interview KIM OSORIO (October 2008) | Interview By: Jonathan Hay

   Talking to Kim Osorio was a personal highlight for my own journalist side. Yeah, you’ve seen her everywhere lately with her highly publicized, brilliant book Straight from Source. With so much attention focused on the hoopla -- people constantly questioning her about her scandals, rumored celebrity affairs and the sensational drama surrounding her controversial past – I wanted to approach her from a different angle than the thriving tabloid media vultures for this exclusive Dubcnn interview...I wanted to approach her with integrity.

The facts are the facts. Kim Osorio is an author, media assassin and an illustrious journalist from the Bronx who has worked at the highest level of media -- in a corner office -- as former Editor-In-Chief at The Source Magazine.

And while Benzino, 50 Cent and others continue to throw public shots at her, she has them playing right into her strategy as she toys with the ego and pride of famous ones and turns their own most dangerous weapon against themselves: vanity. It would take a nation of millions to hold her back.
Straight up, Kim Osorio deserves respect for her hustle -- after all, she is a real hip-hop head. With other mad rappers, she might have 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one.

Straight from the Source is one of Kim Osorio’s defining moments of clarity -- her moment of honesty, so the world can feel her truths. Through her hard knock lifetime, her gift and the curse - she gives you chapters after chapters of her work Check out the inspiring Kim Osorio – Straight from the Source.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to haywire@dubcnn.com.

Interview was done in September 2008

Questions Asked By: Jonathan Hay
Dubcnn Exclusive – Kim Osorio
A Dubcnn Exclusive
By Jonathan Hay

Dubcnn: As former ‘Editor in Chief’ at The Source during its thriving days at the publication, how and what, can it take for the magazine to return to its former glory?

Well, for one, they have to get a website up and running. The brand name is still very strong, and the magazine has been a staple in hip-hop for so long, so I think it would just take some groundbreaking hip-hop journalism and some visually stimulating covers, but even that needs to be accompanied by some internet promotion.

Dubcnn: What was your personal favorite story that you covered at The Source?

Every time I’m asked this question, I feel like I change my answer, but that’s because I have so many stories that were favorites. Today, I would have to say it was this story I did on Jaz-O. I used to like to write pieces that were unexpected. I did that story about a year before the Blueprint album came out. I remember the coverline I came up with; it was “Meet Jay-Z’s Mentor.” It gave Jaz the opportunity to really tell his side of the story.

Dubcnn: Do you have any retracting story nightmares?

No nightmares, just times where mistakes were made and we had to print an “oops” section in the front of the book. But nothing substantial.

Dubcnn: Have any of your past colleagues from The Source contacted you and congratulated you for your book?

Yes, so many. Some have said things like “you really took me back to that.” And because they were there, they know how real it was. Or one of them will send me a line from the book that has some subliminal meaning to let me know they caught it. That’s always fun.

Dubcnn: What are your overall thoughts on journalism now in the hip-hop world?

Journalism in the hip-hop world is a funny thing these days because many journalists are being replaced by bloggers and, not to take anything away from bloggers, but there is a huge difference. So right now, it’s hard for freelance journalists to get assignments because most of the work is on the internet, and most of that work is going to the bloggers. I know firsthand because I work for an internet company, we have more opportunities for bloggers. That happens to be what is moving our community, so journalists have to adjust. The internet pays writers a lot less and there is a much quicker turnaround time, but as a result, the execution of the writing is of lesser quality.

Dubcnn: Is hip-hop journalism too tabloid right now?

It is VERY tabloid. It goes to what I said in my last answer. It’s all about the blogs right now, so the quality of the writing has suffered. Unfortunately, now you can actually measure what people are clicking on and it is mostly the sensational stuff.

Dubcnn: When you were at The Source, were you ever in a situation where you could have exposed an artist’s personal dark secret, or exposed some real dirt, but you didn’t because of your own personal feelings?

Yes. I think many journalists have been in that situation. If something is off the record, then you have to respect that it is off the record. But if the information is acquired outside of the scope of your job, then you need to weigh the benefit of bringing it out against the detriment it would be to that person.

Dubcnn: Everyone always talks about the internet crippling CD sales, but how has the internet affected magazine sales?

No one is buying a magazine to read the same thing they may have seen on the internet three weeks ago. Magazines have to be visually compelling and do things outside of the box to sustain.

Dubcnn: In your opinion, what is the best publication right now for our hip-hop culture?

Believe it or not, Ozone magazine. It may not be the pinnacle of hip-hop journalism but it is the only magazine that I can pick up and learn something about hip-hop or someone in hip-hop that I didn’t already know, and trust, I am not even in the loop like that anymore. Plus, it’s entertaining.

Dubcnn: Is it strange that the tables have turned in your career and now you are in the seat of being interviewed – and the focus of a story?

Some days, yes. Occasionally I’ll hear a question and think “why did they ask that” or “I would not have asked that question that way” so I tend to look at my interviews and try to assess what I would do if I were on the other end of the phone.

Dubcnn: How did you feel when you first received your book back in the mail from your publisher?

Funny, it wasn’t a book. It was a whole box, and it felt good. And my first thought was who do I give copies to first. I gave most to my girlfriends.

Dubcnn: How long did it take to complete the book?

All in all, I would say a year. But within the time, I gave birth to my second daughter, and I had a full time job, so I think I could have finished in a month if I had the whole time to myself just to write.

Dubcnn: Was it fairly easy for you to get a publisher for your book?

You have to strike when the iron is hot. And because we shopped at the right time, it happened pretty quickly.

Dubcnn: Are you doing a book signing tour?

Yes, I think so. We are still finalizing things. I had a few dates of my own booked before the book came out so we’re trying to figure out how to make everything work.

Dubcnn: I am currently working on a book called Publicity Stunt – The Art of Noise… what is the greatest publicity stunt you have ever witnessed?

Can’t think of one.

Dubcnn: Switching gears, is New York struggling for its own musical identity in hip-hop?

Yes. I want New York artists to just be New York artists. I think Fabolous does a good job of that and is not getting the recognition he deserves.

Dubcnn: What is your fondest Jay-Z moment?

The Madison Square Garden concert he did a couple of years ago. I remember seeing Jay-Z perform on stage, I think at the Beacon Theater, back when Reasonable Doubt was out. To see him at MSG, and how different it was, that was legendary.

Dubcnn: What is your opinion on Dave Mays and Benzino’s magazine, Hip-Hop Weekly?

Does it come out weekly? I don’t read it, but the covers usually look like they are late on the news.

Dubcnn: How do you feel about Eminem overall as an artist and businessman?

Overall, he’s a good artist. He’s talented lyrically, has strong word play, but I’m not really into his subject matter. As a businessman, I’m not too sure. He seems like a total artist-type that doesn’t handle the business aspect of his career, but then sometimes that’s better so you can focus on your craft.

Dubcnn: Who are your top five favorite emcees of all time?

KRS-One, Slick Rick, Biggie, Jay-Z and Redman, in no particular order. But my favorite album of all time is actually Illmatic.

Dubcnn: Final words for Dubcnn?

Straight From The Source, the book is in stores now! Get it. I got jokes.



Enter Your Email Address
To Receive Our
Free Newsletter!