The Rag featured stories about contemporary and legendary giants of traditional jazz and ragtime, plus stories on lesser-known but accomplished musicians. Contributors included George A. Borgman, Bob Byler, Derek Coller, Chip Deffaa, William Schafer, Butch Thompson, and Paige Van Vorst.
The Rag covered jazz history, new and current performers, and bands. The paper highlighted these bands and performers in each issue, with information about where and when they were playing. The Rag also reviewed recordings, books, videos, DVDs and CD-ROMs.
Dubbed the "bible" of the traditional jazz and ragtime world by its readers, the Mississippi Rag served a worldwide readership. Its monthly tabloid reached subscribers in all 50 of the United States and in 26 other countries. More than one-third of its readers were professional or amateur musicians, including some of the top musicians, writers, researchers and critics in the traditional jazz and ragtime world.
Nearly 100 fine writers and photographers regularly contributed stories and photos to The Rag, and at least six critically acclaimed books have resulted from articles first published in it. The Rag published many rare photos from private collections, especially Duncan P. Schiedt's. Among the photographers featured were Charles Peterson, Nancy Miller Elliott, Ray Avery, William Gottlieb, and Ed Lawless.
In January 2007, The Rag ceased to be issued in print as it had for 33 years, and began to be released online. The last publication was printed online shortly before the death of founder Leslie Johnson.