Though I didn't really read the magazine regularly, I was a little sad to read today that "Vibe" magazine was being shuttered. I also immediately thought of the movie "Brown Sugar," with Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs (though if I recall, Sanaa's character was the new Editor-in-Chief of "XXL," a rival of "Vibe").
In many ways, I feel like "Vibe" was there at the apex of hip hop, not that I think that hip hop is dead, by any means. But, I think that the sixteen years of "Vibe" was an incredible time for hip hop's ascension into the American cultural mainstream. The "New York Times" has an excellent article today on the whole history of "Vibe" and its broader cultural meaning. It's as though the decline, in my opinion, of the genre was a party to the demise of its most mainstream chronicler.
Interestingly, "Vibe" goes under near the 20th anniversary of Spike Lee's movie "Do the Right Thing," a hip hop movie if there ever was one. Whereas "Do the Right Thing" was raw in so many respects, "Vibe" was slick. "Do the Right Thing" seemed to be about hip hop demanding deserved respect, while "Vibe" essentially marked the "arrival" of the genre to the mainstream.
It will be interesting to see how the remaining hip hop magazines will fill the void created by this loss.