The Gig: Founder/CEO, Pitchfork Media
Remember when five mics meant something? Yeah, neither does anyone under the age of 18. Initially seen as a relevant barometer of the hipster scene and indie rock, Pitchfork's ten-point scoring system and Best New Music designation is the new Source 5 Mic-rating, as it increasingly drives conversations about music, including—and especially—rap. People care, for better or worse, what Pitchfork thinks of a record (although disgruntled rappers have yet to physically assault any of its staff writers, yet).
Can you criticize them for being irresponsible hip-hop culture vultures (see: Chief Keef) if you want? Sure, of course you can. But what you can't do is ignore the way Pitchfork nonetheless exposes huge and important numbers of outsiders a genre so many of them are otherwise lost in: hip-hop.
In addition, Pitchfork.TV's Selector series is one of the most popular video shows about hip-hop online. Love 'em or hate 'em, the rap voyeurs ain't going nowhere, and if up-and-coming rappers want to grow their following to be Bigger Than Rap, there's only one score that matters: Theirs.