Rap-Up.com & Rap-Up
Devin Lazerine may have had no idea what the lyrics meant when he first listened to Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Membrane" single at age 10, but he was hooked on hip-hop music from then on. Combining his love of the music with his interest in Web design, Lazerine, then 15, launched Rap-Up.com, billing it as "hip-hop's new home."
The story doesn't end here. A few days after launching Rap-Up.com in 2000, Lazerine was contacted by a publisher interested in doing a magazine based on the site, an idea Lazerine had tossed around. The first issue of Rap-Up included interviews with artists like Nelly, Ludacris and 112. Editor in chief Lazerine penned the Destiny's Child feature, while writers from Rolling Stone, The Source, Vibe and others contributed to the rest. Now Rap-Up has a circulation of 200,000 in the United States and Canada.
It seems like only a matter of time before the Calabasas, California, teen will follow in the footsteps of P. Diddy or Russell Simmons, men whom Lazerine admires for their successful forays into several businesses with hip-hop music. "My ultimate goal," reveals Lazerine, "is to become a music mogul/entrepreneur, which includes becoming a producer, owning my own recording label, clothing line and magazines." As he's currently in talks to create a TV show as well as a movie based on his experiences, it appears someone is listening. -April Y. Pennington