The Notorious B.I.G. was a one of a kind artist that had appeal greater than a majority of the emcees still in the game today. With the recent release of the Hollywood depiction of his life’s story and tragic ending, I was struck with an amazing sense of nostalgia.
The time period of Biggie Smalls, his friend and fellow emcee 2pac, and the ascension/fall of Bad Boy and Death Row Records brought about sooooo much more timeless hip hop and R&B. Between 1994 and 1997, there was a flurry of great new and young artists doing some great things.
I mean, look at the laundry list:
– 2 of the highest selling hip hop albums of all-time (both of which were DOUBLE albums) from Biggie and 2pac (Life After Death and All Eyez On Me)
– Wu-Tang’s monumental double CD and the release of virtually EVERY member’s debut solo album
– Mary J. Blige (in her prime and dropping her most amazing album to date) – My Life
– Groups like 112, Boyz II Men, Jodeci, and Dru Hill were lighting up the soul charts.
– TLC’s CrazySexyCool
– A Tribe Called Quest was still together.
– Prince changing his name to a symbol and then releasing a Triple CD
– Aaliyah’s debut album and first collaborations with Timbaland
– D’Angelo’s amazing debut album Brown Sugar
– R. Kelly’s Down Low epic saga that begins his love for soap opera epic songs
– The flash in the pan dominance of The Fugees with their epic album The Score
– The debut’s of Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, Usher, Eric Benet, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, and Maxwell just to name a few.
I’m sure there are more in there that I’m missing. Still, this era was filled with some of the most active and highest selling hip hop influenced music ever. But shortly after the deaths of 2pac and Biggie, it was like the music industry seemed to go stale. Soul and hip hop artists were few and far between as those of us who really loved good music were forced to seek out artists under the ‘neo-soul’ or ‘underground’ monikers.
It became so hard to find ‘new’ talent that would turn out to be lasting for years up until around the year 2000 or so. In that time gap, the music industry seemed to hover around the popular established artists who did manage to put out good music like Janet Jackson, R. Kelly, Mariah Carey, Erykah, Outkast, Maxwell, and even 2pac (even though his material released after his death was decent at best). Still, people ran out to buy it.
Oh well. All I know is that a hip hop or R&B playlist from that era could still turn a club upside down today!Powered by Sidelines