The year 1996 was a big one for Hip-Hop.
On a positive note, Dr. Dre left Death Row Records, Snoop Dogg was acquitted of murder, and the Best Rap Album category was introduced at the Grammy Awards.
On the flip side though, Tupac Shakur was killed in Las Vegas, MC Hammer filed for bankruptcy, and House of Pain disbanded.
And those are just some of the notable events, there was a lot happening at the time.
In hindsight, it was nearing the end of rap’s second golden era. And the genre would really flourish economically in the late 90’s with higher record sales, expensive Hype Williams music videos, Cash Money’s deal with Universal, the “No Way Out” and “Hard Knock Life” tours.
The material from this time period also helped convince skeptics that Hip-Hop was worth putting major dollars into in the near future.
The plausible persuasion for all this started with the music. It all comes back to the music.
If it weren’t for artists consistently putting out quality records, Hip-Hop culture wouldn’t have acquired more resources to continue to grow.
Here are 10 albums from 20 years ago that not only helped get Hip-Hop a major boost just before the new millennium, but also still serve as a barometer of excellence that new music today is sometimes evaluated against.
Check it out!