I had the pleasure of sitting down with Vikki Tobak, a journalist, producer, and author of Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop. Our conversation covered a range of topics from her upbringing in Detroit to her work with Gang Starr, Paper Magazine, and her journey to writing Contact High.
Vikki spoke about growing up in Detroit and how the music scene, including Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, influenced her. She also shared her experiences working with Gang Starr, Public Enemy, and Chi-Ali, and the importance of protecting artists in public relations.
We discussed the significance of iconic images in hip-hop and the role of photographers in preserving the culture. Vikki emphasized the importance of telling a story and presenting it well through photographs, especially when it comes to celebrity culture.
We also touched on the power of collaboration and believing in something, and how good instincts and mental chess can help in navigating the media world. Vikki shared tips from other photographers, including the importance of having a conversation with the people you are photographing.
Throughout our conversation, Vikki's love for hip-hop and dedication to preserving its history shone through. It was clear that her book, Contact High, was not just a photography book, but a storytelling book that captured the essence of hip-hop culture.
Press play to listen to the actual conversation I'm referring to in this writing.​​​​​​​

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