshing spin on the usual we-heard-it-first kind of Music Issue.
PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY: OK, I’m going to be as nice as possible about this because I know and like several PW staffers and believe them capable of good things. But too many weeks I find myself gagging on the cover story, dutifully plowing through it to fill this space so I can get to that week’s other offerings, which are too often more interesting and meatier stories than what’s out front. Last week I cracked wise about PW’s recent cover offerings, which have covered such broad topics as sports talk radio, and this week we’re rewarded with a look at Philly’s Top 50 Bars. Y’know, I hate to sound like the Old Lady At The Club, as I certainly like bars as much as the next guy and several of my favorites are on that list (though I stopped drinking at the Dawson Street Pub when the tourists took over). . . but this is NOT journalism. It’s Velveeta, some kind of editorial cheese food designed to entice as many of those 50 bars as possible to advertise in PW. I’m not saying CP is immune to this kind of advertorial pandering, but it seems like PW is on a mean streak of it lately. I know there are plenty of good reporters over there and I’m sure they’re full of great story ideas. So why aren’t more of them landing on the cover?
INSIDE THE BOOK
CP: Charity effort aims to visit every WaWa before 2010; Jeff Deeney, Phawker’s favorite semicolon-wielding street reporter, gives props to tiny community-based groups that fill needs government agencies can’t or won’t; not lovin’ it at Yakitori Boy.
WINNER: Playa please, CP runs away with it this week.