The Source

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The Source
The Source (magazine).jpg
Cover of November 2008 issue
EditorJonathan Shecter/Adario Strange/Selwyn Seyfu Hinds/Kim Osorio
CategoriesMusic magazine
Frequency1–2 per year
First issue1988; 35 years ago (1988)
CompanyThe NorthStar Group
CountryUnited States
Based inNew 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[1] in 1988 by Jonathan Shecter.[2] David Mays was the magazine's co-founder.[2]

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."[3] By 2009, they were among those losing readership and advertising income.[4]


The magazine's website began in 1998.[5] At that point the monthly print magazine was celebrating its 100th issue.[6]

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.[7]

The Source's Five-Mic albums[edit]

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.[8] Over the first ten years or so, the heralded five-mic rating only applied to albums that were universally lauded hip hop albums.[9] A total of 45 albums have been awarded five mics; a complete, chronological list is below.[10]

Albums that originally received five mics:[8]

Albums that were not rated upon their releases, but were later rated five mics in 2002:[8]

Albums that originally received 4.5 mics, and were later re-rated to five:[8]

Albums that originally received four mics, and were later re-rated to five:[8]


Compilation album[edit]

The Source released a compilation album of hip-hop hits.


Year Album Chart Positions
US US Hip-Hop
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


  1. ^ printed by using a copying machine: Josh Tyrangiel (January 5, 2004). "A Source of Discomfort". Time.
  2. ^ a b Ogunnaike, Lola (January 29, 2003). "War of the Words at Hip-Hop Magazines". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Emory Holmes II (August 20, 1999). "Hip-Hop Goes Prime Time With Source Music Awards". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  4. ^ Heather Fletcher (September 1, 2009). "Finding Success at The Source". AdWeek. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  5. ^ "JamTV brings hip-hop online with The Source". Advertising Age. August 26, 1998.
  6. ^ "Jann Wenner is among Hot Music Title's Biggest Fans". Advertising Age. February 23, 1998.
  7. ^ Seth Colter Walls (August 12, 2010). "Bun B's 'Trill O.G.' Inspires a Hip-Hop Debate". Newsweek. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Got Five on It". The Source (150). March 2002.
  9. ^ Osorio, Kim (May 14, 2012). "5 Mics: Who Got Next?". The Source. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Kanye West Earns 5 Mics In The Source". The Source. Archived from the original on December 3, 2010.

External links[edit]