The Hip-Hop of Your Generation Wasn’t Better, People Just Forgot About the Bad Releases
Every generation is nostalgic, usually accompanied by the feeling that the art produced by subsequent generations pales in comparison. My parents thought that the music I was listening to was garbage, and their parents thought the same about the music they listened to, and so on and so forth.
But is this true? Of course not. It only seems that way because the only music that survives the previous generation is the dope stuff. All of the garbage releases are forgotten about, as they should be.
I grew up in what is called the “Golden Era” of hip-hop, so I have a deep emotional attachment to the artists and the music released during that time period. But I started to take a closer look at the truthfulness of my criticisms against present-day hip hop artists.
We Golden Era babies like to think of that time period as being overflowing with the most intellectual lyrics delivered by the most skillful emcees the genre has ever produced. This is somewhat true, but some of the less revered artists in hip-hop—2 Live Crew, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Tone Loc, and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, just to name a few—sold millions during this era.
What’s more, even the most iconic artists—LL Cool J, Eric B and Rakim, Public Enemy and KRS One— released albums that were equally as lackluster as their classic work was incredible. The former faded away into distant memory.
None of this is to throw shade; it’s only to put things in perspective. Our memories sometimes create highlight reels of the things we care most about, while the bloopers end up on the cutting room floor. Maybe it’s human nature. I’m just saying, in doing so, we don’t have to tear down a new generation that decides to take what’s been built before them, re-interpret it, and make it their own. I mean, that’s kinda what hip-hop is all about, right?
Here’s a short list of some of the worst albums released during the Golden Era, in no particular order (mostly from artists with high expectations, with the exception of Vanilla Ice):
- 1.To the Extreme, Vanilla Ice (1990) The biggest hit of this album was “Ice Ice Baby,” and it reached #1 on the Billboard chart. Don’t let anyone fool you; white suburbia wasn’t the only ones rockin’ out to Mr. Ice.
- 2.Back from Hell , Run D.M.C. (1990) “Pause” was the first single off this joint. I think the dynamic duo was trying to catch to the wave of what was happening in the mainstream but it was a definite miss. What can I say? It happens to the best of them.
- 3.Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age, Public Enemy (1994) This was when PE hit a slump, in my opinion.
- 4. Sex and Violence, KRS One (1992) Lots of quality lyrical content, but no head bangers.
- 5.Walking With The Panther, LL Cool J (1989) This was one of the dopest years for hip-hop releases. Unfortunately, not for LL.