Notorious BIG’s Ready to Die, Nas’s Illmatic, Scarface’s The Diary, Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuizk, Method Man’s Tical and Da Brat’s Funkadfied all have the same thing in common. They were released in the year 1994. Not only were these albums a breath of fresh air to the hip hop scene but they were all trendsetters. What made these albums so unique were that they were the artist debut albums. The marked they have left will forever be remembered.

1994 also introduce the world to possibly one of the greatest hip hop songs ever, I Used to Love Her by Common Sense off of his The Resurrection album. The songs of this year gave the hip hop fans chills. If you thought Common’s I Used to Love Her was a bit soft then just wait for the rugged edge of “NY State of Mind” by a Queenbridge rapper by the name of Nas. Some called him “Rakim the second” but as we all learn later on in his career Nas became his own man and just when that became edgy then we all slowed down to that southern flow of 2 boisterous individuals that would go by Outkast. In the words of Andre 3000, “The South got something to say” and boy did they speak. It was a time when the East Coast was being reintroduce and the South and the Midwest was being introduced. In 1993 the West coast had the hip hop industry in the palms of its hands. Snoop and Dre both released classic albums, The Chronic and Doggystyle and Suge Knights Death Row Records was the best label to be on. Not saying a change was needed but in the words of Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Going To Come.”

What separates the year 1994 from other years in hip hop besides the numerous classic albums but the “slept-on” albums and songs that were made. Albums that are not even mention but lyrically and beat wise it would destroy most of the music that is out right now in 2015. Albums such as Pete Rock and CL Smooth‘s The Main Ingredient, Gang Starr’s Hard To Earn, Lords of The Underground’s Keepers of The Funk and Fugee’s Blunted on Reality would change the way we listen to music now if they had come out in 2015. Album titles had a meaning and weren’t just quotes from a twitter page or something trending on social media but it grab your attention. Not saying today’s album titles are not thought out but the creativity in an album title now a days is a lazy way of just saying your album is coming.

Last but not least 2 of the most important ingredients to a hip hop a song were epic in 1994. Dope Lyrics and great beats. The feeling I as a hip hop fan got when I heard the beat to Gang Starrs “Mass Appeal” or even Ill and Al Scratch “Where My Homies” just don’t give me the same feeling as a French Montana or Meek Mills song.  Most lyrics should stand out and mean something besides shooting guns, slanging crack and calling females “thots”. OC’s 1994 classic “Times Up said it best, “My album will manifest many things that I did or heard about, all told first hand, never word or mouth” . 1994 we need you back. The feeling of hip hop just isn’t the same. The boom bap sound, the lyrics that stood for something and most of all the impact that sound had will never be replace. 1994: The Greatest Year in Hip Hop.

 

-Casey Seawright

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