Written by LaZedrick Blackshire | @blusatire
Music is timeless, yet certain eras presented an iconic vibe. Music tells a story! Music resonates with your emotions! When it comes which era was the best, I think a majority will say the 90’s was King. The Motown era was cool, and 80’s had a carefree vibe, but the 90’s were a non-stop House party. We constantly hear people say hip-hop is dead and R&B ain’t like it use to be and I feel that was because of the 90’s era. In my opinion, this was the best time for music! Even today, people want to hop in The DeLorean and take a trip down memory lane. Why is that? Why can’t we leave the 90’s where they are? Here are a few reasons why I believe the 90’s still has a major influence on music.
Hip Hop and R&B reigned supreme. You will never stop hearing the argument that it hit a golden age at this time. R&B in the 90’s made love cool. Yes, love songs were cool before then…. but the 90’s made love songs sexy with an edge, while still keeping it tasteful (Most of the time). Jodeci, Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Dru Hill, R. Kelly, Bobby Brown, Mary J, Xscape, etc. The list is really too extensive. There was a song for every situation when it came to R&B.
Rap was solidified as a force in music. People didn’t take rap serious until rap Got Serious: from Gangsta rap, to conscious hip-hop, to g-funk. Groups like NWA spoke on street struggles and problems in the black community with a no-prisoners attitude and that resonated with many people. Who could forget the east coast vs. west coast beef that had the world watching like a movie; the flawless flows of Biggie, to the relatable and poetic raps from Tupac. From Jay-Z, Nas, UGK, OutKast, Snoop, Dre, DMX, and others, your favorite rapper probably started in the 90’s. Remember when I said the 90’s was a party? Well, Kid n Play, Will Smith, and Uncle Luke had the Kickbacks, BBQs, and parties jumping! Just like R&B, rap took from previous generations using sampling, which gave it a classic and nostalgic vibe while creating something new. R&B and Hip-Hop were so loved because, back then, it was so much harder to “get on”, allowing for more QUALITY music on the radio.
Now, we’d we lying if we said we ONLY listened to just Hip-hop and R&B. Pop music was also at its best. Michael Jackson and Madonna still had the charts on fire. The age of the Boy Band was in full swing. Spice Girls, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees and more had a nice run with fun pop tunes. Christina Aguilera, Brittany Spears, and more showed their soul influenced vibes as well. Nirvana played to all the misunderstood people, while Wheezer, Green Day, and other rock/soft rock and punk rock bands hopped on the scene. I believe 90’s music was enjoyed across all genres more than it is today due to the variety of audiences that it was able to cover.
When hip-hop exploded, everyone wanted to capitalize on it. Some did it better than others. Most TV shows had a catchy theme song to complement it, especially the black shows. We loved the theme songs as much as the shows we watched. Favorites like Moesha, Martin, Sister Sister, Smart Guy, and All That often had episodes engrained with music as well as a popular artist guest appearance. Then there are the movies! A Goofy Movie is loved for its music and the inclusion of Tevin Campbell. The Soul Food soundtrack is a favorite of many. Movies like Juice, Boyz in the Hood, Above the Rim, Belly, House Party, and others either were about music or had a heavy influence and presence of Hip-Hop in it.
Nostalgia is the big thing right now. With times changing, many people want that feel good vibe again. The economy was booming, technology was advancing, and people were having fun. Artist like Bruno Mars and others are catering to the sound people want to hear. Love seemed less like a foreign concept because the artist then made it sound fun and worth it, while artist these days can sometimes be very pessimistic on the subject. The Music (more often than not) was more optimistic about every situation and everyone was focused on having fun, loving, kicking it and all the gangbangers forgot about the drive-by. The 90’s were so carefree. The carefree feeling just doesn’t feel the same these days. Everything was colorful and energetic and that was present in the music as well. The 90’s were all about energy. I hope the 90’s will forever be relevant, because like a lot of people right now, I am a fan of all things nostalgic!