1993 - A Year In Rap

1993 was a year which many consider the pinacle of the so called early 90s golden era. Sampling and production techniques honed during the early 90s had reached a natural maturity by 1993 with key golden era producers such as Pete Rock and the Beatnuts establishing their own trademark sounds. The East Coast also ushered in a new harder edged sound with Wu Tang Clan (pictured) and Onyx both delivering gritty debuts. On the West Coast, the ‘G Funk’ sound which found its feet the year prior delivered arguably its most accomplished album in the form of Snoop’s seminal LP, Doggy Style. 1993 was also a great year for emerging undergound acts carving out their own sound, Souls of Mischief being a notable example. 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:

- KRS-One, deciding on a change of approach, officially ‘retires’ the name Boogie Down Productions, subsequently releasing albums only as KRS-One.

- A loose collective of Staten Island MCs calling themselves the Wu-Tang Clan featuring former Cold Chillin’ artist The Genius release their first single, ‘Protect Ya Neck.’ It becomes an underground hit, making anticipation for the nine-man crew’s debut album extremely high. Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album, ‘Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers’ is released in November that year to critical acclaim but moderate sales. After the single, ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ is released, the album begins a steady climb up the charts, beginning a new age for hardcore, gritty East Coast hip-hop.

- 2Pac releases his second album, “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.” Almost as inflammatory as his debut, it also showcases a sensitive, thoughtful side to the rapper. The single, “Keep Ya Head Up” is especially praised as a love letter to Black women, and becomes his biggest hit to date.

- Run DMC make an unexpected return to the charts with their acclaimed comeback album, “Down With the King.”

- Sean “Puffy” Combs sets up his own label, Bad Boy Entertainment, running the label initially from his apartment. The company grows rapidly, and Combs soon signs two up-and-coming MCs, former EPMD roadie Craig Mack and a former drug dealer from Brooklyn named Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G.

- Dr. Dre protege Snoop Doggy Dogg releases his highly-anticipated solo debut, ‘DoggyStyle’ for Death Row Records. The album is a monstrous hit, becoming the first debut album to enter the Billboard chart at #1. Around the time of release, Snoop is implicated in the murder of a Long Beach man and is charged with second-degree murder. Surprisingly, this does nothing to slow his skyrocketing popularity.

- 2Pac is arrested on charges of assault and battery after he attacks director Allen Hughes on the set of the film “Menace II Society”.

- MC Lyte releases her first hardcore rap album in four years (after a brief foray into more pop-friendly territory). Her hit single, ‘Ruffneck,’ becomes the first rap single by a female artist to go gold and is nominated for a Grammy.

- Craig Mack’s ‘Funk Da World’ becomes the first album to be released by the fledgling Bad Boy Entertainment label. It eventually goes gold.

- Continuing their string of brilliant albums, A Tribe Called Quest releases ‘Midnight Marauders’, which spawns their biggest hit to date, the infectious single ‘Award Tour’.

- 2Pac is charged in the shooting of two off-duty police officers in Atlanta, GA. The charges would later be dismissed. He also lands a second high-profile film role, starring in John Singleton’s urban romance ‘Poetic Justice’. He follows that with yet another starring turn in the basketball drama ‘Above the Rim’.

- Queen Latifah releases the uplifting respect anthem, ‘U.N.I.T.Y.’, which wins a Grammy. Her third album, ‘Black Reign’, becomes the first gold album for a solo female MC.

- C. Deloris Tucker, Dionne Warwick, and several other high-profile moral activists call for a boycott against gangsta-rap artists such as 2Pac, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Doggy Dogg, citing the lyrics of much of their music to be violent and misogynistic.

- Salt-N-Pepa release their fourth album, ‘Very Necessary’. It goes on to become the best-selling rap album of all time by a female artist.

- After six years and four critically-acclaimed albums, (and jump-starting the career of close friend Redman) EPMD, one of underground rap’s most respected groups, announce that they are going their separate ways.

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