The Source vs Eminem: An Open Letter


As the only independent voice for hip-hop, THE SOURCE has a responsibility to remain somewhat of a passive observer and cover events from an objective standpoint. But certain situations require us to speak out and take a more active role. And the ongoing battle between Eminem and Benzino has taken to task issues that we feel affect each and every member of the hip-hop community—and therefore must be addressed.

First of all, the songs aimed at Benzino recently released by Eminem, which attack THE SOURCE’s credibility in the process, are propaganda designed to deflect attention from the real issues. Raymond Scott, aka Benzino, has indeed been a business partner and close friend to THE SOURCE co-founder Dave Mays for a long time, and throughout the years, Dave has supported his music. But don’t get it twisted; Benzino and THE SOURCE are not interchangeable. THE SOURCE has always made it a point to keep Benzino’s music career and the magazine business from interfering with each other. The editorial staff, including the controversial 5-mic committee, has, and always will, operate independently of any outside influences.

THE SOURCE was started out of passion for hip-hop and love for the hip-hop community. Being accepted as the “bible” of hip-hop by over seven million fans monthly is something we take very seriously. Our credibility with the hip-hop audience is the cornerstone of what makes our brand so powerful. THE SOURCE is the only voice that has, for 15 years, accurately chronicled the growth of hip-hop culture.

So when Eminem claims that he’s received unfair treatment in THE SOURCE because of a conflict of interest, where is his qualification? Marshall Mathers was first discovered in THE SOURCE’s Unsigned Hype Column and was given credibility by The SOURCE, throughout his career, through covers, SOURCE Awards, etc. Most recently, in the August ‘02 issue, he was given a highly respected 4-mic rating for his latest album and he even graced the cover of the May ’02 issue.

But unfortunately, even though he seemed to be down with us in the beginning, it appears that Eminem may be becoming a part of a dangerous, corruptive cycle that promotes the blatant theft of a culture from the community that created it. Willingly or not, he is being used as a tool by the corporate machine to steal hip-hop and make it their own. Not since Jazz and Rock’n Roll has a culture influenced so-many people, so quickly, worldwide, the way hip-hop has done, that the powers-that-be felt threatened enough to take it from us.

Hip-hop is the voice of a generation who struggled to make something out of nothing. But now that mainstream media has become extremely comfortable with hip-hop, it’s clear that they’ve begun changing it to fit their standards. Eminem’s blonde-haired, blue-eyed persona has been unanimously accepted, and as a result, he’s become the machine’s poster-boy to influence an audience completely enamored in a once forbidden, predominantly Black and Latino culture.

Just like generations past, when Jazz and Rock’n Roll were lost, it seems that hip-hop culture is being snatched right out from under us. The way things are going, ten years from now, when the mainstream media looks back and explores the topic of hip-hop, it’s quite possible that the important accomplishments of some of our culture’s strongest artists, from Kool Herc and Afrika Bambattaa, to KRS-One to Tupac, will be ignored in favor of familiar faces like Eminem.

As the only truly unrestricted voice for the hip-hop community, THE SOURCE is the one medium that can accurately document and protect our culture’s growth and achievements. With that power comes the responsibility to expose any person or company who affects our culture negatively. In light of the recent chain of events, hip-hop must heed the wake up call. We can’t just sit back while our culture is raped and pillaged. Hip-hop is all we have. We must remain steadfast in our beliefs and ideals.

Hip-Hop's integration into the corporate world and mainstream society is a testament to the strength of our voice—one that speaks to and for a generation of young people from all backgrounds, ethnicities and social conditions. But as our culture's power grows, we must be ware of those that would take it away from us.

The music industry is feeding a lot of people right now—THE SOURCE included, and everybody gotta eat. But what price do we put on our culture? It’s not an easy question to answer. Stay tuned to the February issue of THE SOURCE as we offer testimony from people like media assassin, Harry Allen, who are unafraid to address hip-hop’s current state of emergency…

Online Editor-In-Chief

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