Everybody knows before The Source became The Sauce, it was the information spot for a hip-hop aficionado. I was talking to Dave the other day, and he noted how it took a lot more dedication to be a fan back in the day. You had to actually buy music, study videos to see who was down with who, and wait monthly to find out what was going in this genre we obsessed over. Growing up in the Manawatu, my exposure to Hip-Hop in the late 80s, early 90s, didn't exceed much more than Rhythm Volume CD's and RTR Countdown. But later on I could rely on The Source as a bible. It was an authority on pretty much everything that I cared about at 16.
None was more important than Issue #100, January 1998. I was 13 and I remember riding my bike down to the local Write Price (Feilding's answer to Pack'n'Save) where they, unusually, stocked the magazine. Though my knowledge of rap music was advanced compared to most of my Palmy peers (I remember being asked "did you know Busta Rhymes is in Wu-Tang?"), I still didn't have a full grasp on the culture. Almost all questions were answered in this one issue. Top 100 Albums of All-Time, Top 100 Songs of All-Time, Greatest Verse of All-Time, and so on. I spent the next few months diggin' in The Warehouse bargain bins for re-issues of Paid In Full and It Takes A Nation Of Millions. See, I always knew of these artists but didn't quite understand their importance. With such limited resources it felt like the task of working out a whole cultures history would be somewhat impossible (the advent of the internet makes this sound oh so ridiculous).
That one issue gave me a foundation to work off, something I think a lot of todays artists don't have. Even though I discovered so much good shit from the past, I still wouldn't put any album pre-1992 in my personal Top 10. I grew up on Death Row and Bad Boy and their influence on me obliterates Run DMC or Boogie Down Productions. But that particular Source edition gave me a comprehensive understanding of where it all came from. It buzzes me out when kids nowadays think DMX is as old school as it gets.
Its also interesting to see how much the history of hip-hop has changed since this issue.
- Best Producer of All-Time: Puff Daddy
- "I Get Around" the only Tupac joint in the 100 Best Songs. No All Eyez On Me in the 100 Best Albums.
- Best Song of All-Time: EPMD - You Gots To Chill
- No Jay-Z in the 100 Best Songs.
- Illmatic the most underrated album ever.