Everybody has a different definition of what the golden age of hip-hop was. Some say it was the 1980s, while others say it was the 1990s. The ’80s undoubtedly provided some exciting sounds and saw the genre diversify for the first time. However, in the 1990s, a second wave of creativity occurred. It is fair to say that since the turn of the millennium, the culture has been shouldered by specific individuals instead of collectively. However, one could easily cite the ’90s as the golden age of rap.
The decade saw California build upon the foundation laid down by Ice-T and N.W.A. in the 1980s. Dr Dre effectively ran LA during the ’90s, and with the help of those around him, 213, Tha Dogg Pound, 2pac and Snoop Dogg, an unstoppable empire was built. As a result of Rakim’s lyrical pioneering in the late ’80s, MCs now had more scope for complexity within their rhymes which meant the nursery rhyme structure of the late ’70s was gone.
The ’90s also saw new talent emerge from New York too. In Harlem, Diddy was working his way through the ranks of Uptown Records, eventually forming the iconic Bad Boy Entertainment. In the Bronx, Ruff Ryders were moulding Swizz Beatz and DMX, and in Brooklyn, you had Dame Dash and Jay-Z hustling CDs and units of vinyl with Roc-A-Fella. Both cities were overflowing with talent.
However, it was more than just these two hubs that were thriving. In Philadelphia, The Roots were running the show. In the south, following in the footsteps of the Geto Boys, UGK was making a name for themselves. Broadly the ’90s saw hip-hop expand again, this time further than before. In 1993, 2pac was yet to emerge on the scene. However, both Death Row and Bad Boy were in full effect. The hip-hop mainstream was also seeing an influx of New York-based acts such as the Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep, as well as Houston artists such as Scarface and Bun B. Below, we’ve picked out the 30 best rap songs from 1993.
The 30 best rap songs from 1993:
- ‘Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang’ – Dr Dre ft Snoop Dogg
- ‘Gin And Juice’ – Snoop Dogg
- ‘Who Am I (What’s My Name?)’ – Snoop Dogg
- G-Funk Intro – Snoop Dogg
- ‘I Get Around’ – 2pac
- ‘It Was a Good Day’ – Ice Cube
- ‘Check Yo Self’ – Ice Cube
- ‘Real Compton City G’s’ – Eazy-E
- ‘Award Tour’ – A Tribe Called Quest ft Trugoy The Dove
- ‘Electric Relaxation’ – A Tribe Called Quest
- ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ – The Wu-Tang Clan
- ‘Protect Ya Neck’ – The Wu-Tang Clan
- ‘Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ – The Wu-Tang Clan
- ‘Insane In The Brain’ – Cypress Hill
- ‘I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That’ – Cypress Hill
- ‘Let Me Roll’ – Scarface
- ‘Sound of da Police’ – KRS One
- ‘Party and Bullshit’ – The Notorious B.I.G.
- ‘Hip Hop Hooray’ – Naughty By Nature
- ‘Ill Street Blues’ – Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
- ‘On The Run’ – Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
- ‘Thow Ya Gunz’ – Onyx
- ‘Slam’ – Onyx
- ‘Freakit’ – Das EFX
- ‘I’m A Player’ – Too Short
- ‘Playboy Short’ – Too Short
- ’93 ‘Til Infinity’ – Souls Of Mischief
- ‘Player’s Ball’ – Outkast
- ‘Come Clean’ – Jeru The Damaja
- ‘U.N.I.T.Y.’ – Queen Latifah