Thursday's cover story on Gary, Indiana-raised rapper Freddie Gibbs, engendered a substantial response within the hip-hop blogosphere, with prominent sites Rap Radar, Nah Right, Fake Shore Drive, and The Smoking Section, all taking note.

Even Wale twittered a congratulations message. Consider it a capstone to Gibbs' rapid rise since the release of Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs this spring. Or perhaps it's testament to the enduring power of a captivating image, a dramatic story, and a bleacher-reaching headline. At least we know that print isn't dead.

Unfortunately, via the game of Internet Telephone, it was reported that this was the Weekly's first rap cover since Jonathan Gold's seminal portrait of N.W.A. circa 1989. This is not the case. In 2009 alone, the paper has featured cover stories on The New Boyz and the Jerkin' movement, and venerable Project Blowed alumni, Busdriver. Last year, the paper fronted The Knux, as part of a feature that included Bishop Lamont, Blu, and Pac Div.

The piece also garnered a response from XXL blogger, Brooklyne Gibson, who questioned the newspaper's decision to give a cover to an artist who was raised elsewhere. In turn, this provoked retorts from KIIS-FM and XM DJ, DJ Skee, (who also co-manages Gibbs), as well as prominent local hip-hop blogger Ivan Rott of Hip-Hop is Read, who pointed out that “2pac was from New York [and Baltimore and Oakland], Ice-T is from New Jersey, Kurupt is from Philadelphia. Xzibit is from Michigan.”

Los Angeles is notoriously a city of transplants and Gibbs has lived here for a good portion of the last half-decade, but Gibson raised a point that bears repeating: the importance of local media supporting local artists. In no way was the Gibbs cover intended to slight the constellation of compelling LA rappers, who number more than at any point since gangsta rap's zenith.

From the aforementioned artists to the New West kingpins (Nipsey Hussle, Jay Rock, Glasses Malone, Terrace Martin, Problem, and K-Dot, Young Dre the Truth) to the latest crop of underground favorites (Illa J, TiRon, U-N-I, Dom Kennedy, Diz Gibran, Shawn Chrystopher), to the Project Blowed and Low End Theory-affiliated (Nocando, Dumbfoundead, Subtitle, Intuition), to the talent at Tres Records (Shawn Jackson, Co$$, Giant Panda) and Language Artz (Picaso, Thr33zy McFly, A.T.) to the Exile and Alchemist-protégé Fashawn, the list of emerging rappers is endless. And that doesn't even including those who have held things down for the last decade and change: the Project Blowed and Death Row diaspora, DJ Quik and Sugafree, Mack 10, W.C. and Ice Cube, Tha Liks, Dilated Peoples, The Game, Jurassic 5, Stones Throw, Crooked I, Strong Arm Steady, People Under the Stairs, Murs and Living Legends, dozens more I'm surely forgetting.

Many of these artists are worthy of a cover and all are worthy of coverage. Consider this a small shout-out to those that continue to make this city and our headphones a more pleasant place. This is the part where you are supposed to play “California Love,” “To Live and Die in LA,” and throw up the “W,” even though 2Pac's original rap name was MC New York.

Starting now…

LA Weekly