Ok well I've sat and digested this mag for over a week or so, and I've concluded that it rad as hell. It definitely gets my seal of approval. In fact if you like art and dubstep in any way, shape or form, you should just stop reading this and go to their site right now and buy it. Make sure you tell them to mark Fragile and Please Do Not Bend on the package as my mix CD came in three pieces (they were cool enough to send me an mp3 version tho). Then again maybe your post office isn't run by rude boy hoods like mine is. All kidding aside, Big UP features dubstep heavy weights such as Emalkay, Goth Trad, Mary Anne Hobbs, SMOG crew, and mix CD by big bad KUTZ. There's also an interesting interview with electronica virtuoso , Amon Tobin. Art by Loic Sattle, Nik Ainley, Gary Fernandez and Blaine Fontanna. So topically, it's pretty spot on. I mean you don't get much better selection that that in my opinion. However the real reason I'm feeling this mag, is that in nearly every interview, they are able to dig in and find the story, and unearth a bit of truth. Its one thing to have a bunch of heavy hitters in the dub and art world and ask a bunch of generic questions and it's another to actually deliver interview that reveals some insight. I mean I usually don't read much about dubstep, I listen to it.
The Goth-trad interview in particular peaked my curiosity. He's from Japan so he has a completely different way of looking at music making then us Westerners. It seems it's more of a lifestyle choice, and very ingrained into his life, devoted, forward thinking and void of bullshit rockstar attitude. Mary Ann Hobbs of course was a fun read as well, cool to hear a bit about her LA Thrash scene background (which honestly I had no idea)... She just came across very cool and dedicated to her craft. I could see her evolving into the John Peel (~ used in respect) of underground dance music. Since I do motion graphics/video production stuff for a living, it was really cool to see Loic Sattler, whose Lysergid projects I'm familiar with. Got that shit bookmarked for inspiration. So I was immediately drawn to the interview( and the cover which is by him), and appreciated having a look under the hood, to check out that gnarly chromed-out engine that propels his illustrations. He's got a sharp eye, for color, composition and pattern, that's for sure. Anyways I'm not here to write a kiss-ass essay about every interview, article or feature. It's rad, just know that.
My one criticism would be the layout and the typography (the leading is too much and makes it hard to read). But I've been told this is changing next issue. So yeah not all of it is brilliant, but it's good enough that you feel like you get your money's worth. What's more important is that it's a stateside printed magazine that shows love to underground music and art in genuine way. That's something I need. And in a way, it helps validate the stateside dubstep scene and culture. Even if the name is a little bit 2003 (zing!). You can preview some articles on http://thebigupmagazine.com order the magazine and even download some wicked podcasts there. BTW the Kutz mix was dope and leaned toward the heavy techno-dubstep side.