Charles Aaron

Charles Aaron is a U.S. music journalist and editor, formerly for Spin magazine, where he worked for 23 years.[1]

Charles Aaron
Aaron on the panel "He Pop/She Pop", 2008 Pop Conference, Experience Music Project, Seattle, Washington
Rockingham, North Carolina
ResidenceDurham, North Carolina
NationalityUnited States
EducationUniversity of Georgia
OccupationMusic journalist and editor
EmployerSpin magazine
Known forMusic journalism about rappers


Charles Aaron was born in Rockingham, North Carolina, and raised in Asheboro, North Carolina and Rome, Georgia.[2][3][4] He attended University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, and graduated in 1985.[5][6] Aaron lived in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, with his wife Tristin and son but moved to Durham, North Carolina, after leaving Spin magazine.[3][7]


After graduation in 1985, Charles Aaron began his journalism career at AdWeek and Sassy magazines. Before working full-time for Spin magazine, he freelanced as a music journalist at the magazine and for other publications like Rolling Stone, Village Voice, and Vibe.[6]

Spin, an alternative music magazine, was launched in 1985.[8] Charles Aaron began as a contributor to Spin magazine around 1991 while the hip hop music genre was becoming popular with white audiences. In one article, he refers to himself as a "white hip hopper" and says over time he wrote many articles for the magazine in appreciation of the genre.[9] He wrote his first feature about Snoop Dogg's father for the magazine in 1993.[6][10] He joined the staff of Spin magazine in 1996.[6][11] He moved into his music editor roles with the magazine in 1998 and 2002.[1][6] In 2011, Aaron was promoted to editorial director.[8] BuzzMedia (now SpinMedia) took over the magazine 2011 making staff cuts and changes.[12][13] That same yearSpin transformed itself from 11 printed issues per year to a greater digital presence but with almost half the printed issues.[14][15] In 2013, he became editor at large.[16][17] Charles Aaron's last issue with Spin magazine was February 2014.[18]

After leaving Spin, Aaron wrote for other magazines, such as Rolling Stone and Wondering Sound.[19][20]

Notable works of journalism

The article "Remembering Notorious B.I.G." was reprinted in the March 2010 issue of Spin, for which Aaron received an award.[21]

On the occasion of Aaron's last issue (February 2014), Spin reprinted what was considered some of his best music journalism, including "'Sir Real'" from 1993 about Snoop Doggy Dogg.

As editorial director, Aaron also oversaw the use of apps that would allow audience to listen to artists while reading about them or to remix dance songs using app tools.[22]


In 2000, Charles Aaron and Sia Michel, both of Spin, were presented with the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for their coverage of Notorious B.I.G.'s career, which appeared in the magazine's January 1998 issue.[21][23]

Also in 2000, Aaron won a National Arts Journalism Fellowship from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.[24]

The American Society of Magazine Editors named Spin's tablet version a finalist or its Ellie Awards in 2012.[25]


Amanda Petrusich, a music critic, says she was influenced by Aaron's music journalism for Spin magazine.[26]

Charles Aaron was widely speculated to be the alleged author behind "The Rock Critical List", which appeared online in February 1999. While Aaron denied authorship and there was no credible evidence linking him to authorship, the list was believed to have been written by an insider.[27][28]

See also


  1. Aaron, Charles (February 11, 2014). "Charles Aaron's Greatest Hits". Spin. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  2. Cepeda, Raquel (2004-09-29). And It Don't Stop: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years. ISBN 9781466810464.
  3. Lethem, Jonathan; Bresnick, Paul (2002). Da Capo Best Music Writing 2002: The Year's Finest Writing on Rock, Pop, Jazz, Country, & More. Da Capo Press. p. 345. ISBN 0306811669.
  4. "Why Record Stores Are the Greatest One-Night Stands Ever!". Spin. April 17, 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  5. "Strange Currencies: R.E.M. Comes Alive!". Spin. August 1995. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. "Putting the Spin on the Music Scene". Georgia Magazine. March 2010. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  7. SPIN Magazine (2010). SPIN: Greatest Hits: 25 Years of Heretics, Heroes, and the New Rock 'n' Roll. John Wiley & Sons. p. 164. ISBN 9780470891094.
  8. Sisario, Ben (June 20, 2011). "Spin Magazine Fires Publisher and Editor". New York Times.
  9. Aaron, Charles (February 11, 2014). "What the White Boy Means When He Says Yo". Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  10. "Read Charles Aaron's May 2010 'Scenes From a Marriage,' Celebrating SPIN's 25th Anniversary". Spin.
  11. Ducker, Eric (September 20, 2013). "A Rational Conversation: 'SPIN' Editor-At-Large Charles Aaron Examines Eminem's License To Ill..." thedailyswarm. Archived from the original on November 15, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  12. "BuzzMedia Issues Statement on Spin Layoffs: Charles Aaron to Stay; Edit Staff to Double". Billboard. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  13. "Will Spin's next issue be its last? – FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  14. Moses, Lucia (October 11, 2011). "Spin Replaces Online Editor". Adweek. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  15. "Spin Announces Layoffs and Drops Nov./Dec. Issue". The New York Times.
  16. "Spin lets its editor-in-chief go". Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  17. "SpinMedia Fires Spin Editor in Chief". AdWeek. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  18. "Charles Aaron Leaves SPIN". March 2014.
  19. "Charles Aaron". Rolling Stone.
  20. "Charles Aaron". Archived from the original on 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  21. "Remembering Notorious B.I.G." Spin. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  22. "How You Release a Music Magazine in 2011: With a Remix App (Spinshapemix)".
  23. "Spin Editors Honored". 16 (2). Spin. February 2000. p. 24. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  24. "Universities Choose Recipients for Journalism Fellowships". The New York Times. 12 May 2000.
  25. "Winners and Finalists Database". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  26. "Get To Know A Critic: Amanda Petrusich". 16 December 2010.
  27. Daniel Nester. "Same as It Ever Was". The Morning News. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  28. Carl Swanson. "Newsroom Nausea at the Daily News". Observer. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
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