The year was 1994, Nas’s Illmatic dropped on Tuesday and myself along with 6 others in my crew were on a plane to New York for the first time, heading to the 1st Annual Source Awards and after party at the Palladium in Manhattan. Hip hop’s “Golden Age” was at its peak, Biggie had a single on the Who’s The Man Soundtrack and a couple of mix tape singles in the streets…
Deciding not to get ripped off by scalpers selling possibly fake Source Awards tickets, we decide to go to the after party and get there as early as possible. After being greeted by a line wrapped around the building and very high security (shoes off please), we were in hip hop heaven. I can’t remember who was spinning, but every track was on point, and I remember the deejay dropping Puerto Ricoooooo…Hooooooo!! and the roof almost flew off of the place.
The Performances..MOP the opening act. “How About Some Hardcore” came on and it was over… people jumping around wildin’ out EVERYWHERE. You had to be there to know what I’m talking about. seriously. RZA showed up and got the crowd hype with his signature Wutang chants, but…
Next was Biggie. Never had I seen a cat perform with as much clarity, energy, and support from an audience without even having an album in the stores yet, but, we were in New York and he was definitely the hometown hero for the night. When he yelled “Is Brooklyn in the house!!?” you would have thought all three thousand plus people (and counting) were all from his block up in Bed Stuy. A defining moment for me personally was being surrounded by a crowd of folks (especially the females) that recited EVERY single word to his unreleased single “Dreams” which at the time was an exclusive mixtape (yes, cassette youngsters) only release.
Nas was actually the headliner for the night following his new album release, but after B.I.G.’s performance, cats were so amped that a couple of fights broke out and Nas didn’t even get to make it to the stage. Even though it would have been nice to see him perform (especially after bumping Illmatic in my Walkman for the whole week straight), I had no regrets, because Biggie absolutely stole the show.
Reminiscing for a minute,