I’ve been sitting on posting about this for three weeks. I had the pictures scanned and ready to go then, and for one reason or another, procrastination conquered me (nh) and the idea went on the backburner. Finally however, I’ve deemed y’all worthy enough of 15 or 20 minutes of my time as I break down the April 1996 issue of The Source.
Despite coming out during arguably this magazine’s rosiest period (in terms of quality of writers, and quantity of stories), this particular month was surprisingly thin, and with many of the pages seemingly filled by ads. Nevertheless, the cover features Tracey Marrow fixing us with his best ‘ice-cold’ glare while a four-armed monster flashes gang signs beneath his steely gaze, and promises features on Busta, Lady Of Rage, Foxxy Brown, and new music from MC Eiht, Smoothe Da Hustler & Domino. I bet you didn’t know that Dave Mays had the technology for musical pages 10 years ago, did you?
(As usual, click on the pic to see the big version)
Open the cover and flick past the exceedingly teh ghey Hilfiger ads, and the ad for the wack Stackhouse Filas, and you’ll be greeted by a photo of Lil Kim on a billiard table. By now we know that this has probably been a favorite position of Hiphop’s number one jailbird, but back then she was a picture of fresh-faced innocence, sans make-up, and sporting a healthily unbleached moustache. I really wish that I had scanned this page for you to see. But I didn’t, so you won’t. Sorry.
Instead, I’ll provide you with a scan of that month’s ‘Hiphop Quotable’, a throwaway verse from Mr Rhymes which is anything BUT quotable. The interest in this page is not however from whatever Trevor scribbled on the back of a bus ticket, 20 seconds before he went in the booth, OR for the never-heard-of-em Absent Minded who occupy the ‘Unsigned Hype’ position for that month. Its for the ‘Fat Tape’ section – which contains a shitload of tracks that will still easily make a fat tape today. Ponder this set of bangers…
Immediately following this is a feature on ‘a group of surpassingly gifted and diverse actors, all from New York: the Fab Five.” The only thing fab about this five is the the speed with which they ALL fell the fuck off. The only one I recognise now at all is Doug E Doug, and that’s only because I saw him play a crackhead in Law & Order a couple of months back. Seriously… who the fuck is Sean Nelson?
Apart from the Ice T cover story, one of the main pieces in the mag profiles ‘The ’96 Dip Squad’. Obviously with April being the month of ‘Fools’, those witty Source folks decided to play a little joke on us. Y’see for me, ‘dips’ and ‘honey dips’ conjure up images of Amazonian goddesses with neverending legs and breasteses, and unparallelled facial beauty. So either …
a) it is indeed an April Fool, in which case ‘ho ho ho’, you fiends
b) the art editor at the time was a raving alcoholic
c) Suge Knight dangled some people off a balcony to get Death Row artists more coverage.
There’s no other feasible explanation for the fact that THE LADY OF FUCKING RAGE is portrayed as a ‘dip’. Dipstick maybe… but never a dip. Kim (even with the handlebar moustache) and a drugged-up looking Foxy I can perhaps agree with, and yes I guess Suga T could chug into the ‘any port in a storm category’ if pushed (despite looking like E-40 in a skirt). But Rage? And almost as bad – BAHAMADIA? They’d have had better results throwing a wig on Guru and making him pose (no Priscilla Queen Of The Desert).
I can’t stop fucking laughing.
Also somewhat incredible is reading this expose on the Hiphop scene in Memphis. Bear in mind that this is 1996, but its still somewhat weird seeing cats talk about this city and only giving a passing mention to Three 6 Mafia and Eightball & MJG. And Young Buck was bearly a glimmer in his daddy’s eye… ah bless…
The main event of this issue is obviously the Ice T cover story. Its definitely an interesting read, with Ice talking gangs and guns while trying to promote his sixth album “Return Of The Real”. Ten years later we know of course that album six was total fucking monkey testicles, but its testament to Ice’s standing as a Hiphop ‘ledge’ that even knowing this fact, it doesn’t detract from the article. Ice T is real as fuck. His wife’s tits are not. But Ice is. No Ice T dissing ever allowed. Ever. Fuckers.
Elsewhere theres a fairly tepid Busta Rhymes interview, a one-to-one between Fat Joe and Shannon Briggs (remember him?), and a decent article on gang warfare spreading across the United States. However I passed on scanning all of these, in favor of providing you with this picture of some particularly horrid South Pole apparrel.
In the reviews section, MC Eiht’s “Death Threatz” grabbed 3 and half mics, as did Smooth Da Hustler’s “Once Upon A Time In America”, and the Cella Dwellas “Realms & Reality”. Bahamadia, Dazzie Dee, Mannish and the Erick Sermon Compilation all also failed to make much of an impact in what looked like a pretty slow month for longplayers. The highlight of the reviews section though is the Singles file, where The Source helpfully inform us that “Jay-Z is an an MC outta Brooklyn” and that his “full length joint should be one to check for”. With the benefit of hindsight once again – no shit, Sherlock.
Full page ads this month included runs for NWA’s Yella with ‘One Mo Nigga Ta Go’ (am I the only person who copped this?), Mr Mike’s “Wicked Ways”, Tela’s debut “Piece Of Mind”, Chino XL’s “Here To Save You All”, “Off Parole” by Rappin’ 4Tay, and the spectacularly teh ghey Vontel, who’s “True 2 Life’ longplayer I’ve never heard, and judging from the faggoty dreads he sports I wouldn’t want to. There was also a full page ad for a horrible Detlef Schrempf Adidas shoe. As if that’s fucking with MJ.