The 90s was an era of rap music that produced some of the most iconic and influential songs in the genre’s history. From the east coast to the west coast, the 90s rap scene was filled with a diverse array of artists who pushed the boundaries of what rap music could be. From classics like Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy” to Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice,” the 90s gave us some of the most memorable and beloved rap songs of all time.
In this article, we will take a look at the top 90s rap songs and examine how they shaped the genre and continue to influence hip-hop today.
90s rap music overview
90s rap music was a major influence in the development of hip-hop culture. It was a time of great innovation and creativity, with many of the most iconic rap songs and artists emerging during this period. The early 90s saw the emergence of the East Coast rap scene, with artists like Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., and Wu-Tang Clan leading the way.
West Coast rap was also popular, with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur becoming some of the biggest names in the genre. The 90s also saw the rise of gangsta rap, with artists like Ice Cube, N.W.A., and Cypress Hill creating a new and controversial sound. The 90s also saw the emergence of alternative rap, with artists like A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, and Outkast creating a sound that was both innovative and groundbreaking.
Impact on the industry
90s rap music helped to shape the genre today by introducing a variety of new sounds, styles, and topics to the genre. The lyrical content of 90s rap often focused on topics like crime, poverty, and social injustice, which has influenced much of the rap music we hear today. Additionally, the production styles of the 90s also helped to shape the sound of modern rap, with the use of sampling, drum machines, and synthesizers becoming commonplace in the genre.
Our top picks:
“Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dogg
“Gin and Juice” is a song by the American rapper Snoop Dogg. It was released on December 10, 1993, as the lead single from his debut studio album Doggystyle. The song was produced by Dr. Dre and features a sample from the 1973 song “I Wanna Do Something Freaky to You” by Leon Haywood.
The song is about a party lifestyle and the pursuit of pleasure. The lyrics depict a typical day in the life of Snoop Dogg and his friends, including drinking gin and juice, smoking marijuana, and going to the club. The song became an instant hit, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming one of Snoop Dogg’s signature songs.
The song has become a cultural phenomenon, with its catchy beat and memorable lyrics. It has been covered by numerous artists and has been featured in numerous films, TV shows, and video games. It has also been used in various commercials and has been referenced in countless other songs.
“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
“The Message” is a classic hip-hop song released in 1982 by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential hip-hop songs of all time. The song is renowned for its powerful lyrics and its hard-hitting beats.
The song is a commentary on the struggles of inner-city life in the 1980s, with the lyrics depicting the harsh realities of poverty, crime, and violence. It was one of the first rap songs to address social issues in a realistic way, and its influence can still be felt in hip-hop today.
The song is also known for its innovative sampling techniques, which helped to shape the sound of hip-hop in the early days. The song’s use of samples from other songs helped to create a unique sound that was both groundbreaking and influential.
“The Message” is an important part of hip-hop history, and its influence can still be felt in modern hip-hop. It is a timeless classic that has stood the test of time, and it is still loved by fans around the world.
“Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg
“Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” is a classic hip-hop song by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg. It was released on Dr. Dre’s debut solo album The Chronic in 1992. The song is a celebration of West Coast gangsta rap and the G-Funk style of hip hop that Dre pioneered. The song’s beat is sampled from Leon Haywood’s 1975 single “I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You”.
The song is beloved for its laid-back, funky vibe and its clever lyrics. It is considered one of the most influential hip-hop songs of all time and has been sampled and covered by numerous artists. It is also credited with launching Snoop Dogg’s career and helping to popularize the G-Funk style of hip hop.
“Big Poppa” by Notorious B.I.G.
“Big Poppa” is a classic hip-hop track by Notorious B.I.G. released in 1995. The song is a braggadocious ode to the good life, with Biggie celebrating his success and boasting about his wealth and status. The track is produced by Puff Daddy and features a sample of the Isley Brothers’ “Between the Sheets”. The song was a huge success, peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming one of the most iconic hip-hop songs of all time.
What makes “Big Poppa” so good is its catchy hook and infectious beat. The beat is laid-back and soulful, and the sample of the Isley Brothers adds a classic feel to the track. Biggie’s rhymes are smooth and clever, and his braggadocious lyrics are both humorous and inspiring. The track also features an iconic sample of the late Tupac Shakur, adding another layer of complexity to the track. All in all, “Big Poppa” is an iconic hip-hop track that has stood the test of time and is still beloved by fans of the genre.
“Regulate” by Warren G feat. Nate Dogg
“Regulate” is a song by American rapper Warren G, featuring singer Nate Dogg. It was released in June 1994 as the first single from Warren G’s debut studio album, Regulate… G Funk Era. The song samples singer Michael McDonald’s hit single “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)”, as well as the drum break from The Winstons’ 1969 song “Amen, Brother”.
The song became a massive success, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number one on both the Hot Rap Singles and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks charts. It is considered one of the most popular rap songs of the 1990s and is credited with helping to popularize West Coast G-funk. The song was certified platinum by the RIAA in 1995.
These are just a few of the top 90s rap songs that still stand the test of time today. From Dr. Dre to The Notorious B.I.G., the 90s saw some of the most iconic and influential rap artists take the stage and make their mark on the genre.