1992 was a year notable for shifts in production techniques and styles and perhaps more importantly sampling trends. Abandoning over-saturated funk standards in favour of obscure jazz samples, producers such Showbiz, Diamond D, Q Tip and many others besides laid the foundations for the laid back jazz led sound that characterised countless East Coast classics of the early to mid 90s. On the West Coast, Dr Dre’s seminal Chronic LP also broke new ground in terms of production style with a polished classicly LA sound that formed the blueprint for the ‘G Funk’ sound which ruled supreme throughout the early 90s. Below is a snapshot of some of the year’s key events, produced this time with the assistance of Dream Door’s hip hop timeline:
- 2Pac Shakur, former roadie, dancer, and second-string MC for Digital Underground, releases his debut album, ‘2Pacalypse Now’. It immediately incites controversy for it’s content, particular lyrics regarding police officers. Vice President Dan Quayle even calls for a ban of the album during his campaign for re-election. Shakur’s visibility is also raised by a star-making performance in the gritty urban drama ‘Juice’.
- Body Count, Ice-T’s new rap-metal band, release their debut album. The song ‘Cop Killa’ ignites a firestorm of controversy. After nationwide protests from law enforcement officials, Time-Warner pressures Ice-T to pull the song from the album and eventually sells it’s share of Interscope Records, the distributor.
- With “Paul’s Boutique” having obtained cult-classic status in the years following its release, the Beastie Boys (pictured above) release their third album, ‘Check Your Head’. It becomes a smash hit debuting in the Top Ten and returning the Boys to the charts for the first time since their debut album, although with a much different sound.
- After producing a successful album for R&B singer Mary J. Blige and remixing several other hits for artists including Jodeci and Heavy D, Sean “Puffy” Combs is fired from Uptown after a dispute with label head Andre Harrell.
- Eric B. & Rakim release their fourth album, ‘Don’t Sweat the Technique’. The album is critically acclaimed, but the duo split almost immediately after its release. Eric B continues to produce for other rappers, (with mixed results), while Rakim, arguably the most celebrated MC in rap at this point in time goes into seclusion.
- After the acquittal of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, South Central Los Angeles erupts in violent street riots. After the two-day mayhem, rappers including Ice-T and Chuck D of Public Enemy are called upon to provide insight.
- Dr. Dre and Suge Knight form a partnership and create Death Row Records. Their first project is a song for the soundtrack to a police drama called ‘Deep Cover’. The song features a previously unheard young rapper from Long Beach named Snoop Doggy Dogg.