Before music journalist Touré penned I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon, before he earned his first byline in the New York Times, before Rev. Run of Run-DMC officiated his wedding and before he interviewed Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga, he got his start in media as an intern for Rolling Stone in 1992.
Around this time in the ’90s, the rookie journalist would go to magazine parties to mingle with editors and publicists who could help him find writing gigs. He hustled and hustled more. One publicist eventually introduced him to a New York Times music editor.
“I wanted to write a profile of Snoop Dogg, and they did not understand Snoop Dogg at all, and they definitely thought Snoop Dogg was beneath The New York Times,” Touré recalled during a Live From the Bar Cart podcast interview with ONE37pm’s director of podcasts Kal Elsebai.
“I called this guy every day for a month and talked to him. They saw themselves in this elevated way, so I had to create this relationship, which we did and we’re still friends to this day, but also to explain to him on his terms why Snoop would be valuable to The New York Times. So not just, ‘He’s the dopest rapper,’ but digging into, 'Well, his people are from Mississippi and moved to Southern California in the Great Migration and you can hear that twang and that southern drawl in him so there’s a larger sociological point here’ and that sort of convinced him, like, if we’re going to talk about him in that sort of depth then that makes a New York Times story rather than he’s the hottest rapper out.”
Since that fateful introduction, he’s plastered his name and writing across such publications as The New Yorker, Washington Post, Ebony, Playboy and Vice. He even returned to Rolling Stone to write cover stories about chart-toppers like Beyoncé, Eminem and Adele. He’s written five books, with at least two more in the pipeline involving rapper Rakim as well as modern masculinity in the context of infidelity. And his journalistic chops have translated into him becoming a TV personality on MSNBC, Fuse, BET, MTV and CNN and a podcast host of The Touré Show.
On his journey to all of this success, Touré picked people’s brains to learn and grow. In this audio snippet from the podcast, he emphasized the value of mentors.