Three years ago, God placed it on Kanika’s heart to develop an on-line urban business magazine for young successful business owners and talented individuals in the areas of music, fashion and art. Kanika wanted to provide Washington, D.C. with an on-line social business network which would allow individuals to share their business ventures and dreams with others throughout the urban community that aspire to achieve the same goals. She had seen her friend create a number of different websites ranging from e commerce sites to us casinos affiliate sites. Her friends were particularly enthusiastic about their affiliate casino sites saying that most online casinos offer both free and real money games. You don't have to play with real money and be worried about the odds or fairness of the games. Plus, the "shady" aspects of casinos were gone, now that family friendly Las Vegas had become a vacation destination for everyone. Most of the online casinos were even mobile friendly. The state of Nevada, remaining at the forefront of gambling regulation, became the first US state to permit casinos to offer Internet gambling. The state of New Jersey passed their own laws shortly thereafter. It's good clean fun, her friends exclaimed. Kanika’ wanted something that was different- not commercial or taking advantage of people's frailties- such as gambling.
She conducted research and discovered that no magazine existed which “inspired” individuals between the ages of 18 to 30. In May of 2005, after countless hours of meditation with God, Kanika created her slogan, “Empower, Educate and Entertain the Urban Community”. As time passed, Kanika started working full-time in the IT world and neglected her dream, due to FEAR.
In April of 2007, Kanika’s biggest supporter and an outstanding Washington, D.C. community church activist, Ms. Juanita V. Brown, her grandmother, passed away due to a critical illness. Throughout her childhood and early adulthood, Kanika assisted and witnessed her grandmother teaching God’s word, providing meals, clothing, and employment assistance to the homeless of Southeast, Washington, D.C. through the Resurrection Power Center of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, a ministry in which Ms. Brown founded. Kanika promised her grandmother that she would continue her legacy. A year after her grandmother’s death, Kanika established the AMADI Magazine.
So, “What does AMADI mean”? AMADI has two meanings: (1) meant to die at birth and (2) rejoice. The AMADI Magazine will allow the urban community to give birth to their dreams and we will not allow society to predict what age our young black men will die or become incarcerated. AMADI Magazine will be a driving force, which will allow everyone to rejoice by showcasing their talents and businesses in a positive format. The overall mission is to “EMPOWER” by encouraging the urban community to strive to accomplish all their dreams and goals in life. AMADI Magazine will “EDUCATE” the urban community by providing concrete strategies on how they can develop a plan to make their business dreams come true. Finally, the AMADI Magazine will “ENTERTAIN” by allowing talented musicians, artists, fashion designers and models to showcase their work at community functions and on www.amadimag.com (AMADI Magazine Website).
Founder and CEO
Toccara Lanett Contributor
Jonathan Swann Graphic
Kanika Tolver (center) of Clinton, publisher of the online magazine AMADI, and writer Toccara Lanett (right) of Greenbelt record hip-hop musician Marky Plater of Hughesville on their video camera Sunday afternoon as he raps during an interview session at Cosca Regional Park in Clinton.
Chicago: GOWHERE HIP HOP
Gowherehiphop.com is run by Max Gutnik (Max G.) and Tim Hanrahan (Sgt. Tibs). Max G. is the designer and editor of all GWHH related artistic content, as well as a frequent contributor and strategist for the company. Sgt. Tibs is the chief contributor and editor. Together, we are entrepreneurs, our own public relations, and sponsors of an upcoming hip hop/pop duo from Chicago: LA & Mr. Music. Max G., 22, is a student at SAIC (Art Institute of Chicago) majoring in Visual Communications/Design. Sgt. Tibs, 21, is a student at the University of Minnesota majoring in Architecture and minoring in Environmental Design. We have been best friends since the 3rd grade and grew up together liking the same music that has influenced us to this point today.
AMADI: Can you explain to everyone the journey of Gowhere Hip Hop (GWHH)? How did y’all get started?
SGT. TIBS: Back in June of 2007, a friend of ours, Go Katayama, started an informal hip hop blog so he can share the music he loves with his friends. Later in the summer, Go left the States and asked me to keep the blog going; I became very passionate right away, sharing my old favorites and posting new material inspired by Kanye West’s Graduation that was released that September. Max joined that month and worked on the design for our first official website where we then transferred from Blogspot to gowherehiphop.com by October. After developing and building the new site we upgraded and transferred our old content to the wordpress engine with the help of Brian Moschel (of Jabbify.com). After more hard work and success we had just recently transferred under the Chicago Tribune’s new umbrella company Chicago Now, this summer. With this new merge, we hope to achieve more success in the online and local Chicago market.
AMADI: “GOWHERE HIP HOP comes from the question of where hip hop is going.” -(GWHH)- So where do you think Hip Hop is going? Is it in a good direction?
MAX G.: Hip hop is definitely moving into a positive direction. It’s constantly changing and transforming itself into something new and innovative. We hope to become the biggest platform that instigates such thinking, because we feel that the only real valuable thing is intuition. It is intuition that evolves and transforms hip hop into something fresh, real, and exciting. We’re happy to see that hip hop is moving away from the dumbed-down crunk and violent imagery that used to define the genre. Don’t get me wrong, that used to be what was fresh, but it definitely got old and outplayed as the industry only marketed what sold. Following this cycle, the industry ended up marketing what used to sell by only allowing a certain sound to pass through the funnel. Feeding people imitations of what the innovators and trend setters came up with originally, really diluted and hurt our mindsets. Now with the internet, the industry is losing the power it had to control what sound the people will hear to blogs. There are those industry blogs that may conform, and recycle what is already out like before, but there are others that will provide insight into talents that no one would have a chance to hear before. We pride ourselves in our intuition and innovation to be the best by providing the most unique content, and exposing unheard talent with new sounds. Hip Hop is all about capturing our current mindset in the present we now live in. If the music lies, we lie to ourselves. In conclusion we are starting to become more aware of these phenomenas, knowing that we hold the power to shape our culture and future no less than the billion dollar man. By focusing on the positive, complex, and unique music we transform our citizens to reciprocate these behaviors, which is a much better direction to move in than that of violence, materialism, and mindless chatter.
AMADI: I see that Gowhere Hip Hop (GWHH)’s strategy is to focus on true talent and the underground artists. Why do you make an effort to focus on those individuals?
SGT. TIBS: Gowhere Hip Hop is an aggregate urban music blog that selectively focuses on true talent and underground artists because they deserve to be heard by a wider demographic that would otherwise have no knowledge about them. The latest mainstream content that we post has attracted an internationally mainstream audience. Naturally, Gowhere Hip Hop has become a platform for talented underground artists to gain exposure from an audience who would otherwise never pay attention to them. Our loyal readers have come to respect our opinions and taste in music that they would check out our recommendations, which leads to new fans of the talent.
MAX G.: We hope that this talent will bring something new to the genre and bring about a change that best reflects our current society. These underground artists are what society is really feeling as opposed to what the industry knows will sell, so by revealing the true unheard artists we will continue to feel happy as the music we hear will reflect our current culture and mindsets.
AMADI: Tell us about your clothing line Limited G? Any new updates? Where can we view and purchase Limited G clothing?
MAX G.: Limited G is GWHH’s internal clothing line, and Chicago’s premier limited edition apparel. The company was founded by Max G. and is progressing slowly alongside the parent company GWHH with help from business partner Sgt. Tibs. You can already find shirts from Limited G in the premier Chicago urban boutique “St. Alfred” on Milwaukee Ave, and over at the online store www.limitedg.com. My goal with Limited G is to bring our online presence and company image to life with art-inspired clothing that people can wear, and thus represent what we represent. As we move forward, I envision Limited G appearing in all of the urban boutiques across Chicago, however because the line is very limited I would try and give those boutiques exclusive clothing that can’t be found anywhere else. All of the clothing is done by personally silk screening each shirt by hand; I enjoy coming up with unique color alterations to the already available designs in order to make it more limited and unique. It all started with the GWHH glow in the dark tribute tees, but I hope in a few years we’ll have the resources to move into working with more than just graphic tees, but high end designer resources. In the meantime all of the designs that are out and will be released are art inspired works, which all have unique and coinciding photoshoots. If you’re interested in purchasing any Limited G clothing, visit the online store or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMADI: What major music artists have you guys worked with in the past and who would you like to work with in the future?
SGT. TIBS: You know, I still have to take a step back sometimes and count my blessings with the access we’ve had with some of today’s hottest artists. We have interviewed the big names like Twista, Chamillionaire, and Trey Songz, and upcoming talent in and outside of Chicago like Matthew Santos, Melanie Fiona, Naledge and Mike Posner, amongst others. Looking ahead to the future, we would love to interview or collaborate closely with the city’s three biggest mega-stars in Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Common. Not only the music of all three, but the creative mindsets we see behind their music is a chief inspiration in to what we do with Gowhere Hip Hop and to how we live our everyday lives.
AMADI: Recently, I heard that Gowhere Hip Hop (GWHH) joined forces with the Chicago Tribune athttp://chicagonow.com. Can you provide us more information about this new venture?
SGT. TIBS: The Chicago Tribune is launching a new online venture with ChicagoNow.com that is a collection of Chicago blogs about every topic imaginable. The idea is for ChicagoNow to become the first place that Chicagoans go to for news, commentary, etc. from Chicagoans who are passionate experts about their subject. ChicagoNow also stresses its user-friendly features and is already becoming an active place for Chicagoans and all visitors to voice their opinion and interact with each other. This is a never before seen idea that a major publication is trying to accomplish, to transition their brand to an increasingly digital audience. ChicagoNow reached out to us earlier this spring and we have since signed on and worked closely with their team to build and customize the new website you see today. The potential for ChicagoNow to succeed has yet to be scratched as the Tribune Co. only just took off the beta tag on August 10th, and is now beginning to promote the new venture to Chicagoans through all of their outlets. Check out our ads in the complimentary Red Eye publications, the Tribune paper, and on WGN TV and radio. We are excited to be involved with a hard-working and intelligent team of visionaries at ChicagoNow, and look forward to a bright future together.
AMADI: What advice would the Gowhere Hip Hop (GWHH) crew give to other inspiring entrepreneurs?
SGT. TIBS: Aspiring entreprenuers should above all maintain patience. Ideas and business take time to develop and reach the people. It is important to have a solid idea and business plan before going forward. Once started, begin networking with people in your field and genre so you can start working relationships that are mutually beneficial to success. That said, make sure to have something to offer. You may not have something the instant you start your venture but you will. Finally, in addition to having patience, you have to have the work ethic to go above and beyond, because you won’t achieve your goals if you just go through the motions. Max and I are always up into the wee hours of the morning, putting in extra work to get even closer to our goals. Once you discover a unique niche and begin to brand yourself as such, patience and hard work will lead you to where you want to go.
AMADI: What is Gowhere Hip Hop (GWHH) crew’s long term goals and plans for the company and the brand?
SGT. TIBS: There are a lot of long-term goals we have for Gowhere Hip Hop. With our recent ChicagoNow partnership, we will effectively continue to brand ourselves in Chicago on top of our already strong international audience. We pride ourselves on our increasing amount of new features, coverage, and exclusives, which we will only continue to post at an even larger scale. On top of our digital influence, we hope to make a strong splash by managing and hosting our own events. We plan to have unique events that will promote music, art, fashion, theatre, and more to try and attract a variety of demographics from Chicago. Gowhere Hip Hop is also the host to an online music industry program in conjunction with Music Industry Educators. We offer our readers the opportunity to enroll in professional courses and learn about the music industry, whether you’re interested in the business side of things or if you’re an aspiring artist or producer. As Gowhere continues to get stronger, LA & Mr. Music keep producing new material, gaining more fans, and performing more shows, while Limited G continues to expand in Chicago boutiques and online. All three aspects of our enterprise are in prime position to make even more power moves as we continue to build our respective resumes.
AMADI: If AMADI Magazine viewers wanted to visit your websites, purchase clothing or contact you, how can they?
MAX G.: gowherehiphop.com - The #1 Chicago Hip Hop Blog. It’s updated multiple times daily with the latest in Chicago urban music and mainstream and underground content along with perspective into other forms of art and entertainment with consistent spotlights on art work, design, photography, sports, and anything Chicago. You can find out more about our Online Music Industry Program by visiting www.mu-ed.com/gowherehiphop or by calling 888-432-3805. You can purchase the GWHH Tribute Tees and more from Chicago’s premier urban fashion outlet from our clothing line, Limited G, at limitedg.com. And of course, follow us on Twitter: @gowherehiphop (Sgt. Tibs) and @limitedg (Max G.)!
AMADI: Would you like to shout out AMADI magazine? Are they DOPE and do you understand their passion?
SGT. TIBS: We got nothin’ but love for AMADI Magazine! We hope our readers check out the great things you have going. Thank you so much for the wonderful questions and keep up the great work