1990 – Classic Hip Hop Albums
1990 has to be one of the greatest years in Hip Hop. When you get Ice Cube’s “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, Geto Boys “Self Titled”, Digital Underground’s “Sex Packets”, and Public Enemy’s “Fear Of A Black Planet”…you know for a fact that Hip Hop had become universal. California brought us the “gangsta rhymes/funk influenced” tracks, New York brought us the “Conscious Rap” and Texas was bringing us the “ward” tales of survival. With so much originality, there was no doubt we were going to get some major new “flavors” in Hip Hop. Brand Nubian’s “All For One” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “People’s Instinctive Travels” were so unique that Hip Hop heads couldn’t even grasp it and called it “wack”. As time flew by, that was definitely not the case. What the Hip Hop world was fiending on was westcoast-gangsta tracks as evident with CPO’s first LP along with Above The Law’s “Living Like Hustlers”. Also in that mix was Ice Cube’s “Kill At Will” EP, NWA’s “100 Miles and Running” EP, as well as CMW’s “It’s a Compton Thang”. Kool G Rap dropped his 2nd studio album, Rakim’s, EPMD’s and Big Daddy Kane’s third, LL Cool J’s and BDP’s forth, and Run DMC’s fifth album. So the golden age mc’s where representing in a big way!
If you ask me what were the Top 5 albums that dropped that year, it would not be easy but, I will give it a try. First, I would eliminate all EP’s. Secondly, as dope as they were, CPO, Audio Two, Salt N Pepa, PRT and Poison Clan did not bang as much as the other albums from veteran groups/mcs! In no particular order:
Ice Cube “Amerikkkas Most Wanted”
Brand Nubian “All For One”
Geto Boys “Self Titled”
EPMD “Business As Usual”
LL Cool J “Mama Said Knock You Out”
Why not Public Enemy, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane? Because those albums were not their best LPs. PE had “Nations”, Rakim “Paid In Full” and BDK “Long Live The Kane”. On all 5 selections I did not have to skip a single track and beyond that, I would still take them off the shelf to play that cd today. If I had to pick the best of all 5, Ice Cube would get the vote. It had westcoast rhymes with eastcoast beats. A perfect mixture of both coasts thanks to Hank Shocklee and the Bomb Squad. It had ghetto stories, sex rhymes and political and social commentary. A complete album from start to finish. (Brand Nubian comes a close second with the most original material of all 5 albums) 1990 has to be one of the greatest years for Hip Hop and is truly part of the “golden age” era.