Essential 90’s Hip Hip playlist

Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre pictured performing at coachella
Snoop Dogg, right, and Dr. Dre perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, April 13, 2012 in Indio, California. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

The 1990s was a decade marked by innovation and change. Many of the most significant events that took place throughout the decade would go on to influence an entire generation. Technology was advancing and the economy was booming, and after decades of silence, the rise of social and political issues began to surface.

As life in the 90s was rapidly changing, so was the African American youth culture. Hip-hop began to emerge out of an atmosphere of disappointment and anger. Hip-hop artists were now given an outlet and voice and would use that to build upon a social consciousness.

Artist’s such as N.W.A, Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, and Eazy E transformed hip-hop music with their controversial lyrics. Many of their songs were graphic in nature and exposed the violences of inner-city life in L.A.

Hip-hop began in New York but spread to L.A. in the early 90s. This led to a media-fueled rivalry between Tupac Shakur on the West Coast and Notorious B.I.G. on the East Coast. As tension began to escalate between the two hip-hop legends, so did the violence, which led to the deaths of two of hip-hop’s biggest icons.

Some of the greatest hip-hop artists of the 90s laid the groundwork for future hip-hop artists to come. This playlist is packed with nostalgia for those who grew up with these tunes.