word by Jake Heinitz
When we first started on this issue, I had an idea to write a letter to Lil B and tell him how important his voice is to our generation. Once I had finished writing the letter, I planned to fly to Colorado, climb a mountain, strap the scribed scroll to the left talon of a carrier pigeon, and send it West enroute for the based god’s lair of positivity. Because how else was I going to get in contact with him? Twitter?!?
That never happened, but it did get me thinking about the relative power of voice. To me, Lil B (in a complex/incredibly awesome way) is a no-brainer nomination for Influential Voice of the Decade Award. But to others, he's a joke. This made me reflect: what is influence? In this quickly evolving world of endless niche cultures, whose voice can we collectively look to for guidance?
The other day a young, relatively unknown emcee from Milwaukee, Webster X, expressed in a succession of tweets, “I realize my power more and more everyday but we all must understand that the power is within us... we ourselves have the answers. You start by aiding your own community. That shit spreads, just as anything good does… You are not powerless x1000.”
“Yes!” I rejoiced at the tweets on my computer screen. This dude has got it. The voice is within yourself! In this issue we gathered the voices of a few that have learned to tap into that inner voice and harness its power for good. I hope that these accounts inspire your journey.