The Best Year in 90's hip hop
The year in which the most prominent hip hop albums were created was 1994.
Hip hop had reached it's "golden age" by the 1990's. Artists were now using complex multi-syllable rhyme schemes, thanks to the likes of late 80's emcees Rakim & Kool G Rap. Rap albums were being released at an astonishing rate with many of the most memorable having come out during 1994. This was the year of the rap classics, with many albums having great, timeless songs, from first to last track.
This was also a time when samplers changed from Sp1200's to MPC's and tapes to Compact Disc (CD). The new equipment and output formats inspired a musical outburst of great samples from 90's hip hop.
In 1994, some of the most prominent rappers already out in the 90's included 2Pac, Naughty by Nature, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Slick Rick, LL Cool J, & the Geto Boys, while newcomers to the scene broke out with outstanding debut efforts.
New rapper Naps dropped "Illmatic", considered by many as the greatest hip hop album of all time, stand out songs included the gritty "N.Y. State of Mind", and the inspirational "The World Is Yours", although every song on the album is considered a perfect New York rap track. The production on this album was laced by talents DJ Premier, Large Professor & Pete Rock (the most credited DJs of the era). These same producers also contributed to the highly anticipated "Ready to Die" from The Notorious B.I.G in the same year. Standout tracks on this album included Juicy (a song about rags to riches) and Gimme the Loot (a song about armed robbery with Biggie seamlessly playing 2 characters). Many other notable rap classics that came from New York this year included, Redman's "Dare Iz a Dark side", Gangstarr's "Hard 2 Earn", Pete Rock & CL Smooth's "The Main Ingredient", and Method Man's "Tical".
Meanwhile on the west coast, Synthesizer sounds and funk samples from the 70's churned hip hop into its G Funk era. 2Pac released an album, "Thug Life" alongside other east coast rappers from his team. Warren G made g-funk official with the Nate Dogg assisted track "Regulators". Rappin' 4-Tay released his great album "Can't Fight the Feeling" and Too Short released his best work, the west coast classic "Get In Where You Fit In". Other notable 1994 albums from the west included Coolio's "It Takes a Thief", Above the Law's "Uncle Sam's Curse", and the Twinz "Conversation".
That same year a young rapper from Chicago, by the name of Common, released his classic album "Resurrection". Resurrection was full of poetic street knowledge about day to day life in the Chi town. It also included introspective tracks like "I Used to Love HER", in which he uses a girl as a metaphor for hip hop, a format many rappers would follow in future songs.
In the South Scarface, of the Geto Boys fame, released the deep rooted album "The Diary". This album focused upon dealing with death in the ghetto as his deep voice empowered songs like "Seen a Man Die" & "Hand of a Dead Body". Another popular act to spring up from the South was new duo of emcee's from Atlanta known as OutKast. They had released their classic first LP, "Southerplayalistic...", in 1994. OutKast would grow to be the greatest group in hip hops history with a style many have tried to copy but could not duplicate.
The top 10 hip hop albums from 1994 are as follows:
10. Get In Where You Fit In by Too Short
9. Regulate G Funk Era by Warren G
8. Dare Iz a Darkside by Redman
7. Thug Life Volume 1 by 2Pac & Thug Life
6. Resurrection by Common
5. The Main Ingredient by Pete Rock and CL Smooth
4. The Diary by Scarface
3. Southerplayalisticadilacfunkymusic by OutKast
2. Ready to Die by The Notorious B.I.G
1. Illmatic by Nas