Posted by: vincentlopez | September 16, 2008

The Source January 1995 issue (1994 Year in Review)

Yeah.  I was shocked to see Mary on the cover back then, too, in the old school George Gervin Iceman poster pose that my uncle used to have up on the wall. But you know what?  It didn’t bother me at all.  I would rather have seen a split cover with Biggie and Nas, though.  Anyway, looking back, (if you were involved and listening to hip-hop back then) is 1994 a great (or even the greatest) year in hip-hop to you?  I’m sure some of you would agree based solely on two albums released that year: Illmatic and Ready to Die.


Side note – For the record, these are my favorite years in hip-hop: 1988, 1994, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996.  Now remember, I’m an old guy so what’s good to me isn’t necessarily what’s good to you.  I have a 21 year old cousin and 23 year old uncle (don’t ask) who would without a doubt say that 1998 to 2001 was the best time period in hip-hop to them.  They have told me time and time again that Jay Z’s Blueprint album is probably their all time greatest album but it’s very difficult for me to take them seriously especially when one of them just listened to Wu Tang’s first albums (the ’93 to ’95 albums) this year and the other one has never heard them.


Here’s The Source’s list of the best albums released in 1994 (November 1993 to October 1994):

 Snoop Doggy DoggDoggystyle

Wu-Tang ClanEnter the Wu-Tang


Above the Rim OST

A Tribe Called QuestMidnight Marauders

Notorious B.I.G.Ready to Die


MC Eiht Featuring CMWWe Come Strapped

Jeru the DamajaThe Sun Rises in the East

Murder was the Case OST

Warren GRegulate…G Funk Era

Big MikeSomethin’ Serious

GangstarrHard to Earn

ScarfaceThe Diary

The BeatnutsStreet Level


I hate the fact that they don’t include ALL of the albums released within the year.  They left out Common, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, The Roots (I bought it in November ’94 even though it wasn’t released until January ’95) and a few others.  And what about albums by Organized Konfusion (a 4.5 mic masterpiece), Boogiemonsters, Gravediggaz, Odd Squad, etc.?  Of all the albums released in 1994, what are your top 3?


Record Report:

Method ManTical (4 mics)

Murder was the Case OST (4 mics)

RedmanDare is a Darkside (4 mics)

ScarfaceThe Diary (4 mics)

Pete Rock & CL SmoothThe Main Ingredient (4 mics)

Slick RickBehind Bars (3 mics)

Keith MurrayThe Most Beautifullest Thing in the World (4 mics)

Black SheepNon-Fiction (3.5 mics)

Fu-SchnickensNervous Breakdown (2.5 mics)

Da Bush Babees – Self Titled (3.5 mics)

Jamiz – Get Loot (3 mics)

Red Hot Lover Tone#1 Player (3.5 mics)


January 1995 issue








  1. im glad i actually own this issue!

    but ’94 was the year i started taking hip-hop seriously. that was the year i became fully involved in it.
    i was in the 7th grade in ’94, and one day when i came home from school i turned the tv to see what was on, so i gave BET a try, when i turned it to that channel, Nas “It Aint Hard o Tell” video was on, that was the 1st time i heard it. And from that day forward i was hooked!!! Cause right after they showed that they showed Black moon’s “How Many MC’s?” vid.
    so ’94 was the beginning for me, and ’98 was the ending. ’94-’98 produced the most classic hip-hop music of all-time. i never thought hip-hop would be where it is today. back then i always thought this is what hip hop supposed to be like. i never thought it would change.

    and to pick 3 fav. albums from ’94 is very difficult to me, we all know Ready to Die & Illmatic are no brainers. but what about the 3rd? Tical, Southernplayalistc, the Most Beautifullest, Project funk da word, hard 2 earn, dare iz a darkside, main ingredient? i mean its difficult. i cant choose just 1 of those.

    but i would go back to ’94 in a minute, no questions asked, i would go back and record every episode of Rap City & Yo! Mtv raps!!! ’94 was just a great year man. in 7th grade chillin, no worries listinin to classic hip-hop!! it dont get no better!!

    great post vincent!!

  2. Props on this, never got to get this one.

    *hangs Diary review on wall next to the others*

    I always hated their fiscal year when it comes to these year end things. They’d cut off a considerable portion of the 4th quarter so their list was always effed up (see Doggystyle being represented on this list)

    And yeah, when arguing with people, it’s vital for you to know their level. If you never heard or lived while experiencing 36 Chambers, how could you honestly say The Blueprint is better. No way is that the best album ever, but it does show how classics can come out of every era and stand out as well as the test of time.

    This was a memorable time period for me though. Murder Was The Case was the first actual retail album I ever owned. I had dubs but it was the first one I ever owned the booklet. (Cassette). I rocked that everywhere, still know every word to every song, ‘cept the R&B tracks.

    Top 3

    1. Illmatic
    2. Ready To Die
    3. The Diary

    Hmmmm…all awarded 5 Mics….

  3. Right on. I’m in my mid 20’s and I agree totally with your years. I always tell people that 1996 was the last great year in Hip-Hop. Anything after Puffy and No Limit/Cash Money hasn’t been great.

  4. My list is:


  5. @HG

    u cant from on ’97 & ’98!!

    those were great years in hip-hop as well.

    ’97 was the takeover from puff & mase, but other great music came out that year. missy, the firm, jay-z, rakim, company flow, royal flush, ditc, CNN and etc.

    ’98 was the year hip-hop blew up! people was sellin mad records in ’98!! jay went 5x plat, lauryn hill won 5 grammys, big pun 2x plat, dmx 2 #1 albums in the same year, nas came out with 2 albums, ruff ryders was da sh*t! and i can go on and on. hip-hop was worldwide that year!!

    ’97 & ’98 great years!! but after ’98 its been a slow decline to where we at now.

  6. My top 2 for 94′ are Illmatic (no question) and Midnight Marauders. Its hard to name a 3rd because there were so many dope albums in 94. I was 16 in 94′ and to this day that is my favorite hip-hop year (with 95′ coming a close second). Man I miss the golden era…nice post V.

    “Deja Vu tell em’ what I’m gonna do, when they reminisce of you my God”
    -CL Smooth


  7. Last great year for Hip-Hop was 2001. Do your research and see what came out that year.

    Last good year was 2003.

    Actually 2005 had a lot of great albums drop. As did ’06-’07. Just poor radio representation.

    So 2003 was the last year to have things the way they should have been.

  8. @ TC – How can you front on the Jodeci track from Murder Was the Case? That joint had me grooving with the ladies back then. HAHAHA!!!
    The CPO track was always my favorite from that album, though.

    @everybody – Just like I thought, everyone has a different opinion on the best years and last good/great year for hip-hop. My 21 year old cousin STILL picks The Blueprint over Illmatic, too. I can’t believe this dude!

  9. @TC
    i do agree that ’03 was the last good year hip-hop was sorta still iight. but after ’98 hip-hop just went on a decline. ya ’99 and ’00 was tight. but it went in a downward spiral with a couple of highlights here and there.

    that jodeci track was da sh*t!! that classic r&b right there. i hear u son!!

  10. Top 3:

    Ready To Die
    Enter The Wu-Tang

    Thanks for another dope one!

  11. and all yall better not front on that Warren G- Regulate…G Funk era LP, everybody and they mamma had that album. many people where i was at had that album.

    so dont front and act like nobody had that album! it went like 3-4x platinum.

  12. Hold on.

    Let me clearify. Cuz “I told this b**ch I die for ya, cry for ya, I lied to ya, cuz gettin’ the p***y was all I was tryna do…” changed my life lol.

    Screw both Jewell songs and the Danny Boy cut.

    Everything is else is John Blaze.

    Even “Hot One” by O.F.T.B. (tape only)

    Anyone remember that joint????

  13. Oh sh*t!

    “The Eulogy” was soooo deep.

    “He reached for his gat but I was quicker….BLAW! You should be my homie but you’s a dead muthaf**ka now…”

    hahahaa. Probably my fav.

    No, that would probably go to “Natural…” nah I think I like “The Eulogy” the best.

  14. @ brandan

    Yeah, there was a noticeable decline starting in the late 90’s.

    “Come Up To My Room” is not a R&B song. That’s pure unadultered gangsta sh*t lol. Even K-Ci’s parts got chicks get boned in the background


  15. @ Brandan

    The Firm flopped, Missy’s pop, Jay was sellin’ out all over the place lookin’ like Joe Camel in the “sunshine” video in a shiny suit. Now, I’ll give you there was some good underground sh*t still, but mainstream? After Puffy & Jay got a hold of Hip-Hop, it’s been all Cristal bottles, video vixens, and Bentleys, and G4 jets and sh*t. They even had Q-Tip up there with “Vivrant Thang” and sh*t.

    Now ’98 was a year of unprecedented “mainstream” success for Hip-Hop, but artistically, No Limit, Bad Boy, all that TRL bullshit was definitely not up to the same standards of the “keepin’ it real” era of Death Row, Bad Boy, Ruthless, Black Moon, Nas(Illmatic), Smif-N-Wessun, Common, A Tribe Called Quest, and sh*t like that.

    ’94 was the year that balance between mainstream sales and credibility. The biggest rappers in the world had street cred, MTV cred, and Hip-HOp cred. After that, rappers had mostly MTV cred, and really didn’t care much about street cred or Hip-Hop cred, because most of the people who buy records are White kids from the suburbs.

    ’98 was the year the suburbs took over, and Eminem, 50, Souljah Boy, Lil Wayne and all those dudes are proof.

  16. sh*t is tight, looking forward to the rest of your mag uploads, peeeace

  17. These Record Report critics must have been in a real generous holiday mood giving “The Most Beautifulest Thing” and “Non-Fiction” those ratings. “Non Fiction” hands down gets a 2 mic rating(only 2 good tracks, and ya know a it needed some work when one of the best tracks was the outro beat). TMBTITW gets a fair 3 and a half. Tical and DIAD I give a solid 3.5. Later on Source went on saying Dare Iz A Darkside was “lackluster”.

  18. Forgot to mention that Bush Babees album was titled “Ambushed”. Maybe Source goofed on that. I know there’s been a few albums they reviewed that had different titles(i.e. KRS One self titled>Source’s review the title was “Hip Hop vs. Rap”).

  19. […] BOOGIEMONSTERS: 3 and 1/2 Mics- The Source Magazine […]

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