Police Question E-40, Mack Minister In Source Awards Investigation

One-time rap associates reportedly fought in crowd at ceremony.

Staff Writer Jahna Berry and Senior Writer Teri vanHorn report:

Police in Pasadena, Calif., are investigating an alleged fight involving San Francisco Bay Area rapper E-40 and lesser-known MC Mack Minister during The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards, which were stopped Tuesday night when several fights broke out in the audience.

Andre Dow, who told police he was Mack Minister, was briefly hospitalized after the melee, according to Detective Jason Clawson.

Clawson said Dow told police that E-40 — who has collaborated with Mack Minister — attacked him.

Detectives have interviewed E-40 (born Earl Stevens) and Dow but have made no arrests.

"We're just trying to determine what happened between the two parties," Sgt. Victor Alaniz said. "We don't know what happened at this point."

Several news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, reported that E-40 was wanted by police for his alleged involvement in the fight, but Alaniz and Lt. Eric Mills denied those reports.

Alaniz said he was not sure if either man plans to press charges.

Police hope to resolve their investigation next week, Mills said.

E-40 is known for his distinctive high-pitched drawl and a bottomless vocabulary of slang, heard on such songs as "Hope I Don't Go Back" (RealAudio excerpt). He is scheduled to release his sixth album, Loyalty & Betrayal, in the fall.

The fight allegedly involving the rapper and his former associate was one of several that broke out in the crowd about an hour and a half into the show's taping at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Police said they called off the show after about 75 people stormed the stage, including a group of men wearing T-shirts with lettering reading "Death Row Records" — the name of the rap label headed by jailed producer Marion "Suge" Knight. Authorities said they did not know what started the fights and made no arrests.

In an article posted at Rapstation.com, a hip-hop community Web site run by Public Enemy rapper Chuck D, Bay Area radio personality Davey D wrote that Mack Minister approached E-40 and began berating him in front of several other rappers. "I could see Minister trying to get up in E-40's face and 40 trying to avoid a confrontation," he wrote.

What happened next is "a bit confusing, as there are all sorts of stories," he wrote.

Davey D, who hosts a show on KMEL-FM that deals with hip-hop issues, said Mack Minister has shown up at Bay Area venues and demanded to be put onstage using E-40's name.

Mack Minister could not be reached for comment. E-40's manager did not return messages left for him Thursday and Friday (Aug. 25).

E-40's brother, Vallejo, Calif., rapper D-Shot, refused to discuss his brother's alleged involvement in the matter but said security was handled badly for the event.

Rap fans were seated next to multimillionaire lyricists in the auditorium, he said.

"There should have been separate seating," the rapper, who has been featured on E-40's albums, said. He is scheduled to release his third album, Money, Sex and Thugs, on Oct 24.

"We had extensive security," The Source Awards spokesperson Larry Winokur said shortly after the show ended Tuesday night. "You cannot control the actions of a few when they affect the many."

While only five of the 15 awards had been handed out by the time the fights broke out, most of the performers had already taken the stage, including Cash Money Millionaires, Lil' Kim and Jay-Z. Organizers have said they will restage the missing award presentations and edit that material into the original footage for the award show's UPN telecast Tuesday night.