Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur and his partner, “Grouchy” Greg Watkins founded AllHipHop.com in 1998 and in the ensuing 16 years, the site has become a cornerstone of hip-hop online media. Creekmur has seen the digital revolution of media happen firsthand, and as hip-hop coverage expanded into the mainstream, he’s navigated the ever-changing landscape. Speaking to rolling out exclusively, Creekmur shared his thoughts on what ownership means as it pertains to current hip-hop media.
“The role of hip-hop media has changed considerably through the years,” he states. “When it started, it was very much about the culture of hip-hop — politics, music; but because of the nature of the Internet and different forces that are reporting hip-hop news now, you may have something like a TMZ report something from their perspective and a hip-hop site will regurgitate it verbatim.
“I do think that there is a side to it, that I would like to think AllHipHop is even though we do practice some of those other ways — [that side] is someone who drives the culture forward,” Creekmur continues. “[Someone] who continues to report and stay active in hip-hop. Culturally, we are drivers of conversations and we report an unbiased view of hip-hop; whereas another outlet that doesn’t care about the artist or the culture may be disrespectful, not report objectively or even find humor in certain things that aren’t funny.
“I think that we tend to still play a role [from the perspective of] we’re a part of this and we care about these people. Even if we’re critical of them, we still care and we report accordingly.
“I am all for ownership. AllHipHop is owned by myself and Greg Watkins and I think you have to own your properties or at least control them and have a voice that is uninhibited by higher powers. That’s rare in corporate America. When you’re reporting non-objectively or biased or you just have something you want to get off of your chest, it’s nice to have an outlet that’s not going to hamper those views and opinions.
“People may have criticisms of AllHipHop — we’ve always had our critics — but at the same time, it’s a platform for those people, too —who express views that may run counter to how we feel. Now, everyone has an outlet and it’s so easy for everyone to put a blog post or Instagram statement, so consequently there’s an undercurrent of debate as opposed to working together. So everybody thinks they own something, even if it may be small, they [have] their own little space. But to provide a proper counterpoint to what’s being reported in other forms of media, I think ownership is vital.”