The year marked the beginning of the second half of the “golden era,” when the genre’s greatest peaks and worst tragedies were just beyond the horizon.
Year two of the pandemic felt unsettled and chaotic, with a dearth of vital artists who dictated the culture. Despite it all, good rap music still exists.
Of all the years when rap music grew into a global movement – the golden age years – 1991 may be the most difficult to summarize.
The first full year of recorded rap music was marked by novelty 12-inches, rapping deejays, and one titanic 1979 smash that overshadowed them all.
In 1990, the hip-hop nation’s rising power forced it to reckon with the costs of reaching an audience that didn’t appreciate the nuances of Black culture.