Music has always been an essential part of VICE's identity. Since kicking this thing off more than 20 years ago as an excuse to write about punk and skateboards, we've gone on to launch a record label, multiple music verticals, and found some eccentric rappers to put on television (hi Action!). So making a music-themed issue was an easy decision, and we knew we couldn't begin without the help of our resident experts at Noisey and Thump.
It was important to all of us that the issue feel diverse—with the artists, the genres, and the stories we told and the perspectives we offered. We could never include every artist we love or every story we believe is important (there aren't enough pages), but we set out to offer a good summary of how and why the music industry is changing. We have pieces about the impact of social media and how artists respond to the political and social conversations of today, and we highlighted the best up-and-coming artists alongside those longtime players still making noise.
For our features this issue, reporter and Thump contributor Dave Wedge investigates the recent allegations that Afrika Bambaataa—one of hip-hop's founding fathers—sexually abused teenagers during his heyday; Zach Goldbaum travels south to meet the white rappers who are trying to legitimize country rap (also known as hick-hop); and Noisey editor Kim Kelly writes about the religious fanatics in Russia who are trying to strong-arm metal bands into silence.
We also have new fiction by Mountain Goats founder and frontman, John Darnielle, and an excerpt from Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace's upcoming memoir, TRANNY, including an introduction by co-author Dan Ozzi. And we've got profiles and portraits of D.R.A.M., Kim Gordon, Kamaiyah, How to Dress Well, and Cass McCombs.
Thump editor-in-chief, Emilie Friedlander, discusses how musical.ly, the video-focused social-media app targeted at teens, might be the music industry's new secret weapon, while Noisey editor-in-chief, Eric Sundermann, spends a week in God's country at Creation Music Festival, the largest Christian-music festival in America.
If photography is more your thing, we have unseen photos of disco era Bushwick from Meryl Meisler's book A Tale of Two Cities. And for the portfolio "Dedicated to the One I Love," we asked photographers and artists like Ryan McGinley, Signe Pierce, Xaviera Simmons, and more to make shrines of their favorite musicians and explain what that music means to them.
-Decades of music piracy techniques and technology broken down by the numbers
-Reviews of new music by Jenny Hval, Jubilee, Steve Lehman, NxWorries, and Danny Brown. We also look at the new mixtape book Damn Son Where Did You Find This? , and the comedian Jon Glaser evaluates some gear.
And don't forget: You can get the magazine (100-plus glossy pages) delivered to your doorstep each month by subscribing.