provided by:

Hip-Hop's Golden Year

Recent Hip-Hop's Golden Year

David Jude Jolicoeur aka Trugoy (from left), Vincent Mason aka P.A. Mase and Kelvin Mercer aka Posdnuos pose for a portrait outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem in September 1993.

December 30, 2013 De La's slow-burning third album challenged an industry obsessed with making hip-hop mainstream.


Onyx in an undated photo. From left to right, Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr, Suave and Big DS.

October 17, 2013 In 1993 Onyx's raucous single became a hit at MTV and pop radio, signaling a media change of heart.


Tupac Shakur on the set of Poetic Justice.

July 19, 2013 In January of 1993, Shakur was 21 years old and about to drop his contradictory second album.


The cover of Biz Markie's All Samples Cleared.

May 6, 2013 After Biz lost a legal battle over sampling, the mere existence of All Samples Cleared! was a win.

Boots Riley, in the opening of The Coup's video for "Not Yet Free."

April 17, 2013 Writer Kiese Laymon swore that hip-hop would never be the same after The Coup's "Not Yet Free."

The Wu-Tang Clan. Clockwise from left: Ol' Dirty Bastard, the GZA, the RZA, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. Center, from left, Method Man and U-God.

April 8, 2013 The group's 1993 debut was the opening shot of a plan to open up the rap music industry.


A still from the video for E-40's 1993 song "Practice Looking Hard," in which rappers like The Coup's Boots Riley (second from right) and Tupac (not pictured) also appeared.

March 28, 2013 Overlooked by the industry, Bay Area rappers followed two rules: Do it yourself, and be yourself.


The Pharcyde (from left to right, Tre "SlimKid3" Hardson, Romye Robinson, Emandu "Imani" Wilcox and Derrick "Fatlip" Stewart) backstage at KMEL's Summer Jam in July 1993 in Mountain View, Calif.

February 6, 2013 In November of 1992 the unruly, exuberant quartet loosed their debut album upon the world.

Dr. Dre (right) with Snoop Dogg, who played a starring role on Dre's The Chronic. Here they pose after a 1993 performance in Chicago.

January 22, 2013 Our series about rap's greatest year begins with Dr. Dre's solo debut.


NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Podcast + RSS Feeds

Podcast RSS

  • Music
  • Hip-Hop's Golden Year