|Editor||Jonathan Shecter/Adario Strange/Selwyn Seyfu Hinds/Kim Osorio|
|Frequency||1–2 per year|
|Company||The NorthStar Group|
|Based in||New York City, New York, U.S.|
The Source is an American hip hop and entertainment website, and a magazine that publishes annually or semiannually. It is the world's longest-running rap periodical, being founded as a newsletter in 1988 by Jonathan Shecter. David Mays was the magazine's co-founder.
In 1999 The Los Angeles Times reported that, based on data from Alliance for Audited Media, formerly known as Audit Bureau of Circulations (North America), the print edition of The Source was "the No. 1-selling music magazine on newsstands in America." By 2009, they were among those losing readership and advertising income.
Others who were involved as co-owners/editors include Raymond 'Ray Benzino' Leon Scott and Marshall 'Eminem' Bruce Mathers II. Between 2005 and 2010 the magazine didn't award any of its '5 mic' awards.
The Source's Five-Mic albums
The Record Report is a section in the publication in which the magazine's staff rates hip-hop albums. Ratings range from one to five mics, paralleling a typical five-star rating scale. An album that is rated at four-and-a-half or five mics is considered by The Source to be a superior hip hop album. Over the first ten years or so, the heralded five-mic rating only applied to albums that were universally lauded hip hop albums. A total of 45 albums have been awarded five mics; a complete, chronological list is below.
Albums that originally received five mics:
- People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm – A Tribe Called Quest
- AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted – Ice Cube
- Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em – Eric B. & Rakim
- One for All – Brand Nubian
- De La Soul Is Dead – De La Soul
- The Low End Theory – A Tribe Called Quest
- Illmatic – Nas
- Life After Death – The Notorious B.I.G.
- Aquemini – Outkast
- The Blueprint – Jay-Z
- Stillmatic – Nas
- The Fix – Scarface
- The Naked Truth – Lil' Kim
- Trill OG – Bun B
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
Albums that were not rated upon their releases, but were later rated five mics in 2002:
- Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C.
- Radio – LL Cool J
- Licensed to Ill – Beastie Boys
- Raising Hell – Run-D.M.C.
- Criminal Minded – Boogie Down Productions
- Paid in Full – Eric B. & Rakim
- By All Means Necessary – Boogie Down Productions
- It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back – Public Enemy
- Long Live the Kane – Big Daddy Kane
- Critical Beatdown – Ultramagnetic MCs
- Straight Out the Jungle – Jungle Brothers
- Strictly Business – EPMD
- The Great Adventures of Slick Rick – Slick Rick
- Straight Outta Compton – N.W.A
- No One Can Do It Better – The D.O.C.
- All Eyez on Me – 2Pac
Albums that originally received 4.5 mics, and were later re-rated to five:
- Breaking Atoms – Main Source
- Death Certificate – Ice Cube
- The Chronic – Dr. Dre
- Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) – Wu-Tang Clan
- Ready to Die – The Notorious B.I.G.
- The Infamous – Mobb Deep
- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... – Raekwon
- 2001 – Dr. Dre
Albums that originally received four mics, and were later re-rated to five:
- Grip It! On That Other Level – Geto Boys
- Doggystyle – Snoop Doggy Dogg
- The Diary – Scarface
- Me Against the World – 2Pac
- The Score – The Fugees
- Reasonable Doubt – Jay-Z
The Source released a compilation album of hip-hop hits.
|1997||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits||38||25|
|1998||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 2||46||29|
|1999||The Source Hip Hop Music Awards 1999||45||53|
|1999||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 3||45||29|
|2000||The Source Hip Hop Music Awards 2000||17||16|
|2000||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 4||43||35|
|2001||The Source Hip Hop Music Awards 2001||28||34|
|2001||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 5||47||38|
|2002||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 6||35||31|
|2003||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 7||89||46|
|2004||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 8||45||43|
|2004||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 9||75||36|
|2005||The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits, Vol. 10||60||47|
- printed by using a copying machine: Josh Tyrangiel (January 5, 2004). "A Source of Discomfort". Time.
- Ogunnaike, Lola (January 29, 2003). "War of the Words at Hip-Hop Magazines". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- Emory Holmes II (August 20, 1999). "Hip-Hop Goes Prime Time With Source Music Awards". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
- Heather Fletcher (September 1, 2009). "Finding Success at The Source". AdWeek. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
- "JamTV brings hip-hop online with The Source". Advertising Age. August 26, 1998.
- "Jann Wenner is among Hot Music Title's Biggest Fans". Advertising Age. February 23, 1998.
- Seth Colter Walls (August 12, 2010). "Bun B's 'Trill O.G.' Inspires a Hip-Hop Debate". Newsweek. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
- "Got Five on It". The Source (150). March 2002.
- Osorio, Kim (May 14, 2012). "5 Mics: Who Got Next?". The Source. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- "Kanye West Earns 5 Mics In The Source". The Source. Archived from the original on December 3, 2010.