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Back in 1998, Adam and Matt Wright created Elemental magazine to bring a much-needed spotlight to Atlanta's underground hip-hop scene. "No one was covering it," remembers Matt, previously a staff writer for Creative Loafing. "No one had any kind of focus, and no one was in the trenches following the progression of this hip-hop scene."

So the two brothers -- with now-33-year-old Matt handling the editorial side and 31-year-old Adam acting as publisher -- launched Elemental with their own money. They printed 5,000 copies and gave them away for free to heads around the city.

In its first year, Elemental focused entirely on Atlanta acts. Today, Elemental is a successful national publication with a circulation of 112,000, according to Adam. The urban lifestyle magazine features interviews with rap stars such as the Game and Atmosphere, as well as graffiti layouts, book reviews, and fashion spreads. Meanwhile, the magazine's parent company, Elemental Publishing Inc., is valued at somewhere in the millions, says Adam. In the next few months, the company will publish its 75th issue.

Ironically, much of that growth is a result of the Wright brothers moving Elemental Publishing out of the city in 2002. "Business-wise, you can't do anything urban in Atlanta," says Matt. Both brothers say that they struggled to add new business clients while based here, then saw ad sales double once they moved to Brooklyn. "If we could have kept this thing running at full speed in Decatur, where we're from, then we'd be there today. But it just doesn't happen," Matt says.

Although mainstream coverage of underground hip-hop has improved since 1998, Elemental's evolution from a small local magazine into a major rap monthly has left the same hole it once filled. Matt, for his part, says that his door remains open to ATL artists: Part-time resident MF Doom recently graced the cover of Issue 71. "We have a lot of emotional baggage about leaving Atlanta," he says. "But we try our best not to leave them behind."

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