Black Blogger Month: Karen Civil, The People’s Voice

With access to Lil Wayne and Dr. Dre, this trusted blogger is a every music lovers favorite source for all things music

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Karen Civil, founder fo


Behind-the-scenes players don’t always earn shine from a backlight. Karen Civil is the exception. As the creator of her self-titled hip-hop blog, the music industry insider has proven that she can pimp the online ring from any and all angles. Even with a resume that boasts impressive bullet points such as Lil Wayne’s Young Money Social Media Coordinator and currently, Beats By Dre Digital Marketing Manager, it’s, that positions the New Jersey native as one of today’s most authoritative digital gatekeepers.

Kick-started in 2008, site was born from a simple, but sticky idea: Produce premier content on cocooned artists Civil believed would blow up. And with early cosigns that include hip-hop stars Drake and J. Cole, it’s safe to bet her ear and eye are worth trusting, especially since they’ve earned her a 2010 MTV Hip Hop Award, 2009 Essence Black Web Award and features in The Source, XXL, Complex and Billboard. Printing out traffic reports of 1,000,000+ monthly visitors, the site generates around $125,000 in yearly revenue. Farming the lifestyle element of her brand, Civil’s recently collaborated with eco-friendly jewelry maker Good Wood for a successful line of Live Civil bracelets seen on not only everyday fans, but rappers such as A$AP Rocky and Lil Wayne. Next up is the summer debut of her very own pink pantone snapback under Rock Smith apparel. As part of Black Blogger Month, catches up with the tech savvy 26-year-old to see how her digital empire was built.

I started blogging because…

Back when I was working with Dipset and Max B, I used to service hip-hop blogs like Nah Right and Hip-Hop Game. But as people really got to know who I am, instead of passing out news on the artists I was working, I decided why not just create my own hub for this. I was toying around with it and thinking, Okay, maybe I can do some interviews, maybe I’ll put up music and people can just take it directly off my page. And if they want to know more about my artist I’ll just have these generic questions answered. I knew so many artists on the come up who weren’t getting attention anywhere else so it was like why not just figure out a way to get them on my site. The first interview I did was at Starbucks with Drake the day of his birthday and when it got like 700 views I was so excited [laughs].

The overhead for running my blog…

Depends on if there’s an event. I’ve been working with sponsors on a lot of things lately, which is great, but if there’s an event like the Grammy’s [then I have to factor in] having to go there, video editing, things like that. Monthly, I’d say it can be anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000. But, thank God, I’m getting all this corporate money from sponsorships now [laughs]!

The biggest influences on my career are…

I love [New York radio personality] Angela Yee because she’s herself. She likes to wear $900 shoes, have a good time and it all works. She’s also a hustler–very ambitious and I like that. At times, I look at myself as the hip-hop Blossom because I wear so many different hats and it’s the same as [Yee]. She has her site, she’s on the radio, she does TV… I appreciate someone in entertainment who’s similar to me but on a higher plateau, but it doesn’t feel like it. Usually it’s hard for females in the same field to be okay with one another, but she’s not like that at all. Another person is [Funkmaster] Flex. Whether you like him or not he’s making sure that he stays relevant, that he’s No. 1 and that’s still pushing his content. He never gets old and that’s exactly where I want my brand to be. Him and Angela Yee, they just do it for me. They’re two wonderful people that I watch on a daily basis and kind of implement certain things they do into my business life and it’s working.

My blog stand out from others in the same space because… is going to give you great, curated content–from the interviews to things that are happening in the culture–and we’re always going to have that Civil voice. As things are happening, we’ll make sure to have that insight people may not necessarily know… It’s not about posting XYZ song first, it’s about telling the story. Where did they record it? Why did they put it out? Who was in the room when they recorded it? We like to tell a story from the fan’s perspective. It makes our posts that much better.

Having a Civil voice means…

Never having to step out your character to get things done. You’re being well received and getting the job done by being just you. It’s honestly about self-love. I love my opinion, but I don’t have to go crazy, I keep it civil. I keep it as humble as possible.

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