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'Bridgez' to Focus on Hispanic Hip-Hop

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NEW YORK Bridgez, a new bimonthly English-language magazine about the Hispanic veins of hip-hop culture, will hit newsstands in late April in California, New Jersey, New York, Miami and Chicago, according to creator Charlie Nunez, 21, who developed the periodical to target young, urban Latinos with his partner, Ariel Gonzalez, 22.

Backed by an initial investment of $120,000 in private equity and sponsorship from CNI Productions, a private company that produces parties for the music industry, the quarterly magazine will focus on aspects of hip-hop that are of particular interest to Hispanics, such as fashion, urban music and graffiti, Nunez said.

Originally, the magazine was intended for the African American male. But after a test launch late last year, "we totally flipped it into the Hispanic sphere," Nunez said.

Retailers such as Republica, Sean John and hip-hop clothing line Azzure are advertising in the premiere issue. Music label Rocafella Records has signed on as an advertiser, and Reebok is considering an ad, Nunez said.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based magazine will be sold on newsstands; its first printing will be 75,000 copies.

"The same crowd that stands outside of a Daddy Yankee concert for hours in below-zero weather spending their whole weekly pay to see him, that is the crowd that will be consuming our product," Nunez said.

Bridgez will have competition. The Source Enterprises, publisher of The Source, an English-language hip-hop magazine, will begin publishing a Spanish-language version this spring.

XXL, Vibe and other magazines that cover hip-hop also will compete with the new publication, said Carlos Pelay, president of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Media Economics Group, a Hispanic media research company. Boom Hispanic, a bimonthly magazine covering the Latino alternative music scene, will be another rival along with Los Angeles-based La Banda Elastica, Pelay said. Batanga and Urban Latino magazines also pull from the same advertising base Bridgez is courting, he said.

"I would take a wait-and-see kind of attitude. It's a market roughly the size of the African American market, yet there are a lot more African American titles with a lot more ad dollars," said Pelay. "There is room for growth on the Hispanic side, but it's a question of identifying the right niche, and this seems like a fairly narrow niche. You are refining the language demographic and the interest demographic to young urban Latinos who happen to be interested in hip-hop. You have to ask yourself whether they are going to be bringing enough new content to the arena."