December 2014 marks the 20 Year Anniversary of Caught In The Middle, so we've launched both issues as a FREE digital PDF Download. There are also some physical copies of issue #2 available!
Here's the background story:
Caught In The Middle Magazine was the brainchild of myself, Kevin Beacham (Creator/Co-Owner) and J-Bird (Owner/Co-Creator) and was produced out of Chicago in conjunction with graphic designers, Boom Design. The magazines First Issue (green color) debuted in December of 1994 with Common Sense on the cover, his first magazine cover ever! The Second Issue (burgundy color) followed a few months later with, then New Music Seminar MC Battle Champion from Chicago, Judgmental of Kinetic Order on the cover.
The magazine focused on exposing the rising Chicago Underground Hip Hop scene to the world and we agreed to always put upcoming Chicago artists on the cover. We also took pride in taking notice to Underground Artists around the world by giving them the coverage. We also made a point of not just focusing on the new, but reaching back to early times in all eras of Hip Hop to give props where they were due. Although it only existed for a very short time (two issues) the magazine was quite impactful. Letters poured in from around the world in support of the magazine. Accolades were given from many artist and peers on the scene. Rappages Magazine, who was then the key competitor to the Source, called it one of the best Rap Mags to ever pass thru their office. Bobbito Garcia awarded one of Kevin Beacham's column's, "Microphone Mathematics" (a column dedicated to analyzing lyrics) with one of his flattering "Butter Awards. I also maintain that C.I.T.M may possible be the first Hip Hop magazine to offer Mixtape reviews. Additionally, while in the process of putting the final touches on their Third Issue (blue color) the magazine also secured national distribution...
However, it never came to be. Among other issues, we were unable to raise the finances to cover costs to print the magazine, largely because major labels refused and/or fail to pay for their ADs printed in the second issue. One of the key reasons is they were frustrated with us not putting their commercial acts on the cover of the magaine or doing articles on them. I consistently rejected their requests for coverage on whatever new trend artist they were trying to push and fool the public with. Ultimately, I chose sticking to my beliefs over sacrificing for their financial contributions. I struggled for the next several years to find ways to revive the magazine, but wasn't able to get the funding.
In any event, in our two-issue streak, C.I.T.M was able to build a fan base and prove us as a powerful force to be reckoned with. C.i.T.M was the magazine that gave early, and quite often the very first coverage, to artists such as Common Sense, Cage, Company Flow, Chino XL, Beat Terrorists, Funkytown Pros and many others. C.I.T.M believed in letting the artists speak on the Culture and featured writing from Kool Keith, Godfather Don, and other Hip Hop artists as well.
Each issue had a focused theme through out the issue:
Issue One (rare): Mixtapes
Issue Two (still available): Hip Hop Radio
Issue Three (unreleased): Hip Hop Magazines
Issue One contains articles on Common Sense, Funkytown Pros, Stedy Serv, Art Of Origin (IE Chino XL), Pinkhouse (r.i.p), J.U.I.C.E, Notorious B.I.G, Craig Mack, DJ Boogie Boy, CMB a.k.a Cash Money Brothers, DJ 33 1/3, DJ Rob One (r.i.p), DJ Baby G, DJ Jackboy, DJ Third Rail, DJ Blaze, Craig G, Elements Of Nature, Chicago Dancers; Regnoc and Soul, Tung Twista, Cold Crush Brothers, T.R. Love of The Beat Terrorists, Godfather Don, an article written by Kool Keith a.k.a Quotes Stolen From The Rhythm X Files, the full color pull out Graf poster and more!!
Issue #2 includes interviews with and articles on: Bobbito, Chill Rob G, JP Chill (Chicago undergound radio legend), Hobo Junction VS Hieroglyphics lyrical analysis, King Tee, Mr. Magic, The Wake Up Show, Mike Nardone & King EMZ, Nasty Ness, Sha-Key, Tony Craig a.k.a Twilite Tone a.k.a YNOT Nevertheless, Mental Giants (Akbar & P-Lee Fresh), Redman Lyrical Analysis, Fugees, Ill State Assassins, Nuti Pack, Gauge The Mental Murderer, Mind Space, Upski, Crash Crew, a full color Graf poster pull out, and much more!!!!!
I'm also slowly working on some other C.I.T.M projects that I'll leak at some point. Little known fact, but Issue #3 was pretty much completely written and partially designed, just never released. Been thinking about making that issue available, probably just the text because I don't have the design files, but I think it would be cool to share that time capsule of articles!!
Shout Outs to everyone who contributed, read, appreciated, donated, and supported Caught In The Middle in any way!!!
Written By Kevin Beacham