For many music fans, the early to mid-‘90s is considered one of the most important eras for hip-hop. It gave birth to legendary artists like Jay-Z and Nas, who are still in the midst of illustrious careers two decades later. And of course, it was a time when fallen legends like The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Big Pun, and Big L reigned supreme. It was also a period when lyrics were king, and beats with innovative jazz, funk, and soul samples dominated the rap charts.
Looking back on this era now, there are a heavy handful records that have preserved their relevance. You might still hear Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones Pt. II” or Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck” during a throwback radio set, or in the mix at a club spinning ‘90s classics. Or you may see the video for Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice” during an MTV or FUSE countdown of ‘90s hip-hop clips.
But there are a slew of joints that were in rotation back then that have long since been forgotten about. Maybe it’s because the groups themselves were one-hit wonders, or didn’t make much of an impact on the culture when their albums dropped. Or maybe it’s because it has been twenty years since these songs were released, and with so much new music flooding our timelines, favorite blogs, and choice digital music outlets, they’ve simply slipped our minds.
Whatever the case, we felt the need to unearth some of our favorite forgotten rap singles of the ‘90s to give props where props are due. It’s a collection that ‘90s babies may not remember at all, and cultured ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s babies who’ve been following hip-hop forever will hopefully react to like, “Word, these jams were hype!” And it may be a bit of a learning experience for fans of age who didn’t dive as deep into the genre way back when. Check the resume.Click to start the list