January 06, 2014

The Source Mic System for Album Reviews (March, 1997)

Since we still look back on albums to see how The Source rated them back in the day, we should be clear on their review system and how they determine mic ratings. With that said: "Today's subject is the infamous Source mic ratings... we're gonna clear up some of the mysteries and misconceptions by answering some of the more popular queries: 1) How in the hell can y'all let one person's opinion decide something as important as the mics? When a record comes in it gets assigned to a professional journalist who crafts his or her opinion in the form of the review. The record then goes to The Source ratings committee (*WHO?*), each of whom listens to it in isolation for a specified period of time. At the end of that period, the committee meets to discuss the record and vote on a rating. Then... we present the mic rating to you, the reader. 2) What are some of the criteria y'all look for when you rate an album? Well, first we separate an album into its most basic components - music and production, lyrical technique and execution, narrative content. Or, to put it more simply, are the beats boomin', can the cats flow, and what the hell are they talkin' about anyway? Then we put the consistency barometer into play, as in how consistently does the artist in question deliver high marks in each of the basic components? So, how does one get to the magical 4-4.5 range, you may ask? Simple. You've got to push the envelope in at least two of the basic components, consistently. In the final analysis, folks, we do our absolute best to give you a fair and accurate guide each month.... You may not always agree with us, but we'd like to think we're a lot more on than off. Long live true hip-hop." - The Source, March 1997. The full article is up above.