Hip Hop Music 90s List

hip hop music 90s list

While early hip hop songs were composed primarily of repeated or scratched samples that could only be created using a 2-turntable DJ setup, The Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique album changed this paradigm by employing more innovative sampling techniques.

Gang Starr’s Bahamadia proved herself as an equal player in 1990s hip hop with this smooth track from No Limit’s No Limit era. A classic.

1. Eazy-E – “Bad Day”

Eazy-E and his West Coast crew showed their best side with this tribute to LA street life, featuring samples from Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side and Ian Dury’s What A Waste intertwined with classic seventies funk, rap, Treach’s funky bass lines, and classic seventies drum beats to create one of hip hop’s greatest hits – Pitchfork ranked this track #25 out of 250 best songs of the 1990s!

Mack 10, WC and Ice Cube’s West Coast supergroup made an enormous statement with this track that launched them to stardom. Mack 10, WC and Ice Cube make sure all their enemies–real or imagined – know about themselves over an infectious, catchy beat; making this party song an essential staple from 90s hip hop culture.

Becoming the sexiest female MC requires serious swagger and bars that would make Shakespeare proud; Da Brat succeeded at both with her confident yet seductive delivery on this track, which remains one of her signature hits today.

This track perfectly blends hardcore rap with Mobb Deep’s trademark lyrical perfection, from Prodigy’s menacing Queensbridge bars to Havoc’s captivating sampling of Herbie Hancock’s “Jessica,” making this track one of the greatest 90s hip hop tracks ever produced.

The Wu-Tang Clan’s debut mainstream single is an unforgettable classic, featuring their legendary rhyming skills, street bravado, and massive production work. Also, young 2Pac can be heard rapping over an unforgettable beat featuring two jazz tracks by Joe Chambers and Donald Byrd sampled in its production – it serves as an ideal introduction to their iconic style of rap music; its opening strings will surely get any party going!

2. Ice Cube – “Good Day”

Hip hop was flourishing during this era artistically and commercially, evidenced by many iconic songs like Nas’ poetic laments in “Nas Is Like” to 2Pac’s revolutionary spirit on “Ambitionz az a Ridah.” Our list of the best 90s hip hop music features numerous such influential tracks that made an impactful statement about change to an entire generation.

Rap has always been an amalgamation of pop music and black culture; but during the 1990s it took on new dimensions. Many successful artists began crossing over into other genres regularly – creating timeless songs both culturally and musically.

Ice Cube’s “Good Day” stands out as an iconic example of this phenomenon. Its lyrics detail a typical pleasant day from his life while being delivered with such smooth delivery that they become an educational lesson in how rap can convey story through words alone. The track was an instantaneous hit that launched his later success.

Wreckx-N-Effect’s 1992 video “Rump Shaker” may have caused controversy, while their 1991 single “Let’s Talk About Sex” provided much-needed balance against some of their male hip hop peers who favored more vulgar and sexualized lyrics. Instead of going for typical new jack swing production methods like new jack swing production or electronic beats, “Let’s Talk About Sex” featured soulful keyboard chords and back and forth verses from all members of Wreckx-N-Effect which playedfully faced down taboos with no harm done to anyone involved.

Public Enemy proved their social commentary ability with “911 Is a Joke”, as the song unflinchingly attacked systemic issues. Backed by Bomb Squad’s signature noise-heavy production and Flavor Flav’s unabashed rhymes paired with PE’s firebrand political agenda made this track one of the essential 90s hip hop music songs ever recorded.

3. Mos Def – “Ms. Fat Booty”

Hip hop fans will recognize this iconic track. It transcends genre boundaries, becoming part of culture as it influences fashion, film and rapping itself (see “Hammer Time”).

Mos Def’s storytelling ability stood out in this 90s hip hop song. His introspective lyrical content resonated with listeners at a time when mainstream commercialism had taken over the genre, drawing listeners in with its introspective nature and vivid imagery. With this record, Mos def delves deep into his desire for an alluring woman and recounts their incredible adventure together — creating an engaging narrative that propelled Neo-soul conscious hip hop movements like Neosoul.

Mos Def and Talib Kweli of Black Star were an inseparable duo, creating this timeless classic together. Boasting one of hip hop’s greatest sample-heavy beats, their harmonious delivery combined beautifully with the song’s upbeat vibe, while touching upon social issues rarely addressed in hip hop at that time – helping Black Star distinguish itself from more mainstream rivals at that time. This track stands as an enduring testament to these underground icons’ talent and remains timeless today.

4. Public Enemy – “911 Is A Joke”

In the ’90s, hip hop began reflecting regional influences through its sounds – whether that meant E-40’s “mobb music” in the Bay Area; Bone Thugs N Harmony’s fast-paced chop (Memphis); or Outkast and UGK’s left-field rapping from Atlanta. By decade’s end, Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy empire ruled charts while No Limit labels such as No Limit took over production for New Orleans-based production and Mos Def and Talib Kweli became mainstream stars.

Public Enemy’s “911 Is A Joke” was an iconic hip hop track that focused on police inadequacies and racial bias in black communities. The song featured jazz samples as its soundbed, echoing producer DJ Premier and creating a trend in hip hop production; furthermore, its release catapulted Public Enemy into national prominence, cementing their spot among one of the biggest hip hop acts ever.

Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Big Pun were among the many artists who reached their zenith as gangsta MCs during the late ’90s; dominating club bangers and street bravado with club bangers like Club Banger. But New York-based Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep set out the standard for raw, gritty boom bap that helped propel hip hop onto mainstream culture and the global stage.

If you love 90s hip hop, don’t miss The Breaks on VH1 Monday February 20th + 9/8c! Tune in to witness how the decade transformed hip hop from simple beats and rhymes into global music phenomenon, and check out our playlist of the best of this era – sure to have you rapping along in no time.

5. Limp Bizkit – “Gin N Juice”

In the late ’90s, hip hop began breaking free of its traditional boom bap mould by exploring various new sounds and techniques. House of Pain’s “Jump Around” demonstrated their eclectic funk influences while “I’d Say It Again” by KRS-One showcased harmonica solos and acoustic guitar riffs not previously heard in hip hop tracks; KRS also used this song to speak out against systemic police brutality – an issue dominating headlines at that time.

Gang Starr’s “Mass Appeal” made an immediate and timeless impactful impact through innovative sampling. This track from their debut LP utilized this technique to craft an unrelenting yet catchy beat that combined a catchy melody with social commentary; its success led to similar tracks like “N.Y. State of Mind,” which utilized an Isley Brothers drum loop sampled from Biggie Smalls’ verses; as well as Juvenile’s 400 Degreez album’s second single, “Back That Azz Up”, which established Juvenile as lyrical masterminds.

Snoop Dogg’s signature g-funk anthem perfectly captured the West Coast hip hop lifestyle while remaining highly proficient lyrically, creating an instant classic which continues to be played whenever Philadelphia Eagles score touchdowns.

EPMD’s 1992 hit was emblematic of the early 1990s rap apocalypse: its melody featured an altered version of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Everyday People.” Though intended as a lighthearted parody of Black America at that time, its message highlighted how crucial integrating hip hop music into mainstream musical context was–something many artists would continue doing over time.