1993 Project II: A Year Without Hip Hop

A conspicuous absence from my life in 1993: Hip Hop. There just wasn’t that much of it. There had been for a long time before, and just before, and there would be after, not too long after. But right then? Nope. I realized this going through a list of rap/hip hop albums released that year and noticing that I didn’t even recognize MOST of them, except for the most obvious ones. I know this is gonna make me lose credibility within certain circles. Can’t do anything about that.

So tthis NPR piece on Bay Area Hip Hop that year is interesting. I wonder what it was about the sounds, themes, imagery caused me, and the person I saw myself as at the time, to be disconnected from it?

The Many Sounds Of 1993 Bay Area Rap

This year marks the 20th anniversary of a remarkable year in music. Over the 12 months of 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah and more than a dozen other rap groups released albums that helped change the sound of America. In the late ’80s, a music industry focused on New York and Los Angeles was slow to see the San Francisco Bay Area’s rap potential. And so the music made there followed two rules: Do it yourself, and be yourself.

In 1993 in Oakland, Calif., Too Short was rhyming about having money in the ghetto, while The Coup rapped about the Communist Manifesto.

Instead of rap, there was lots of “alternative”, R&B, lots of House and club stuff, cheesy pop some I own up to, others I won’t admit to now and smatterings of Selena in the background cause I’d moved back home to San Antonio.


Actually that year hip hop wasn’t completely absent. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that its presence in my life that year was at a low point. But what was there was the good stuff. Like this:

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