Open main menu

Elliott Wilson (born January 14, 1971) is an American journalist, television producer, and magazine editor. He is the founder and CEO of Rap Radar. In the past, he has worked as editor-in-chief of XXL Magazine.[1] While there, he became known for his editorials under the nickname "YN".

Elliott Wilson
Elliott Wilson 01.jpg
Wilson at the Museum of Pop Culture in 2010
Born (1971-01-14) January 14, 1971 (age 48)
ResidenceNew York City, New York, U.S.
Alma materLaGuardia Community College
OccupationJournalist, television producer
Years active1992-present
Known forRap Radar, XXL, Respect.
Danyel Smith (m. 2005)

Over the course of his career, Elliott has interviewed and profiled a number of artists, including Jay-Z [2] and Drake.[3]


Early lifeEdit

Elliott Wilson was born January 14, 1971 in Queens, New York. His father is African American and his mother is of Ecuadorian and Greek descent. He attended William Cullen Bryant High School, went on to attend LaGuardia Community College, and received an associate degree in Liberal Arts in 1992. He has two younger brothers, Kenneth and Steven.

Writing careerEdit

Wilson has been writing and talking about hip hop and rap music since 1992,[4] when he became music editor for Beat Down magazine. He is the co-author of two critically acclaimed books, "Book of Rap Lists" and "Big Book of Racism!".[5][6] Both books were created in the spirit of the short-lived magazine Ego trip. In 2004 Entertainment Weekly named the ego trip collective one of the "25 Funniest People in America".[7] Wilson has written for a number of publications, including GQ, VIBE, and Rolling Stone.[8][9]

In spring of 1996 Wilson went to College Music Journal as a beat-box editor. At the end of that year he was promoted as music editor of The Source magazine. In September, 1999, Wilson went to work at Harris Publications as editor-in-chief of XXL Magazine, and in 2005 he launched their website, He also co-created Hip-Hop Soul. In 2004, Wilson co-executive produced VH1’s TV’s Illest Minority Moments: Presented by ego trip.[10] In 2005 Wilson co-executive produced three specials for VH1, under the Ego trip’s "Race-O-Rama: Blackaphobia, In Race We Lust, and Dude Where’s My Ghetto Pass?". In January 2007, VH1 debuted the eight-episode series Ego trip's The (White) Rapper Show, where Wilson served as co-executive producer. In April 2008, VH1 debuted Ego trip's Miss Rap Supreme, where Wilson also served as co-executive producer.[11] In 2010 Wilson became RESPECT.'s editor-in-chief.

Breakup with XXLEdit

Wilson's tenure at XXL ended in January 2008 under controversial circumstances. On March 9, 2009, in partnership with Paul Rosenberg, he launched,[12] a webpage that documents mainstream hip-hop and rap culture in real time. Rap Radar has been nominated for best hip-hop web site for the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012. In 2010, Wilson became editor of RESPECT. magazine. In 2012, Wilson launched "Keep It Thoro", a two-hour weekly show on East Village Radio.[13] The show, hosted by Wilson, features new music, and interviews with today’s most popular and relevant artists. Since the summer of 2012, Keep It Thoro has been EVR’s No. 1 overall show.

In 2011, The Hollywood Reporter named Wilson to its list of "Top 20 Music Industry Innovators".[14] Billboard named Elliott to its "Twitter 140" in 2011 and 2012, a list of the most influential people in the music business.[15][16] In 2011, MTV listed Wilson as one of six "Hip-hop Culture MVPs". He has appeared as an expert on ABC, CNN, MTV, MTV2, VH1, BET, among others.

Personal lifeEdit

Wilson lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Danyel Smith. They were married in Los Angeles in June 2005.

Cultural WorkEdit

  • HRDCVR[17] a hardcover cultural magazine in partnership with wife Danyel Smith.
  • Founder of[18] Premiere Rap Blog for the latest news, music and video in Hip Hop Culture
  • Host of Rap Radar Podcast[19] "Hip hop's premier website connects with our culture's most important voices" in collaboration with Brian "BDot" Miller
  • presents CRWN[20] with Elliott Wilson where the world's greatest hip-hop journalist interviews today's hottest rap stars
  • Editorial Director, Culture & Content, TIDAL[21]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "XXL Editor-in-Chief Elliott Wilson Fired". Allen Jacobs. Hiphop DX. January 7, 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Jay-Z Finally Speaks About Marriage to Beyoncé". Stephen M. Silverman. People Magazine. August 8, 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Devine Styler". Beatdown. 1 (2). 1992. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  5. ^ Jenkins, Sacha; Wilson, Elliott (1999). Book of Rap Lists. St. Martin’s Press. p. 352. ISBN 0-312-24298-0. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  6. ^ Jenkins, Sacha; Wilson, Elliott (2002). Big Book of Racism!. Regan Books/HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-098896-7. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  7. ^ "Entertainment Weekly's 25 Funniest People In America". Stereogum. May 14, 2004. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  8. ^ "The Year in Music: It's the End of Rock as We Know It—and We Feel Fine". john Ritter. GQ. December 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  9. ^ "The Jay-T Family Tree". Rolling Stone: 24. 1999. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  10. ^ ""TV's Illest Minority Moments Presented by: ego trip" Debuts This Weekend". Nolan Strong. All hip hop. February 21, 2004. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  11. ^ Ego Trip's Miss Rap Supreme. "Miss Rap Supreme's contestants". VH1. Retrieved April 23, 2004.
  12. ^ "Miss Info Exclusive: RapRadar Sneak Peek". Missinfo. March 7, 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Keep it Thoro". East Village Radio. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Hollywood Reporter Offers List Of Top 20 Music Industry Innovators". Allaccess. February 11, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  15. ^ "Billboard's Twitter 140: Music-Industry Characters You Need To Follow". Billboard. March 18, 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  16. ^ "The Music Industry Characters You Need to Follow". Billboard. July 26, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  17. ^ "HOME". HRDCVR. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  18. ^ "Rap Radar". Rap Radar. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  19. ^ "Rap Radar Podcast". Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  20. ^ "What We Learned From Meek Mill's CRWN Interview". Hip-Hop News, Rumors, Rap Music & Videos |AllHipHop. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  21. ^ "Tidal Appoints Elliott Wilson, Tony Gervino To Newly Created Culture & Content Roles". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-05-11.

External linksEdit