In Search of... Divine Styler
Ten years after the arrival of his groundbreaking hip-hop zine In Search of . . . Divine Styler, founder Fritz tha Cat has unearthed stacks of dusty rap interviews, flyers, photos, and artwork from the mid- to late-‘90s to document both the evolution of the zine and his own trajectory from 18-year-old rap fan to one of the leaders of an underground movement.
In the spring of 1996, a gang of skater hip-hop nerds in London, Canada (of all places), tripped out listening to rapper Divine Styler's Spiral Walls Containing Autumns of Light.
Inspired by that evening’s revelations, Ryan Somers (a.k.a. Fritz tha Cat) decided he had to bring the Brooklyn-born, one-semi-hit-wonder rapper out of retirement to save hip-hop. Using his welfare check, Ryan started a cut-and-paste, photocopied magazine named after Divine himself, hoping that somehow, somewhere, it would get into Mr. Styler's hands, and inspire him to record and release music again. The magazine title also reflected the content of the magazine, representing all of the creative, inspired, forward-thinking, and ultimately slept-on artists in the rising independent underground hip-hop scene of the mid- to late-'90s.
Ryan published eight issues over three years. The magazine grew from 100 copies of the original photocopied zine to 10,000-copy print runs that were distributed across North America. It became a focal point in a growing Canadian underground, united people from London to Toronto, Halifax to Vancouver, Ottawa to Los Angeles.
This book describes one young man’s quest to make an impact on a culture he believed in. This is the story of Divine Styler Magazine, told by its creator, with contributions from many of the people who were somehow involved or affected by it.
Author bio: Ryan Somers, a.k.a. Fritz tha Cat began leaving his mark on hip-hop in the early '90s as an MC, DJ, B-boy, and graffiti artist. In 1996, the London, Ontario, native founded In Search of . . . Divine Styler. The zine quickly developed a loyal fan base and by its final issue in 1999, Somers was printing more than 10,000 copies per issue. Somers also founded Toronto's longest-running weekly hip-hop event, "In Divine Style," and has worked as a columnist for Vice Magazine and as a talent scout for Universal Music, among other things. He is currently focusing on a number of artistic projects, including his alternative rap group OK Cobra, acting in film, painting, and writing his first novel. Ryan can be found online at fritzthacat.com.