It's Time To Let Go Of The '90s

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No one knows when the pandemic first struck. But at some point, every hip-hop head caught the Nineties Adoration Syndrome (N.A.S.). N.A.S. is characterized by intense feelings of nostalgia, hostility toward modern music, and an affinity for chest-high acid-washed jeans.

In severe cases, N.A.S. has been known to cause the deletion of genes responsible for forming new-music appreciation, causing vicms to start every statement with "Back in the day..."

2010 in particular saw a rise in hip-hop songs and albums heralding the so-called "golden era." Rapper Termanology and producer Statik Selektah joined forces to peddle "real hip-hop" on their collaborative disc, 1982. While 1982 was actually named after their year of birth, it was a musical nod to the songs they heard as kids in the '90s.

Buckwild and Celph Titled took it a step further by dusting off leftover beats from years of yore on their own tribute disc, Nineteen Ninety Now. Both albums were thoroughly enjoyable and widely embraced by Generation Backpack.

Why do hip-hop fans get such a hard-on for the '90s? The logical explanation is that today's fans have heard so much about that era that they've become conditioned to only associating it with greatness.

The further removed the "Golden Era" is from our memory the more we're likely to view it through the cloudy lens of perfection. Also, by embracing the '90s, we're simultaneously rejecting the vapid, marshmallow junk rapidly churning off the music-industry assembly line.

And, frankly, as an '80s baby, we can confirm that '90s hip-hop was all that and a bag of Keebler Chachos. That probably explains why today's artists strive for yesterday's magic. The aforementioned Nineteen Ninety Now was largely enjoyable and even wound up on many critics' year-end lists, including this writer's.

Generally, music boils down to taste. Taste is why some people love the trashy ways of Ke(dollar sign)ha and others prefer the soulful wail of Amy Winehouse. It's the same reason some favor chocolate pocky over the yummy goodness of almond-crush pocky.

People like what they like, and there's nothing wrong with that. But few things in life are deserving of blind adulation. '90s hip-hop isn't one of them.

While '90s artists were mostly original in their approach, they weren't always as great as we make them out to be. After all, the same era that gave us icons like De La Soul and Ice Cube also produced lullaby MCs like Vanilla Ice and Blinky Blink. Pop music was even more embarrassing. Do you really miss the Backstreet Boys and Hanson?

It's 2011, and we're awakening to a new era. It's time to give the nostalgic beats a rest. Well, unless your name is Pete Rock, then by all means, keep the dusty beats coming.

It's time to look forward, people. Stop whining about how there's no good hip-hop around anymore. Sure, there's a plethora of new rappers that have no business being near a mike unless they intend to strangle themselves with the cord.

But there's also a ton of insanely innovative, criminally underrated MCs out there pushing the culture forward. When you clog up your nostrils with the same ol' stuff, you miss the breath of fresh air right under your nose. If you're suffering from N.A.S., it's time to wake up and smell the promise of a new era.

Happy New Year.


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5 comments
crtnymb
crtnymb

Wow, y'all just proved the point of this article already... He's not hitting out at the music itself, he's just saying that we've become too attached to the past without even bothering to actively search for music that doesn't make us cringe (which oftentimes requires us to go underground). Now, it's not necessarily a bad thing to revisit those old memories, but clinging to the past without acknowledging anything beyond what is familiar to you or what apppeals to your tastes becomes detrimental in the long run. Real music is not dead-- it's just considerably harder to find nowadays.

Guest
Guest

People really need to let the 90s go, and it's not just rap, it's everything nowadays. People are so stuck on their childhoods man.

LongMethodsInfinite
LongMethodsInfinite

You've got it wrong my friend. The reason that people are stuck on the nineties is because it was an era of soulful hip hop. It represents the streets, and it represents the urban culture. The lyrics of the 90's hip hop era were full of meaning and deep substance. Okay, go ahead and bring up MC's like Vanilla Ice, but I'll bring up MC's of today such as Gucci Mane, Flaka, Paul Wall, Lil John, and numerous other artists that have brought absolutely nothing to the hip hop cause. Albums like Nineteen Ninety now are just paying homage to what was great. We suffering from "N.A.S" don't just listen to hip hop of the 90's, we listen to new shit too, but just none of the stuff that's main stream, because it's dirt. . Let people appreciate what they want to appreciate, also go ahead and name five MC's of today that are pushing society forward. I'll take the diagnosis of "N.A.S" because it spells Nas, and that single name delivers more than any other hip hop artist of today.

wha
wha

The author of this article is a very sad, ignorant individual. Please stop writing, you are harming our society.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Watch this interview with Tupac in its entirety, and go listen to his music, and with your weak mind and soul, please try to understand the cause he stood for and put his heart and soul into. Don't get it twisted son, Hip-Hop (and most "popular music" of the 20th Century) was produced from the bottom castes of society. Hip-Hop by its very nature is revolutionary.

The commercialization and integration of Hip-Hop music into the mainstream effectively killed the chance for rappers to have the cultural impact that they could have had. You think the industry wants someone like Tupac to spit that political and philosophical shit on a mic? No, they'd prefer to go safe with today's artists who promote the opposite of what all the great black leaders of prior generations stood for. Kanye's album is off the hook musically and i fuck with it alot, but at the end of the day his dumb bravado is harmless compared to what rappers like Tupac and Nas have stood for. They dont want to encourage a culture that might spawn another icon like Tupac or Muhammad Ali.

Kanye sampled Gil-Scott Heron at the end of his album. And i know the author of this article cant even begin to wrap his small mind around what Gil-Scott Heron is all about.

Black culture has been corporatized, neutered, and rendered inconsequential. They love it that rappers dont speak on what is real and what is going on in the world. It is ironic that Rizoh's point is basically legitimate and one i would fully agree with under a different context, but his basis for it is astoundingly misled and its sad to read.

It is no wonder that blacks don't produce people of great caliber anymore. People like the author of this article have been mentally crippled. Lies and truth, beauty and ugliness have been switched around, and the fool cant even notice.

Jamie
Jamie

Sorry, but I'll take EPMD over Kanye any day.

Give me Brand Nubian. You can have Eminem.

Drake? Nah, I'll take Gang Starr.

Every time Lil Wayne says he's the "greatest rapper alive", I get sad. Because that means Rakim is dead.

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