Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Duel Of The Iron Mics (The Source, 1998)

The Source 5-mic ratings Illmatic Biggie
The Source 5-mic ratings Illmatic Biggie
The Source 5-mic ratings Illmatic Biggie

The Source's 100th issue in 1998 had LL Cool J on the cover and a nice article that highlighted 8 classic albums that had previously received 5-mic ratings. Back when the mic rating truly meant something, artists aspired to make an album that would receive that coveted award. And, for fans, as Elliott Wilson said, ''The mics are one of the main reasons that The Source flies off your newsstands. More importantly, there are over 3 million hip-hop fans worldwide who look to The Source for honest reviews of the multitude of rap albums released each month...'  That was true for a long time. The 8 albums selected for the article are: A Tribe Called Quest's 'Peoples Instinctive Travels & the Paths to Rhythm,' Ice Cube's 'AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted,' Brand Nubian's 'One For All' (note to the editor: 'All For One' was the single), De La Soul's 'De La Soul is Dead,' A Tribe Called Quest 'Low End Theory,' Nas' 'Illmatic' and finally, The Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Life After Death.' Interestingly, Elliott explains the historical context of 'Life After Death' and even offers that he originally scoffed at 'Illmatic' receiving a 5-mic rating. Time has proven that Miss Info was correct for her review, but it's not rewriting history to say sales were mediocre and only us real heads were championing it early. Would you argue against any of these records receiving 5 mics? Personally, I've always been on the fence on 'Let The Rhythm Hit Em' but I can see their logic.