Let’s be clear: This is the Official list.
The Criteria; Cultural Impact, Musical Impact/Output, Span (of Years).
2Pac. Snoop Dogg. Q-Tip. Ice Cube.
2Pac (Tupac) starred in Juice in ’92, Poetic Justice in ’93 and Above The Rim in ’94. He could have been here from movies, alone. Not to mention 3 albums, one of which was the arguable classic Me Against The World, spawning the mid-90’s defining “Dear Mama“.
Snoop Dogg(y Dogg) had THEE most impactful debut album we’d ever seen (Doggystyle) and penned a good portion of Dr. Dre‘s classic debut, The Chronic. Snoop helped usher in The Lady of R.A.G.E, who does the album’s intro and Tha Dogg Pound. He also began this run with the ridiculous “Deep Cover” verse that would be remixed by rappers far and wide for years to come.
Q-Tip, along with A Tribe Called Quest pushed out 3 albums that are universal classics, or debatable’s, from 1990-1993. He gave us Busta Rhymes, the solo artist. Kamal shaped the sound of ‘The Infamous…‘, Mobb Deep‘s breakout sophomore LP, literally showing the now-legendary Havoc “the ropes”. Tip also gave Nas possibly his biggest single from Illmatic, “One Love“.
Ice Cube went on a f*cking KILLING SPREE, following his N.W.A split! Cube dropped Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, Death Certificate, The Predator, and Lethal Injection all from ’90 to ’93. He also starred in the John Singleton directorial debut, 1991’s Boyz N The Hood. He ends this time period by producing, writing (with DJ Pooh) and starring in the “95 classic, Friday.
The Notorious B.I.G dropped the instant-classic, Ready To Die, and had one of the best feature sprees we’ve ever seen. Ultimately, B.I. didn’t make the list because it was TIGHT and he didn’t have enough ammo. He wouldn’t drop Life After Death until 2 years after this time period.
Nas, the Golden Child, featured and stole the show on Main Source‘s 1991 “Live At The Barbeque” and MC Serch‘s “Back To The Grill” in 1992. Eventually, Nasty dropped the Rap Bible, Illmatic, his debut album featuring a roster of the hottest producers at the time. Outside of a few more features, one being “Verbal Intercourse” from Raekwon‘s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Nas was quiet-ish. Not enough firepower to take a top 4 spot. I know, blasphemy.
Method Man blazed a way for Wu-Tang Clan to come through and also was the ONLY feature on B.I.G’s Ready To Die album. Method Man also featured on quite a few popular records like S.W.V‘s “Anything (Ol Skool Version)”, proving his heavyweight status in Hip-Hop. Unfortunately, his 1994 debut album Tical didn’t live up to expectations, receiving mixed reviews from heads and critics, alike.
Dr. Dre, Treach…
Stayed Tuned For ’95-2000…
G-HOLY, Yasin Toure’, Peyton Tenison & Boshko Maric for G-HOLY.COM, 2021.