After Seven Years I'm Leaving DJBooth, Long Live DJBooth

I've been at DJBooth longer than I've been married, but every road has its end.
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Big news for some, no news for many.

After seven years, more if you count the time I was a lowly album review writer doing it for the free CDs and burrito money, I'm going to be leaving the only hip-hop home I've ever known, DJBooth. I'll be moving on to become the managing editor of BitTorrent. It's especially painful to be exiting at a time when DJBooth is at its peak, and rising, but as Boyz II Men so eloquently said, every road has its end. 

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote about deciding to build a gazebo in his backyard, even though his construction experience was just barely above absolutely none. Naive but determined, he simply started and focused on what was in front of him, pouring that section of cement, laying that brick, hammering that nail, screwing up and sweating and swearing and then figuring it out, day after day after day. After day. At the end of the summer he stepped back, looked at the completed gazebo and asked himself, "How the fuck did I do that?"

As I pack my digital bags and step back to look at DJBooth, I'm filled with that same feeling. 

I began writing album reviews late at night, after my day job, and took the leap into the land of full-time music writing in '09. In just a few years I watched the internet change dramatically, and DJBooth change with it, transitioning from primarily a music streaming site to one of the interwebz most respected editorial sites. There was always a larger plan, but because the future is always hazy, so was our long-term vision. We simply did our best with the day in front of us, day after day after day, year after year after year, and now stepping back, it's hard to fully comprehend how all those hours sweating and swearing and figuring it out built this great thing. 

DJBooth consciously pushed to stay on the proverbial cutting edge, but being on the edge means having only a short horizon in front of you. When I started rappers were routinely passing around their mixtapes via ZShare links, now ZShare is dead and we have Audiomack. When I started apps didn't exist, shit, BlackBerrys were still poppin, and now we've spent the last year building and launching The Plug. I couldn't have possibly foreseen getting into a shouting match with Xzibit at the Playboy Mansion, watching ScHoolboy Q get arrested or covering the GRAMMYs, and yet, unbelievably, it all happened. 

So how did I do it? At the risk of becoming the inspirational halftime speech of a sports movie, I didn't do anything, we did. I've known Brian (Z) and Dave longer than I've known my children, and along the way I've worked with more talented and dedicated writers, directors, music industry people and, most importantly, artists than I could possibly name in one post, and those people have been the reason I've loved this job so much.  

Hip-hop, and more specifically DJBooth, has allowed me to connect with thousands of people, often people very different than me, that I would never have talked to otherwise, and when I step back, that feels like an almost impossibly beautiful thing. 

I'm not dying, not quitting the online music game to become an investment banker, and so I plan on taking all of those relationships with me. This isn't an end, or necessarily a beginning, more like the season finale of a show that's set to run for years to come. As much as I hope I brought some value to the site, it's far bigger than me, always was, and will continue to be. Some of the best, most passionate, intelligent and dedicated people in music are at DJBooth, and I expect it to hit new heights without me, heights I can't even imagine from here. And I'll be watching, from a short distance, amazed and thinking, "How the fuck did they do that?"

By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter

Photo Credit: Angie Luvara

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