9 Moments '90s Hip-Hop Fans Won't Soon Forget

The decade that gave us the Golden Age of rap. Believe the hype!

1. ‘House Party’ Hits Theaters (1990)


Rap duo Kid 'n Play starred in one of hip-hop's earliest films, which helped ignite the Black movie boom of the 1990s. The flick also gave us one of the most epic dance-offs in motion picture history, and co-starred a who's who of talent, including Tisha Campbell, Martin Lawrence and Full Force.  

2. ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ Debuts (1990)


Will Smith traded humorous rhyming skills for a primetime sitcom lead, and from here, began his ascent to Hollywood's A-list — all while balancing a rap career (you still jam to "Summertime") and simultaneously introducing curious suburban kids to urban culture.

3. ‘VIBE’ Magazine Launches (1993)

Every movement needs its manifesto and VIBE was the publication of record during hip-hop's Golden Era, with in-depth articles that rivaled those of Rolling Stone. Still, anyone remember "20 Questions" and "This is an A/B Conversation?"

4. Snoop Dogg Releases ‘Doggystyle’ (1993)


Dr. Dre's The Chronic introduced the G-Funk sound that was perfected by the time he produced Snoop's debut album. Thirteen-year-olds everywhere felt badass buying copies and putting hits like "Gin and Juice" and "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)" on repeat.

5. Nas Drops ‘Illmatic’ (1994)


"It Ain't Hard to Tell" why Nas' debut was a must-have for hip-hop fans. Upon release, it became an instant classic and the Queens, N.Y., native was crowned as royalty for his deeply cynical yet surprisingly optimistic verses about growing up in the 'hood.

6. The Notorious B.I.G. Releases ‘Ready To Die’ (1994)


Biggie Smalls' debut presented a complex selfie of the doomed Brooklynite, framed with spitfire lyrics, a battle between paranoia and confidence, and radio-friendly and underground hip-hop-approved tracks still lauded critically today.

7. Mariah Carey Drops ‘Fantasy’ Remix Featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1995)


Pop's then-reigning princess ditched the good girl image and power ballads to hang with the Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard on this bass-heavy re-fix of Daydream's original cut.

8. Missy Elliott's Trippy 'The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)' Video (1997)


An otherworldly beat assisted a garbage bag-adorned Missy as she broke boundaries in this Hype Williams masterpiece. It may have raised a few eyebrows, but trendsetters will tell you they followed Missy's lead, even if they didn't quite know where she was taking them.

9. 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' Wins Big At The Grammys (1999)


Ms. Hill won one of the top honors on Music's Biggest Night in 1999, taking home trophies for Album of the Year and Best New Artist — two awards that, up to that time, had not been awarded to a hip-hop artist. Not only had the genre been recognized, it was here to stay.

Cover Image: YouTube/Atlantic Records