Yes, as Dylan proselytized in 1964, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Bowie reinforced the notion in 1971, while Tupac posthumously topped global charts in 1998 with a flow—full of his raw reality and effervescent hope—that’s never been more relevant. And Charles Bradley elegantly tackled Black Sabbath with his 2013 cover, adding a whole new emotional dimension and unparalleled passion to the classic.
These immaculately crafted songs and their messages, delivered with soul by inimitable artists, are the reason why I’ve been so drawn to music for as long as I can remember. Music is my inspiration, and the people behind it have guided the roads we’ve traveled with this magazine.
There’s always been a time-honored tradition of passing the mic to the next rising talent, and while this man is in no way new on the scene, he is the perfect person for not just this moment in #PDXmusic, but the right thought leader to confront the issues and inequities our larger society faces as a whole.
Whether steering ships within the local hip-hop scene by producing The Thesis or running We Out Here Magazine, making his voice heard as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, or raising a family and creating strong community in our city, I’m honored to introduce Mac Smiff as the guest editor of our fall 2020 issue.
In speaking with Smiff this past weekend, he told me how our society has a problem understanding life cycles. Everything has a beginning and an end, hopefully reaching some high highs while also understanding that there will be lows on the journey—yet our American dream tells us that things should be bigger and better. Every. Single. Time.
Is your record a failure if it doesn’t sell as many copies as your last one? Or are you putting too much stock in someone else’s opinion, too many eggs in a basket that’s largely out of your control?
There’s no balance in unchecked growth. We need to recalibrate our mindset to comprehend what we can do, together, for our community. Oregon has a wonderful four-season climate—just watch the changing world around you to understand the finite as well as the symbiotic nature of so many different, and seemingly independent, organisms.
Smiff’s lifespan as editor will last just one issue as adding another job to his resume is not in the cards. (Trust me, his wife will not allow it.) But this fall, "It's gonna be a Blackout," he says.
For six years now, I’ve had the privilege to create 24 issues of Vortex alongside some of this city’s most talented writers, photographers and artists. It’s now time for someone else to chart the course of this magazine. And that door is open for whomever wants to walk through it.
As my favorite Beatle said, “All Things Must Pass.” And for me, I must be on my way. But George didn’t say they had to end. Tomorrow is a new day and that’s where you come in.
Chris Young Editor-In-Chief