Brain Food: How the 1995 Source Awards Changed Rap Forever (via Complex)

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I was born in 1990, a little bit after Yo! MTV Raps began its effort in bringing rap to the mainstream and a little before hip-hop’s golden year of 1993. Rap crept its way into my childhood memories by way of Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” and Snoop’s “Doggystyle,” (also where I first learned about weed until my mom caught me reading the CD insert and yanked it out of my grubby four-year-old hands.) What was equally frequent was seeing piles of music magazines underneath my dad’s nightstand, most memorable of all in it, The Source. For my dad (and eventually myself once I got a little older,) the storytelling and presentation within The Source was equally gripping as the characters that adorned the magazine’s front covers and pages. Yet for the genre itself, the magazine became influential enough to host the first The Source Awards in 1991, rap’s first lauded awards show. However in 1995, according to Complex’s Paul Cantor, the Source Awards became crucial in the pivotal shift of rap’s infamous mid-90s East Coast-West Coast beef. Cantor sat down with The Source‘s former co-owners, Dave Mays and Ray Benzino to discuss the 1995 Source Awards, the events leading up it, the controversy-laden atmosphere and how rap was changed forever in the events following.

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Nina Tabios

Nina Smoove aka Champagne Ninang. Certified hooligan. $F Bay Area born and bred.

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