The Year In Hip Hop: 1993

Intro By @TrueGodImmortal
-The 90's are a great time in hip hop. There have been many years that truly go underrated and 1993 is one of them. From the abrasive Onyx to the soulful jazz style of A Tribe Called Quest to the hardcore style of Black Moon to the west coast G-Funk of Snoop Dogg, 1993 had everything you could want and more. I mean, the Wu-Tang Clan debuted in 1993 with their 36 Chambers album. What more could you ask for? Let's get into it.

1993 was an interesting year. It has its great moments and some albums that could’ve been better. Like Kendrick quoted from his interlude “For Free”, [Every dog has its days, now Doggystyle shall help], “Doggystyle” did help in the latter half of the year and is one of the best albums of the 90's period from Snoop Dogg. Songs like “Gin and Juice” and “Lodi Dodi” shine with laid back relaxing beats supporting Doggy’s casanova, distinctive wordplay. Pac’s second studio breakout album called “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z” also hit this year. Some of his best songs like “I Get Around” and “Keep Your Head Up” are known by his fans, even after his death. A huge difference in production is also seen in this album. Wu-Tang’s album, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” also dominated the year. Hands down, an important album in the 90's. From start to finish, it’s the definition of hardcore hip hop and I personally feel this paved the path of hardcore hip-hop. The album is so raw and that underground feeling brings chills to me and I wasn’t even born then. Salt-n-Pepa’s “Very Necessary” was their most successful album and at the right time with songs like “Shoop”, “Whatta Man”, and “None of Your Business” shining and helping them progress. Tribe’s “Midnight Marauders” can not go untouched on my Tidal account every day. It features the perfect chemistry as it allowed other artists and groups to experiment with jazz/hip-hop. What a year for hip hop.

Thank you DAR for covering yet another critical year and one that definitely aided in making the 90’s the “Golden Era”. 1993 was absolutely amazing and an important year for hip hop.  I won’t spend much time on an introductory statement because once we highlight the releases, they will speak for themselves. Let's get right into it.

A. Tribe. Called. Quest. This was the year they released “Midnight Marauders” and maintained their important and inventive reputation in the industry. Although this wasn’t as groundbreaking as their debut and second album IMO, this definitely became an instant favorite and classic. Anytime Tribe releases an album, you can be assured there is a whole entire in-depth meaning behind the title, and this one is no different. I love everything about this album from the title, album art, name it, they perfected it. These guys have always been conscious, intelligent rappers who shed light on social issues, but “Midnight Marauders” is a bit different. They keep in line with the awareness and elevated lyrics, but with this one they decided to talk about the simple everyday, regular stuff as well. “Award Tour” is easily the best track on this album, with “Electric Relaxation”, “Oh My God”, and  "The Chase (Pt. 2)" not far behind. Tip and Phife’s verses are fantastic and this carries on throughout every track. Honestly, every song on this is my favorite because truth be told, Tribe can do no wrong. I do love the sampling of Busta because as everyone knows, in the 90’s he was everywhere all the time.  ATCQ graced us with their unique style, sounds, beats and lyrics for nearly a decade and deserve an endless amount of love and appreciation. They created a legendary rap group and left a profound imprint in the industry.

My favorite release of the year and should come as no surprise: "Wu-Tang Clan: Enter the 36 Chambers". To be honest, I don't know where to start. DAR has covered The Wu quite a bit, so I'll try and keep this brief. Simply put, "36 Chambers" revolutionized rap. Their impact was profound and is STILL referenced so many years later. RZA, the absolute genius, behind the Clan did everything right. He hand picked members (Masta Killa included) who each brought unique styles and stories to make one cohesive group. “36 Chambers” is filled with a fresh approach to gangster rap, incorporating martial arts and “underground” type beats, there was nothing quite like it. The Wu were the pioneers. To me this is a flawless album, with no skippable tracks and an immense amount of replay value. 23 years later, this album still sounds original, fresh and innovative. Many have tried to duplicate these guys, but none have been successful. As a collective, The Clan will forever be legends.

Another highlight of the year was none other than Snoop’s “Doggystyle” album. My favorite album out of the West. This was Snoop at his prime, as he was still running off the momentum of his involvement in “The Chronic” album. Snoop debuts with this amazing, game changing approach. He brings an air of “hardcore-ness” to the typical "softer" West Coast style and seeing as though Snoop was so young at the time, there is definitely realism laced on this album, as he just didn't care to filter anything. I remember when I bought this CD, I was embarrassed to sing along to “Ain’t No Fun”, because it was so explicit. Even listening back years later, I am shocked at some of his lyrics. Honestly, every track on this album is fantastic. The guest features, the production, Snoop's unique nasal sounding voice paired with G-Funk familiarity of "The Chronic" was pure genius and translated into a classic album for sure. I know many believe "Doggystyle" is an extension of Dre’s “Chronic” album, I don’t agree. I think they are both definite classics and to group them that way limits their importance in rap. “Doggystyle” was such a highlight in ’93 and Snoop proved he was a gift to hip hop with this.

Another gem from the West Coast comes from none other than Ice Cube! This was the year of “Lethal Injection”. Now before people start hating on this because it didn’t adequately mirror what we got in his previous releases, this is still a great album. I try to appreciate albums without comparing it to previous work because artists sometimes record albums based on events/personal issues at the time, and it’s a constant evolutionary process and that’s what happened here. “Lethal Injection” still gives us Cube’s fantastic lyrical abilities and some very solid tracks (“Really Doe”, “Ghetto Bird” and “You k
Know How We Do It” to name a few). We definitely don’t hear the anger, aggression and hostility we would have heard from him previously, but that’s fine, Cube always gives us quality. The 90’s were his prime and this album fits perfectly in his catalogue.

Salt-N-Pepa release the album that had every girl singing Shoop!! "Very Necessary", which is very appropriately titled, was an instant favorite. These ladies created an album that saw incredible success not only commercially but in the industry as well. There simply wasn't any other female trio as relevant as them at the time, not even TLC. The collaboration with En Vogue (who I absolutely love) in "Whatta Man" was brilliant because everything just harmonized so well and this track was also a hit upon release. They addressed the usual topics: sex, love, relationships, and respect, which is somewhat expected and though very typical of a female rap group, these ladies just did it with a perfect mix of rap and R&B. This was definitely one of my favorite albums then and still is. There is no way you can hear the very first word in "Shoop" and not get hit with a dose of nostalgia. This album was fantastic!

As usual, I picked my favorite releases and purposely spared everyone having to “hear” about KRS’s release of “Return of The Boom Bap”, I don’t even have to elaborate, everyone knows. Pure ingenuity and brilliance and a highly appreciated album. Tupac dropped "Strictly for my N.I.G.G.A.Z", which of course is appreciated and the releases continued as Ice-T had a release, The Roots, one of my favorite ladies of rap, MC Lyte dropped an album that year, Big Daddy Kane, Das-EFX and that's just a few, needless to say, Hip hop dominated in 1993, so much so, "Shaq Diesel" wanted a piece of the pie!

1993 was a good 90's year in hip hop. Some big albums occurred, you have Enter the Wu-Tang, Midnight Marauders, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. Cypress Hill, Eazy-E, Bone Thugs, and Mac Dre all dropped albums. All good albums and I consistently listen to about 4 of these albums still, but the only one that always really really stands out is the Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang. That album is a classic 12/10, with great lyrics, beats, and everyone's flow. They all have their own distinguished style and together, it's just fucking amazing. I can't even really pick a couple of favorite songs as they are all just so amazing. Nothing sounds the same, it's different every time, the only repetitive thing (and not in a bad way) is that the production, lyrics, and flows from all of them just kill everything.

1993 was an excellent year in hip hop. It was full of quality material and classics. Let's start off with Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, by Wu-Tang Clan. You know you're getting a classic once you listen to the first track, "Bring Da Ruckus". Later on, from "CREAM" all the way to "Tearz", it helps solidify the album as a hip hop classic. Next, we got Midnight Marauders. "Award Tour" & "8 Million Stories" are the best tracks on the album, but overall, it was perfection. It's one of the most underrated albums of all time IMO. And lastly, STRICTLY 4 MY NIGGAZ. A classic album released by the great Tupac Shakur. This album is very important in the black community. Before he blew up, Pac discussed a lot about politics and racism in his music. In this album, he perfected it and helped America learn about the struggles of being an African-American. The classic song "Keep Ya Head Up" holds a powerful message discussing problems with black women. This album was truly incredible. And that will do for 1993. A great year in hip hop, and for sure memorable.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-1993 was truly a great year in hip hop and in many ways, it doesn't get enough credit for the monumental moments we witnessed. From Wu to Tribe to Onyx to Souls of Mischief to De La to Black Moon, 1993 was truly the year of the hip hop collective. We need another year like that again.



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