Posted by: vincentlopez | April 16, 2009

The Source September 1996 issue featuring Suge Knight



This was a pretty hefty issue to scan at 3 ½ hours. Looks like The Source was starting to challenge Vibe magazine around this time with a magazine full of ads. And it will only get worse for me (if I continue). Anyway, even though Suge adorns the cover, I didn’t care about his opinion then or now. So I’ll let you read/debate his version of the story behind Dr. Dre’s departure from Death Row. More importantly, this issue was about A Tribe Called Quest, to me. If you didn’t know already, Tribe is my favorite (not greatest) group of all time. By the time Beats, Rhymes and Life was due to come out, I was going out of my mind. For the first time in years, I didn’t have any of their unfinished demos to listen to and I was impatient beyond the norm. How the hell would they top Midnight Marauders and The Low End Theory? I was still dealing with the minor letdown called It Was Written and just couldn’t imagine my favorite group screwing up their chance at musical greatness. Or they could they? Then I heard the rumors that they were not getting along and recording vocals separately, which was unheard of back then. And then the rumors about some new guy (Jay Dee) helping to produce the tracks. But, I rationalized, how could that be when Q-Tip was pure genius producing the previous two albums? Something told me that none of this would bode well and lo and behold when I bought the CD (with the underwhelming 3-D cover)…it killed me after the first few listens and still to this day hasn’t fully grown on me. The mood and energy of their music was sucked almost completely out and was/is the reason why their music had always been great. It’s still awkward, annoying and just plain off somehow. During the recording, Consequence should have been sent out for Chinese food and juice at every possible chance but his annoying a** just wouldn’t go away. For all his gifts, Jay Dee didn’t seem to fit properly into the Tribe dynamic at all. And I still don’t know if Ali Shaheed even contributed much. For a full year, I wished that Q-Tip had holed himself up in the studio and produced that album by himself. If ever I was let down by an artist, it was then and I still haven’t forgiven them for that. Of course, then came The Love Movement And lest you forget, My “Low End Theory” Theory discussed the pain of that dreaded 4th album for some of my favorite groups.  Also, don’t forget to see this video of Q-Tip discussing his entire career.

Record Report:

A Tribe Called QuestBeats, Rhymes and Life (4 mics)

Crucial ConflictThe Final Tic (3.5 mics)

Above The LawTime Will Reveal (3.5 mics)

Real LiveThe Turnaround: A Long Awaited Drama (3 mics)

XzibitAt the Speed of Life (3 mics)

UltraBig Time (3 mics)

Blahzay BlahzayBlah, Blah, Blah (3 mics)


Source September 1996 issue and fat tape




  1. I just saw this and i can’t wait to read it! Much props, Vincent! Thanks-a-lot!

  2. Good looking out Vincent, I’ve been waiting for this issue.

  3. Crucial Conflict beat out Real Live, Blahzay Blahzay, and Xzibit’s 1st album? WTF is up with that?

  4. God bless you, Vince!

  5. When you continue.

    Beats, Rhymes, & Life should’ve got 3.5

  6. Can’t believe they gave X to the Z 3 mics, sheer blasphemy.

  7. thanks once again, I do hope you continue with this, it would be interesting to read about your process (e.g. scanning, do you scan page by page? of do you have a pagefeeder? etc)

  8. I agree with everything you say about BRL. That wasn’t the real Tribe energy, although I am in love with that song Wordplay (the instrumental of that one, I think, belongs to the Top 5 of all the music Tribe ever did) and Phony Rappers has some good lyrics. But yeah – a dissapointment alltogether.

    Low End was/is classic, but Midnight Marauders for me is just out of this world – a classic classic.

    Keep up the good work…

  9. @TC – You never know man. I’m getting tired.

    @twc02 – I have to scan these page by page and I hate it. I really need to hire one of my little nephews to do it for me. But they’d probably rip the magazines apart.

  10. Thanks man!!!

  11. Man, you made my day!

  12. At the speed of life is at least 4 mics album

  13. Although not classic BRL is an ace lp. Xzibits debut is his only good LP – although his new album is decent.

    • What are you talking about, Xzibit 40 Dayz and 40 nightz was a dope album.

  14. whoa…just discovered this site….crazy dope! I remember “The Message” (from the Fat Beats section) in the “If I Ruled The World” Video (i didn’t really give the album itself that many spins)….actually both It Was Written and Beats Rhymes & Life disappointed the hell out of me. I spent all summer bumping Reasonable Doubt and Xzibit. By the way, Foundation was like a 3.5 mic album, I think 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz would’ve been more like 4 mics.

    And yo, Blahzay Blahzay and Real Live weren’t that great either. I still have both of those CDs, I think there were like 3 songs on each cd that i listened to. And crucial conflict wasn’t terrible

  15. thanks for the post vincent. I think I have this one hidden away somewhere, but its not the 94-95 classics. thanks again.

  16. I just wanna give you props for scanning these old Source magazines. I´ve got all my old ones in boxes in the cellar (92-98) – so I haven´t looked through them in ages. Tribe is the sh*t – but one of the best in my opinion is Digable Planets – a band I think many people slept on…..

    • @Grz – Agreed. Digable is one of the best. Their second album is a near classic to me. They also made it a lot easier for The Fugees to blow up.

  17. Ill comment as soon as I download/read. I would say skip over a lot of the ads but there’s so much good artist/album info there. The music ads are actually the first things I look at to try and find new artists.

  18. Maybe you could get a paypal thing going so if anyone wants to donate some money for your time they could. Something like the str8mfhustla blog has going on.

    • @mason – Are you serious? Who the heck is str8mfhustla? And anyway, it’s not about money. Maybe I need to take a sabbatical and come back next year.

  19. Thanks for the Source DroOPPPP!!!! You know, I was also checking this issue for Tribe and interested to see where they heads were at during this time. First time I hear BRL i was like Damnn (not the good one). But, it has grown on me and I considered it to be a pretty dope listen today. Now classic, ummmmm…IF LET and MM are classics, then BRL can be classic in the same sentence. But it is good record, nonetheless.

    • @JohnQ – It’s technically ‘good’ but sort of soulless. Their energy and chemistry had dissipated after ’94. I still can’t believe it.

  20. Thanks, your work is appreciated

  21. dude if you continue, i’ll scan all my hip hop connections, fatboss’, fatlace and xxl.

  22. Thank you, Grz. Digable Planets “Blowout Comb” – I can’t believe that people didn’t get that album, and only a year after Tribe blew up the spot with MM. Vincent – you say that Blowout Comb is a near classic? A near? Well, I can name less than 20 classic records altogether – and Blowout Comb is sure one of them. Black Ego, Jettin’, For Corners, and so on and on… – those songs got me through my childhood.

    But – can someone comment on Digital Underground – I know it’s a digression, but nobody commented on Future Rhythm’s 3 MICS? Am I the only one that thinks that Future Rhythm is (well, not a classic, but) a near classic?

  23. I meant to say:

    IF LET and MM are classics, then BRL cannot be a classic in the same sentence.

    Now back to our regulary scheduled program…

  24. yo Vincent dont worry about the haterz bro, keep doin u!

    u my mans and all of that, but i have to disagree wit u on this Tribe LP. 1st off It Was Written was not a letdown!!! next, this tribe LP had me hyped from the 1st single “1nce Again”. soon as i heard that i was ready. Once i got a chance to hear the LP i was impressed. the beats were different but it was still dope!! The Love movement was ok, it wasnt bad at all.
    So 2 me their final 2 LP was great listens!

    How in the world could the Source give 3 mics to that Real Live LP???!! are u kidding me!! thats a 4 or a close 4.5!! That LP was one of dopest u will ever hear!! K-Def beats alone puts that LP over the top!!

    that Blahzay Blazhay LP was aiight, 3 would be kool. But that Danger record will be a classic forever!! i just remember when that came out, and even tho im not from the east , i wish i was when that came out!

  25. You have King Sun’s “Hey Love” on the Fat Tape, that’s the song from his debut “XL”, the right one would be “NY Love” with Doo Wop.

    If you need it, i can upload it.

  26. @Krisch – Please upload it for us.

  27. Here it is:

  28. Vincent – I’m not sure how you mean Dilla’s production didn’t fit Tribe’s vibe?

    It was less loop driven, but it worked.

    • @Matt-The whole vibe and feel were just missing. IMO, they needed Q-Tip to handle most or all the production like always. They also needed to record together as well. If it ain’t broke…

  29. dope issue i need that 2pac tribute issue moms wouldn’t cop it for me! love this website and what your doing it brings back soooo many memories and makes me want to dig out all my old issues, even blaze and rap pages!

  30. Hi can anyone please email me the advert in this issue that features chuck d with the tagline
    “so you wanna be in the music business…whatcha gonna wear?”
    i need it for a massive final year presentation i gotta do this friday? i would be so grateful, the download link doesnt seem to be working anymore.

  31. can anyone upload this issue again? or tell me where i can download it?

    • It will be re-upped eventually. Right now, I’m concentrating on the 1990 to 1993 issues.

  32. thanks man, how do i get onto the other blog? thanks

  33. LATE FREIGHT STOP. came over from PF. if there’s any way i could get a re-up, or direct link for this issue, i’d be ecstatic. i had a letter published in this issue. been looking for a copy, forever! many thanks!

  34. Xzibit-At the Speed of Life: This could have easily been 4/5 instead of 3/5.

  35. V – do you still have a copy of this in your archives? Hit me up if so. Thx fam!

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