A month after Nas officially joined forces with urban publication Mass Appeal, the company has announced raising over a million dollars in funding.
Along with the good news, there is buzz G.O.O.D Music’s Pusha T has also reportedly invested in the publication.
Mass Appeal, a joint venture that’s both reviving the Brooklyn-based, graffiti-focused magazine of the same name and also moving into online content, is announcing that it has raised $1.2 million in funding. It’s backed by a mix of traditional firms and figures from the hip hop world. The rapper, (and one-time TechCrunch contributor) Nas announced last month that he had invested a “six-figure sum” in the company, and he’s also serving as Mass Appeal‘s associate publisher. Publisher Peter Bittenbender told me via email that the other investors include record label/creative agency DECON (where Bittenbender is co-founder and CEO), rapper Pusha T, and international firm White Owl Capital. (Tech Crunch)
Despite its hip-hop core, the company is looking to branch out and reach even greater plateaus.
In its original incarnation, the magazine was founded in 1996 and shut down in 2008, before being revived by the current team earlier this year. Bittenbender said that the goal is to create an “an integrated media property” that includes web video, photography, social, print and live experiences. You see that content on the Mass Appeal site, as well as its YouTube account, which features peeks behind the scenes of the magazine, the “Time Pieces” series of short videos from Jason Goldwatch, and more. When the company first reached out to me, a spokesperson said the content would be “embracing the core ethics of hip-hop culture and using that to push great content with a unique voice to a global audience.” However, Bittenbender emphasized that Mass Appeal goes beyond hip hop. (Tech Crunch)
Buzz behind Nas’ hefty investment in Mass Appeal made headlines last month.
The Queens-born rapper tells FORBES that he has invested a “six-figure” sum in the publication, which re-emerged as a quarterly print product earlier this year after a five-year hiatus. “I always liked what they represented,” says Nas. “They invested into the culture … I saw their vision for what they planned and I thought I could add value across the board.” He will serve as Associate Publisher for Mass Appeal, which was originally founded in 1996 as a graffiti magazine and has since involved into a broader outfit spanning print, web, video and a monthly event series. (Forbes)
When asked why he wanted to join Mass Appeal, Nasir said he felt he could bring something new to the table.
Nas explained that he’d been dismayed at the lack of options for readers interested in all aspects of hip-hop culture, particularly on the newsstands. He considered starting his own publication, as Jay-Z did, but figured he’d have better luck using an existing brand as a launching pad. “Mass Appeal has a legacy and respect,” he says. “It already has a foundation … I just feel like I can add on because I can lend my kind of cultural expertise and my professional acumen, and develop the business.” The move is indicative of a shift in the rapper’s priorities. Unlike some of his musical contemporaries, Nas wasn’t among the first wave of mainstream hip-hop entrepreneurs that sprang up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (Forbes)