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History of The 411
The 411 starts out as a page in a regional monthly music magazine. The page features a column, a review of a hip-hop classic and quick bits of news and commentary. Highlights from the first episode include a column on violence and hip-hop, a review of Eric B and Rakim's Paid in Full and a prediction that "Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith must have staged the breakup of EPMD just to make a reunion release titled Back in Business." Of course, three years later they reunited and released an album with that exact title.
After less than a year as a column in a regional monthly music magazine, The 411 breaks out on its own, launches a four-page, newsletter-style magazine and distributes it free throughout the Midwest. All of the elements of the column are brought back -- news, interviews, and reviews of classic and new albums -- along with plenty of new features, including the rating system still in use today. The 411 would quickly grow in size and reach, gaining some international recognition in the November 1995 issue of Rap Pages for "supplying a gang of info within four pages."
When The 411 Online is born things really take off. Who knew that it would become one of the first and best sources for daily hip-hop news? Or that it would become the No. 1-ranked hip-hop magazine on Yahoo? Or Google's third most popular source for music news in general behind NME and MTV? As recently as July 2003, The 411 still held those titles.
Contributors past and present
Joshua "Fahiym" Ratcliffe
Tamieka J. Mobley
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