Hip Hop / Music

The 1995 Source Awards that changed Hip Hop forever

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A look back on the 24th Anniversary of one of the most craziest nights in Hip Hop history

In the 1990’s The Source magazine became the authority in Hip Hop, providing fans with the latest in music news, reviews and the culture. The magazine started by Harvard students David Mays and John Shecter, fans of rap and hip hop, first started out hosting a radio show on their university radio station WHRB. In 1988 they published a newsletter titled The Source, a simple and basic compilation containing a concert calendar and hip-hop news to an audience of 1000 fans of their radio show. The response was so well received, that by 1991 it had become a 68 page full colour publication distributing an estimate of 50 000 copies, selling advertising space to the major rap record labels, and as they say, the rest is history.

By 1991 the publication started giving out trophies on Yo! MTV Raps and by 1994 The Source hosted its debut awards show to celebrate Hip Hop and R&B artists for their achievements in the industry. However the 1995 Source Awards (3 August) hosted in New York, will always be remembered as the event that changed the Hip Hop industry and really solidified the East Vs. West coast beef, which subsequently resulted in the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG.   Lets take a look at some of the moments from that evening below…

Watch Suge Knight diss Puff Daddy at Source Awards

After this Puff Daddy presented an award and responded with his own sarcastic statement:
“I’m the executive producer a comment was made about a little bit earlier. But, check this out — Contrary to what other people may feel, I would like to say that I’m very proud of Dr. Dre, of Death Row, and Suge Knight for their accomplishments. I’m a positive black man and I make music to bring us together and not separate us, and all this east and west? That needs to stop.”

Watch Snoop Dogg speak his mind at the 1995 Source Awards

The east coast ain’t got no love for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg? The east coast ain’t got no love for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg and Death Row? Y’all don’t love us? Y’all don’t love us? Well, let it be known then! We know y’all east coast! We know where the fuck we at! East coast in the muthafucking house!”

Questlove explains his experiences of the night:

“The ideology of what I considered ‘real’ hip-hop died at the 1995 Source Awards. I was literally at its funeral — I sat three rows behind Nas. In the audience, the Bad Boy camp was on the far right, all the West Coast and the Southern rappers were in the middle, and on the far left were all the New York underground rappers like Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Nas, Busta Rhymes, and us. That was the day when Suge called out Puffy, and there were fights in the audience. I felt like a bomb was going to detonate. Nas’ body language that day told the whole story of where we were about to go. The more he got ignored for Illmatic, I literally saw his body melt in his seat. Almost like he was ashamed. He just looked so defeated. I was like, ‘Yo, he’s not gonna be the same after this shit.’ None of us were the same after that day. I feel like the true underground lost its oxygen that night.”


Watch the Bad Boy Family Performance

To really see the beef it would be best to watch the 1995 Source Awards Full Show 

See the full list of winners at the 1995 Source Awards :

Artist of the Year, Solo: Snoop Doggy Dogg
Artist of the Year, Group: Wu-Tang Clan
New Artist of the Year, Solo: Notorious B.I.G.
New Artist of the Year, Group: Outkast
Single of the Year: “Flava In Ya Ear” – Craig Mack
Album of the Year: Ready To Die – Notorious B.I.G.
Lyricist of the Year: Notorious B.I.G.
Producer of the Year: Dr. Dre
R&B Artist of the Year: Mary J. Blige
Reggae/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year: Mad Lion
Video of the Year: “Murder Was The Case” – Snoop Doggy Dogg
Live Performer of the Year: Notorious B.I.G.
Soundtrack of the Year: “Above the Rim”
Best Acting Performance: Ice Cube – “Higher Learning”
Lifetime Achievement Award: Eazy-E
Pioneer Award: Run DMC

An example of the media adding fuel to the fire, Vibe Magazine cover 1996 with the statement “Juice, Who’s Got The Power?”. If you don’t know, ‘Juice’ is a film that Tupac was in.
Biggie Puffy

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