Carlton Wade is a veteran hip hop journalist with more than 15 years of experience. Beginning his career in the late 1990s as an eager college student at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss., Wade got his feet wet in the field of journalism during his junior/ senior years as the sports copy editor for campus newspaper The Student Printz.
While still an undergraduate, he wrote several feature articles for the student newspaper as well as local Hattiesburg publications the Hattiesburg American, Lamar County Times and the Advertiser News. That same year, he began freelance writing for now-defunct Los Angeles-based Rap Sheet and Rap Pages magazines as well as New York-based The Source and XXL magazines.
At the time, The Source was coined “the Bible of Hip Hop,” being the first and largest hip hop publication in the world. While at Rap Sheet, he penned some of the most insightful features, cover story articles and music reviews on such notable, multi-platinum Southern-based rap acts as the Geto Boys, Devin the Dude, Outkast and Eightball and MJG.
After college graduation, Wade accepted a job as a general assignment reporter for the Delta Democrat Times newspaper in Greenville, Miss. During his stint at the local daily, he would moonlight as a freelance writer for a host of magazines. In addition, Wade was contracted to write artist biographies for several national music distributors such as Atlantic, Interscope, Universal, Priority and Asylum.
His big break came in 1999 when he was asked to write his first feature story for The Source on the history of New Orleans-based rap subgenre known as bounce music. Over the next few years, he would be called upon to contribute to several other national publications including urban men’s magazine KING, VIBE and now-defunct producer/DJ mag Scratch, for which he wrote the cover story on mixtape king DJ Drama and multi-platinum rapper T.I.
Steadily adding to his resume, Wade contributed for such websites as Yahoo.com, Sister2Sister.com, Launch.com, BET.com and music mogul Russell Simmons’ now-defunct OneWorld.com. And over the stint of his career, Wade was the first to introduce many of hip hop’s most well-known stars like Lil Jon, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, Lil Flip, Fiend and Oscar-winning group Three 6 Mafia to national audiences with his writing.
Other controversial feature stories that Wade wrote include the story of “Freeway” Ricky Ross, the convicted crack-cocaine kingpin of the late 80s/early 90s. He also wrote the story of slain New Orleans rapper Soulja Slim, who was gunned down in front of his mother’s home and implied as the triggerman in other murders around the city.
In 2002, Wade became the first and only Southern Correspondent for The Source. At his post, he developed a plethora of story ideas and even expanded the magazine’s Off the Radar section to include up-and-coming independent artists (which is still in place today). He also wrote many of the magazine’s most unforgettable cover stories on Lil Jon, Trick Daddy, T.I., Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and legendary Southern rap duo UGK. Additionally, he wrote The Source’s cover story on the sudden death of late, great rapper Pimp C (one half of UGK).
While still on staff at The Source, Wade also served as editor-in-chief of Atlanta-based urban lifestyle magazine GRIP. He was responsible for overseeing all editorial content in the regional publication. His duties included setting up photo shoots, landing interviews and managing a team of editors, photographers and freelance writers.
Most recently, he teamed up with music entrepreneur Jack Frost for the first documentary on the history and evolution of Southern Hip Hop entitled The Takeover: What You Really Know About the Dirty South. The documentary follows not only the musical development of Southern hip hop culture and rap music but examines the economic factors, technological advances and societal influences which created such a culture.
Both educational and entertaining, the documentary captures candid interviews with many of the South’s brightest stars including Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Scarface, Master P, Lil Jon, Gucci Mane, DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia and Mannie Fresh. Straight from the mouths of the artists, producers, label CEOs and DJs, The Takeover: What You Really Know About the Dirty South examines each phase and era of Southern hip hop.