FNV In Today's Issue: August 23 2000
Wednesday August 23 2000; 12:30 am Los Angeles;Killa-Kali: Theres a number of us sitting here in a room at the Beverly Hilton talking about the drama that went down tonite during the Source Awards at Pasadena's Civic Auditorium. It will be a night to remember for all the wrong reasons. It is only now several hours after the mayhem that its starting to sink in what went down and what went wrong. It's not something we within Hip Hop can easily shake off and 'charge to the game'. It's not something we can sit back on and be smug at the fact that what went down is someone else's problem and not my loss. The fights that took place during the Source Award tapings that resulted in the entire event being cancelled and estimated millions of dollars lost have tainted us all.
Whether you like them or not, there is no denying the hard work and huge amounts of resources The Source has put toward trying to give Hip Hop an awards show that it deserves. For years we have all bemoaned the fact that other awards shows like The Grammys or the American Music Awards haven't always been fair nor reflective of the sentiments held by many within the Hip Hop community. For years we have all bemoaned the fact when a Will Smith would win an award over a Wu-Tang Clan. We would get upset when these awards shows would do shiesty things like inaccurately include R&B artists within the Hip Hop category or not televise the Hip Hop segment at all. For the most part Hip Hop has always been treated like a bad step child.
Tonite's taping was nothing less the spectacular as there were elaborate, and expensive set changes which included healthy doses of pyrotechnics and funky Hummers and other automobiles. The capacity crowd which was a who's who within Hip Hop, were all given fancy, full color official program guides and treated to stellar performances from artist like; Jay-Z and his entire Roc-A-Fella click, Lil Kim and Junior Mafia, The East Sidaz, Mobb Deep, Mos Def, dead prez, Jermaine Dupri and Lil Bow Wow, Made Men, and Cash Money. On deck to perform were Method Man and Redman, Dr Dre, Eminem, and Snoop Dog. Busta Rhymes, Da Brat and comedian Mo'nique kept things rolling along with their unique sense of humor and candid banter. The opening monologue that featured all three was hilarious. Afterwards we never saw Da Brat again who had been somewhat playfully chastised by Mo'nique for using the N word. 'We're gonna keep this Source Awards 'Nigga Free' she playfully yet seriously stated.
The audience had an opportunity to witness awards given to Eve for best new artist of the year, Eminem for best video of the year Ice Cube and Dr Dre for Life Time Achievement award and Allen Iverson for Athlete of the Year. Red and Meth got honored for best Hip Hop performance and during their acceptance speech they turned their back to the crowd. Red stated that the reason they were doing this was so that media could 'kiss their asses'. This brought howls of laughter. There was a nice tribute given to all those who had passed away before their time within Hip Hop. The Source did their homework and acknowledged everyone from fallen pioneers like Disco King Mario, Master Don and Cowboy to popular icons like Big L, 2Pac and Notorious BIG.
For years I've heard many of us complain loudly that Hip Hop needed its own awards show and that it should be on the same level in both prestige and production as any other major music event. Tonite's event was own its way to fulfilling that desire and concern. The event was to be televised on UPN and was intended to be the kick off to a weekly Hip Hop show called 'The Source All Access'. The event had managed to attract major sponsors who were willing to overlook Hip Hop's less than savory reputation and invest some big time money and their reputations. Key movers and shakers within the Hip Hop community were flown in and asked to be the 5 Mic Council which helps vote and highlight those within Hip Hop who deserved to be recognized and rewarded. The Source Awards also managed to attract major press ranging from Entertainment Tonight to Fox News with all ready, willing and eager to stand along a red carpet and give Hip Hop the respect and coverage it deserves. Hip Hop had come along ways.
While all these wonderful things were taking place there was unfortunately a strange undercurrent of tension in the air. Here and there little things were brewing. It started before the event when people started taking to heart warnings not to wear their jewels. Stef Lova of BET and New York's Hot 97 was being interviewed on 100.3 The Beat this afternoon remarking that cats who were in from out of town would be best suited if they left their 'ice in the freezer'. 'The wolves are out tonight', she said half jokingly. Unfortunately her remarks were quite serious as she was indirectly referring to last year's event in which local stick up kids came out the wood work and started jacking kids from out of town, in particular those from New York. Other cats who were visiting got pages from friends based in LA warning them to be aware and not get caught because local LA cats were definitely plotting to tax kids. This along caused some tension.
There was some grievances amongst members of the press during the walk on the red carpet when members from the Black press rolled up with signs in hand complaining that weren't invited to participate in the night's festivities. At one point, they posted up front and center in the midst of the procession and refused to move. When artist came through, publicist and label heads would direct them to the 'mainstream' press who were on one side of the rope to take pictures and give interviews. This resulted in dozens of people on the opposite end to yell loudly to the artists to turn around and pay attention to the 'Black Press'. It was a strange site to see and as there was literally a rope and red carpet with Black folks on one side and white mainstream media on the other. Eventually handlers and organizers caught the hint and began making sure both sides of the red carpet were covered.
Inside the actual event there was tension which resulted in a few minor incidents. Most notable was when members of the Outlaws stepped to members of Bad Boy. Harsh words were exchanged and one of the Outlaws spit upon a Bad Boy artist. Boxing promoter Don King stepped in and cooled things off before things got out of hand.
During some of the performances there was a bit of unease as folks from various clicks and sets threw up signs. For example during Cash Money's performance, Lil Wayne went into the audience which in most situations would cause the crowd to gather around and show him love. In this case as he hit the back of the room he was greeted by cats who stood up and blocked his path and started throwing up gang signs at him. When Lil Wayne returned to the stage and completed his set he grabbed his crotch and noted that Cash Money had this rap game on lock.
These incidents were relatively minor and seemed to take a huge backseat to the onstage presentations. But what set things off was the most unfortunate of things. One involved a Bay Area cat named Mack Minister picking a squab with rap star E-40. This particular guy earned his claim to fame when he was featured on a song on E-40's album a few years back. He did a humorous rendition of a preacher reading off the Ten Commandments of Macking. It was a nice little gimmick and it was a nice way for a guy like E-40 to show someone local some love. This was several years ago.
Over the years folks in the Bay would see the Mack Minister show up at various functions riding on the notoriety of that one vinyl appearance. He would often insist on being allowed up on stage to do his 'Preacher routine. Most of the time folks would oblige but on more the a few occasions he would get out of pocket and be real aggressive and insistent. Most people were under the impression that he was down with E-40's click, but such was not the case. If anything there was distancing because Mack Minister's antics were starting to cause problems for local promoters who were automatically associating him to E-40. One of the more unfortunate outcomes of his instance occurred during a Summer jam concert a couple of years ago where he showed up backstage and caused a scene. He demanded to be let on stage to do his routine, when everything was said and done, cats rushed backstage and causing the show to be monetarily stopped.
It caught everyone by surprise when he showed up at this year's All-star Summer Jam. Not only did he show up but he actually went out on stage and did his routine. He had somehow connected with Daz and Kurupt who were scheduled to perform but not aware of the past problems he had caused in the past. They themselves seemed a bit surprised when he went onstage and did his Mack Minister routine before they performed. He even offered to sell some T-shirts with his Ten Commandments for Macking. Since there was no drama or trouble everyone kinda shrugged things off. Backstage people joked about his persistence. However, what caught folks off guard was when Mack Minister started bad mouthing E-40 who wasn't in attendance. Homeboy made numerous off color remarks and insisted that he had 'made' E-40 and taught him all of the slang like 'Oh Boy', 'Ya smell me' etc. that he uses. This of course is preposterous, totally ridiculous and definitely untrue. It seemed like Minister was trying to 'show out' which has been typical of him and hence his remarks and antics were summarily dismissed and not taken seriously.
During The Source Awards Mack Minister managed to somehow not only show up-400 miles from home, but he also managed to get in and land a seat with all the artist who were scheduled to perform. In between takes E-40 was talking with some of the cats from Cash Money when Mack Minister made his way down the aisle and started trying to show out. In front of the Outlaws, Cash Money and numerous other crews he started berating E-40 who responded by trying to diffuse things. When he was asked to chill Minster got even more animated and tried to loud talk E-40 even more. What happened next is a bit confusing, as there are all sorts of stories. From where I sat I could see Minister trying to get up in E-40's face and 40 trying to avoid a confrontation. Those who were seated closer said that Mack Minister was clearly in the wrong and had crossed the line when he pushed at E-40 and snatched his chain. As big as E-40 is what was this kid thinking? People who had seen him earlier said Minister may have been high on something due to his erratic behavior Nevertheless, once the chain was snatched Mack Minister caught the beat down of lifetime. Because of Minister's proximity to Cash Money some folks mistakenly thought there was funk between The Click and Cash Money. That was definitely not the case. The two camps were conversing before and after the melee. There was also talk that Bones Thugs and Harmony were also involved due to the fact that they had ripped shirts. Again that was not the case. Mack Minister was eventually taken out by police but not arrested.
While this was going on there's was big commotion going on back stage which prompted officials to terminate the event on the spot. About 15 to 20 guys dressed in red rushed onto the stage and made their way to the back. According to security guards it was cats claiming to be down with Death Row. The intended target was Dre and Snoop who were soon to perform. No one could see what was going down, but apparently it was enough to prompt the Pasadena police to end the event. When the order was given to end the show, this made people get upset even more. An impassioned Doug E Fresh tried to address the crowd. By then things were too far gone. Hip Hop a black mark that will take some time to erase.
There were several other incident that took place after the first two disruptions. One went down in the parking lot and another occured in front of the auditorium and involved DJ Quik. This is the video footage that has somehow managed to find its way on all the major newscasts. It will be sometime before the full impact of this fiasco is felt. The saddest part of this whole thing is the fact that this event was intended to benefit various charities and it was designed to bring folks together. No one wants to think the worse and automatically conclude Hip Hop and Black folks in particular can't come together and get along. No one wants this incident to be the thing that folks with resources and the ability to make decisions use to deny Hip Hop events and activities. To be honest it was an embarrassment. It's even more embarrassing when you take into account the type of things I experienced during the Democratic Convention. Damn we have a lot of things to take care of. It was also interesting to see how one or two people or a small group of folks with an axe to gri