First issue date: October 1991
On the cover: Illustration by 8th Wonder
Cover line: The Bomb Hip-Hop Kinda Magazine
Editor: David Paul
Art director: David Paul
Like The Source, The Bomb evolved from the newsletter of a college rap radio show to a full-fledged magazine covering all the elements of hip-hop culture. Being 3000 miles to the west of Harvard University, the first issue featured Cypress Hill rather than Slick Rick. The artistic approach favored graf-style illustrations over photography. And the roster of writers—Funken-Klein (R.I.P.), Billy Jam, Spence Dookey, Cheo Coker, Jazzbo, Faisal Ahmed, Dave Tompkins, DJ Shadow, and Kutmasta Kurt—reflected a decidedly left-coast sensibility.
David Paul says: "I was doing a rap radio show (Beatbox Friday's) on college radio in the late '80s at KCSF (City College of San Francisco). In 1990, I began printing my Top 40 playlist along with a few reviews, etc. on a double-sided 8 1/2 x 11" sheet of paper on a monthly basis and would mail this to record labels and other radio stations. I had written a couple of articles for new up-starting rap publications, but the magazines never put out their first issues. One morning I woke up and decided that I was going to do a hip-hop magazine myself. I put the first issue together in Oct. 1991 by using my mom's Royal 1952 typewriter, reducing the size of the text to create columns on a copy machine, and then pasting the paragraphs together with a glue stick...pretty archaic, but it worked!
Photos don't really reproduce well in a black-and-white photocopy publication, so it made sense to go with graffiti illustrators. The first cover was drawn by 8th Wonder, who did a lot of art for DJ Shadow and Blackalicious back in the day. The artwork for the first issue had grays, and as you can see it didn't print well, so after that I told all the artists to submit strictly black and white line art."