The 90s were, without a doubt, the best decade for hip-hop. Stars like Ice Cube and Dr Dre paved the way for the future of rap, and to this day, remain just as iconic as they were back then. Let’s take a look into the history of hip-hop, with ten of the best hip-hop tracks from the ‘90s. Prepare to be reminded about some amazing throwbacks…
Dr Dre Ft. Snoop Dogg, Nuthin But A ‘G’ Thang
Dr Dre was a significant artist for the hip-hop scene in the 1990s. Nuthin But A ‘G’ Thang is one of the most memorable tracks from The Chronic (released in 1992). Aside from being an excellent tune, this track is also remarkable because it features Snoop Dog. Known as Snoop Doggy Dog at the time, Nuthin But A ‘G’ Thang introduced him to the world (he released his own solo track a year later).
Snoop Dog, Gin & Juice
Speaking of Snoop Dog, it only felt right to feature his second ever single (that was nominated for a Grammy!). This Dr Dre production shone a light on the Snoop Dog we still recognize to this day; a man who loves weed, women and partying. The fact that Snoop Dog wasn’t afraid to show off his quirky personality from the get-go helped to shape him into the huge star he is today.
Ice Cube, It Was A Good Day
Ice Cube was the first rapper to leave NWA, the gangster rap group that started the hip-hop scene in the 80s. This group also featured the incredible Dr Dre.
After a few years of concurring and making some absolute magic, Ice Cube released a series of solo tracks that all rose to instant popularity. It Was A Good Day is our personal favorite from his 1992 album The Predator (one of the best rap albums!). It features a “standard” day in the life of the artist himself. In true hip-hop fashion, expect mentionings of smoking and women. There seems to be a theme going on here!
Warren G, Regulate
It didn’t take long for Regulate to become one of the most memorable songs in the history of hip-hop. Currently sitting at over 300 million listens on Spotify, it’s impossible to stay still when listening to this party tune. What’s most remarkable about this song is that it paved a new avenue for hip-hop; gangsta funk (g-funk)!
Salt-N-Pepa, Let’s Talk About Sex
We can guarantee that you’ll have this song’s tune in your head, just from reading the title! In our opinion, that’s when you know a song has done its job.
With Let’s Talk About Sex, Salt-N-Peppa took a different approach to standard hip-hop lyricism, taking a bold take on the importance of safe sex. This confident move, mixed with a catchy rhythm, set the track up for greatness. It’s still a well-known song to this very day.
Vanilla Ice, Ice Ice Baby
Similarly to Let’s Talk About Sex, Ice Ice Baby is another song that will never be forgotten. This novelty hit from Vanilla Ice takes the bass from the already-catchy song Under Pressure and uses even-catchier lyrics.
The remarkable thing about Ice Ice Baby is that it actually got a lot of hate when it was first released. Dedicated hip-hop lovers didn’t like the lighthearted approach Vanilla Ice took, claiming that it was turning the world of hip-hop into a joke. However, Vanilla Ice soon became the “talented jokester” of the industry, proving that his music and other serious performers could work alongside each other without issues.
The Notorious B.I.G, Juicy
We couldn’t go through this whole guide without mentioning one of the best rappers of all time, The Notorious B.I.G. Juicy can be found on Biggie’s debut, Ready To Die. This tune is one of the most distinctive on the records, showing Biggie’s amazing talents that are still greatly respected today.
Beastie Boys, Sabotage
Beastie Boys were another artist to go down a different hip-hop avenue, proving that the industry also works for heavier tracks. The Beastie Boys teamed together their amazing talents on instruments to create Sabotage, a memorable tune that still inspires hip-hop and darker artists to this day.
Digable Planets, Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
Digable Planets aren’t necessarily the biggest names in hip-hop, but they do have a handful of tunes that have garnered a whole lot of success. The giant hit Rebirth Of Slick has a heavy bass and catchy lyrics; it’s impossible not to tap your feet when listening to this. This song makes us feel super nostalgic and although we are back sitting in the 90s with our stereo!
House Of Pain, Jump Around
Last but not least, we have Jump Around by House Of Pain. Featuring a sample from Bob & Earl’s Harlem Shuffle, Jump Around is a song that’ll play at house parties for many more decades to come. This party tune is undoubtedly famous for its incredible chorus, but the talent will continue to unfold if you read between the lines.
We could easily add a hundred more songs to this guide; the 90s were a truly defining decade for hip-hop! It’s time to add these tracks to your playlist and turn them up loud, whether you’re headed on a road trip or sitting at work. There’s nothing more motivating and feel-good than hip-hop tunes.