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So, I just think, for whatever reason, Ray was a sort of like a scapegoat, because he was an easy target for people, people in the journalism community that developed a negative perception of me, , and him.It did come from the James Bernard thing that started all that, the petition—writers and editors calling for Dave Mays to step down from his job. Wasn’t nobody giving these guys from the streets awards to honor them and celebrate them. Ray Benzino: Andre 3000 accepted his award, and he was really serious about, look, “The South got something to say.” And as big as N. So I think the Source Awards let New York know that hip-hop was alive and well in different regions.
It was the brunt of a lot of negativity, attacks by the media and politicians.
But even as far back as the 1995 Source Awards, he was there, presenting an award with his group the Almighty RSO. That relationship and that dynamic just grew further over the years. A lot of the stuff that has been made of this, the root of it, comes from just the kind of dynamic and challenge that he and I had over the years dealing with an editorial staff that took a lot of things personally.
I think a lot of the stories and the voices that you’ve heard have come from people that—you gotta look at it on its face—they’re disgruntled.
That set a tone of mainstream award shows snubbing real hip-hop, not televising awards, and the process of nominations was very suspect. As it became a bigger thing, like the first major one in ’94, then, of course, came the debates over nominations and who should get what. The first few years we had DM: At that time, DJs, some of them at radio and others who were just influential. The mom-and-pop retailers were influential in those days, because they were in the trenches in the community. That just shows you the kind of commitment people had to the show and what we were doing. I don’t know off the top of my head, but if you’re going to go in and put a deposit down on a theater like that, for a big event, ,000-,000?
After the thing, I tried to put a plan together to make it into a full-scale award show, and that was when we had the first one, in 1994, at the Paramount Theater. DM: I know we had to get insurance, but I don’t remember it being a big issue. You’re signing a pretty big contract that is worth a substantial amount of money. A., New York didn’t play too much West Coast music.