PASADENA, Calif. — An outburst of violence that police and witnesses said involved rap artists brought the second annual Source Hip-Hop Music Awards to an abrupt end Tuesday night, only an hour into the show’s taping.
Local police shut down the event at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium after several fights broke out in the crowd and 75 audience members stormed the stage, Lt. Paul Gales said.
“It was out of control,” Gales said.
Wu-Tang Clan rapper Cappadonna said the trouble began with “just a normal fight. It wasn’t as big as it seemed, but at the same time, it creates conflict amongst everybody because it starts a chain reaction because negative energy feeds off negative energy.”
Organizers had not decided at press time whether they would restage the awards, according to event spokesperson Larry Winokur. The show, which is put on by The Source magazine, was scheduled to air Aug. 29 on UPN.
The melee started about 8 p.m., shortly after a videotaped tribute to late hip-hop artists was shown. Audience members pelted police with CD cases and bottles as authorities tried to quell the skirmishes.
Police said there were no arrests or injuries. Gales said he did not know which rappers allegedly were involved.
Several eyewitnesses said Bone Thugs-N-Harmony rapper Krayzie Bone was hurt in the incident. “He was busted up pretty bad,” said a photographer who asked not to be named. “He wasn’t getting any help.”
After police evacuated the estimated 2,500 attendees from the venue, stunned artists and fans streamed out of the building. Many rappers refused to discuss what happened inside the auditorium as they milled around backstage.
“I can’t speak on that right now,” said Artist of the Year (Solo) nominee Snoop Dogg, who was standing stoically near a tent, surrounded by a tight circle of bodyguards. “My head is in another place right now.”
Rising St. Louis rapper Nelly, the current king of the Billboard 200 albums chart, said he saw very little.
“I buzzed out off there,” he said.
Some attendees expressed concern that the incident will be viewed as a reflection of hip-hop rather than a result of a few individuals causing trouble. “It’s a sad day for hip-hop,” said 32-year-old Bilal Allah, who works with the Wu-Tang Clan. “This is gonna be a serious blow. My biggest concern is the spin the media’s gonna take on it.”
Winokur said organizers “deeply regretted” that the show was cut short. “It’s unimaginable that the act of a few people ruined a night of music for the many people who came here,” he said. “This was an evening to celebrate music and celebrate hip-hop culture. This just simply went awry.”
Winokur said organizers had staffed adequate security for the event.
Cappadonna said he hoped for “a justification for this whole mess right here, so then maybe somethin’ good will come out of it.”
“Brothers still can’t get along,” he said. “Brothers gotta hold hands for a while, man. Stop poppin’ each other like that, or else we ain’t never gonna get nowhere.”
Shortly after the awards ceremony began, gangsta rapper DJ Quik was involved in a scuffle outside the auditorium, after a member of his posse traded blows with another attendee. DJ Quik was handcuffed and briefly detained but was released without being charged, Gales said.
Only five awards were given out before the show was canceled. Eve, the night’s only female rap nominee, received New Artist of the Year (Solo), while Redman and Method Man shared the Life Performer of the Year award.
Eminem accepted the Music Video of the Year award for his collaboration with Dr. Dre on “Guilty Conscience” (RealAudio excerpt). Dr. Dre and Ice Cube picked up the night’s top honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“When they told me I was receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, I said, ’Damn, I’m only 31,’ ” Ice Cube said as he stood next to Dr. Dre onstage. “But when I look back at the work Dre and I have done in the last 15 years, it is a lifetime of work.”