Source Awards Producer Talks Tupac Interrupting Tribe Called Quest

Exclusive interview conducted by The Art of Dialogue where he speaks to J. Kevin Swain who produced the 1994 and 1995 Source Awards.

There has always been a misconception about the night of the 1994 Source Awards, where many felt Tupac was being disrespectful. Perhaps having an issue with Hip Hop group Tribe Called Quest. Although many who were in attendance such as Busta Ryhmes went on the record saying it was a mistake.

“Pac made it clear to me that he didn’t mean to do that. That wasn’t his fault and he didn’t understand how or why it happened that way. You know how it goes, your music starts going, you going to do what you’re supposed to do. And rightfully so, he is supposed to go out there if he hears his sh*t and start rocking,” said Busta Rhymes.

During the awards show, Tribe Called Quest would take the stage to accept the award for “Group of the Year”. All of a sudden out of nowhere the instrumental for Tupac’s “Out On Bail” kicks in. And just like that Tupac is on stage performing.

The mistake on the sound man’s part as he cued the Tupac’s instrumental at the wrong time. A.B. Money, of the group Rappin’ Is Fundamental, was performing with Tupac that night. He said that the only reason why Tupac came out was because he heard his music come on. Tupac thought it was a cue to come out to perform. “No one knew it was gonna happen. Kinda came up on its own. Later I find out, some years, later that’s how he came out on the show. No introduction. No hype man, no DJ, just came on stage.”

Tribe called quest at the 1994 source awards
Tribe Called Quest at the 1994 source awards

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Ensuring to clear up any confusing, Swain says it was more of a production mistake. “It was a production accident if you will, but no one knew he came out like that. That’s how he did his shows. No one knew that was gonna happen,” says Swain.

“Shortly after Tribe Called Quest and Tupac spoke about that. There was no problem with it. It was a mistake,” explains J. Kevin Swain. “It was a mistake. Everyone saw it as such. There was no drama about it.”

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