Pretty much every rap fan in Detroit knows 4Sho Magazine. It’s the go-to place for all things music in the D. It’s the place where local artists go to get exposure and get their break in the industry. It’s the place where you get your music video shot because the quality is top notch. With nearly 200,000 subscribers and over 100 million views on YouTube, 4Sho Mag is constantly expanding.
Joseph McFashion is the man who makes it all happen. At just 25, he’s made a name for himself and has built a brand the city not only loves but respects. In addition to the magazine, McFashion manages rappers and is a video producer. He spoke with me about getting started in the online magazine business and what it means to be an entrepreneur in Detroit.
Gabrielle Johnson: How did you get started in the online magazine industry?
Joseph McFashion: At first I was trying to be a rapper but I wasn’t that good. So I knew I still wanted to be involved with rap and the music industry. A friend of mine Charlie had all these covers of magazines. They were just covers with no content. So I decided to make content for these magazine covers.
GJ: Why is it important for an entrepreneur to take risks?
JF: If you don’t take risks then you’ll remain the same. You have to keep reinventing your brand.
GJ: What are the biggest challenges of being an entrepreneur?
JF: I would say creating new content. It takes a lot of time to be creative. In Detroit it’s nothing really new, so it’s like I’m creating the same content over and over. But I somehow keep finding ways to recreate the same content and reinvent my magazine.
GJ: How do you separate yourself from competing magazines?
JF: It’s simple. We either allow them to join us or we simply just destroy them. It’s the “if you can’t beat us, join us” mentality. Usually the talented people in the city will just work for us since our fan base is so large.
GJ: How do you use social media to get more exposure?
JF: I will say there is different strokes for different folks. I’m big with YouTube. As far as the others I’m not real crafty. It’s good because it helps you to build your fan base. So it starts with the people you know and they’re going to help grow your followers. If the people who already follow you likes your stuff, then they’re going to tell more people.
GJ: What’s the future of your business? Do you see yourself moving from Detroit?
JF: I’m going to stay based in Detroit because it humbles me. The struggle here inspires me. But I will continue to travel all over the country. I’m in Miami right now. It’s important that I travel and see different things. I think better when I’m out of town. It’s just relaxing to get away from the city and that helps my brain.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All images were taken from Joseph McFashion’s Instagram with his permission.