If The Source and Vibe were the Coke and Pepsi of this rap mag game, then RapPages was the Shasta. Actually, RapPages was Dr. Pepper. Not everybody likes Dr. Pepper, but those who do, looovvve Dr. Pepper. That was RapPages, published on the cheap by porn magnate Larry Flynt of Hustler infamy — a fact which makes the publication’s June 1995 cover featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard groping an anonymous hottie’s money-makers pretty much a natural fit.
Not merely the first magazine with national distribution to give DJ Premier, Goodie MOB, Tha Alkaholiks, and E-40 the front cover (actually, we’ll have to flip through our old issues of Murder Dog to see if they put Forty Water on there first), RapPages was also where one half of the ego trip squad got their beginnings. Art Director Brent Rollins and Managing Editor Gabriel Alvarez done put in work at Larry’s rag under the leadership of EIC Sheena Lester and Music Editor Bilal Allah. Also part of the team was Photo Editor/Irish ex-pat Brian Cross, better known as B+. An accomplished lensman who shot for the likes of URB, as well as numerous album covers, and is the author of the West Coast rap primer, It’s Not About a Salary, B+ went on to form the creative team of Mochilla with fellow photographer Eric Coleman. He also shot what might have been RapPages‘ best cover; a firmly tongue-in-cheek homage to photographer Patrick Demarchelier’s famous 1993 Rolling Stone cover wherein a topless, tight jean wearing Janet Jackson had her two’s covered by some lucky hands (no, not U-God’s).
But as one might imagine, B+ had his work cut out for him in order to get the illustrious shot. A series of cancelled photo shoots, a fast approaching deadline and an erratic ODB all stood in the way of capturing the provocative image. Here, with input from our own Brent Rollins, we present the lowdown on how a parody of an iconic photograph was pulled off at the last minute, nudity, curse words, and all.
Read the full story here.