In 1991 The Source started giving out trophies on a special episode of Yo! MTV Raps and in three years the magazine had developed a full-fledged awards show to honor Hip Hop and R&B performers for their contributions to the game. The 1995 Source Awards, however, is the event that would resonate with Hip Hop for years to come.
From Suge Knight taking aim at competitors who were “all in the videos, all on the records, dancin’” to Snoop Dogg’s rant to OutKast getting booed, the second annual Source Awards would leave a mark on Hip Hop for years to come. Now, over two decades later, we’re revisiting these iconic moments.
Take a look below.
“The South Got Something To Say”
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Hip Hop market was primarily dominated by artists from the East Coast and West Coast, with Los Angeles and New York City generating major artists and receiving most of the attention. In the 1980s, cities down south began to pop up on the Hip Hop map, with artists like The Geto Boys being the first from the south to gain widespread popularity. Houston became the epicenter for Southern Hip Hop, but states like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee also delivered successful acts like 2 Live Crew and rising rap groups such UGK and 8 Ball & MJG.
By the 1990s, Atlanta had become a powerhouse in southern Hip Hop, with OutKast being the first Southern artists to sell albums like the major acts on the East and West coasts. But when the group was honored with the ‘Best New Rap Group’ Award at the 1995 show in the middle of an ongoing West Coast-East Coast rivalry, the crowd proceeded to boo them. Three Stacks wasn’t having it, saying: “But it’s like this though, I’m tired of them closed minded folks, it’s like we gotta demo tape but don’t nobody want to hear it. But it’s like this: the South got something to say, that’s all I got to say.”
The group then went on to dominate, and let everyone know Hip Hop was alive everywhere, and still is.
The West Coast Vs. The East Coast
West Coast-East Coast rivalry existed long before 1995, but the 1995 awards show brought it right to the TV screen. Suge took some unforgettable shots at Puff Daddy, chastising the Bad Boy CEO in front of the entire crowd. “Any artist out there that want to be an artist and stay a star, and don’t have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos … All on the records … dancing, come to Death Row!” It was a direct reference to Combs appearing in artists videos and ad-libbing on their songs. And, with the ceremony being held in New York, the audience booed the Death Row CEO with the swiftness. But that wasn’t the only jab. Snoop Dogg went on a rant about his love for Death Row and asked the audience: “The East Coast ain’t got no love for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg?”
Diddy still congratulated his opponent that night, and a triumphant Notorious B.I.G.—who took home Album, Lyricist, Video and Performer of the year—shouted out Da Brat and Warren G from the podium. But the beef was further cemented. And although Tupac wasn’t in attendance at the 1995 show, his rivalry with Biggie would go on to be both a sad and deadly reminder of what can happen when a feud goes too far.
The show wasn’t all controversy, however, with Hip Hop greats delivering some classic performances. The Bad Boy Family took the stage to perform some of the label’s biggest hits, including Craig Mack‘s “Flava In Ya Ear,” Faith Evan‘s “You Used To Love Me,” Total‘s “Can’t You See,” and Junior M.A.F.I.A.‘s “Player’s Anthem,” and Notorious B.I.G.’s “One More Chance.”
Ohio’s Bone Thugs-n-Harmony performed a medley of hits.
Da Brat and Jermaine Dupri linked up for “Give It 2 You.”
Method Man performs “Bring The Pain.”
Death Row takes the stage for a medley of their hits.
Full Winners List for 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