Hip Hop Dance Music of the 1990s

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the hip hop dance music of the 1990s and how it evolved from the music of the 1980s.


The 1990s was a golden era for hip hop music. It was a time when the genre was truly coming into its own, and artists were experimenting with new sounds and styles. This decade saw the rise of some of the biggest names in hip hop, including Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., and Snoop Dogg. But it was also a time when lesser-known artists were making their mark on the genre, with innovative new sounds and fresh perspectives.

Here are just a few of the hip hop tracks that defined the 1990s:

Tupac – “California Love”
Notorious B.I.G. – “Juicy”
Snoop Dogg – “Gin & Juice”
Dr. Dre – “Nothin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”
Warren G & Nate Dogg – “Regulate”
Wu-Tang Clan – “C.R.E.A.M.”
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony – “Tha Crossroads”
Outkast – “Ms. Jackson”

The 1990s Hip Hop Scene

The 1990s was a golden age for hip hop music. It was a time when the genre was truly coming into its own, with artists pushing the boundaries of what was possible. From the gangsta rap of the West Coast to the conscious rap of the East Coast, there was something for everyone in the 1990s hip hop scene.

The Golden Age of Hip Hop

The golden age of Hip Hop is often cited as occurring between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s. This was a time when Hip Hop was fresh, new and exciting, and when the genre was really starting to find its feet. The golden age is often seen as a time of innovation, when many of the elements that we now associate with Hip Hop were first established. This was also a time when Hip Hop began to spread out from its New York City roots and become a truly national phenomenon.

The East Coast-West Coast Rivalry

The 1990s was a decade of intense rivalry between the East Coast and West Coast hip hop scenes. The competition between the two coasts was both friendly and fierce, with each side striving to outdo the other in terms of creative output and commercial success. The rivalry came to a head in the mid-1990s, when the killing of Tupac Shakur by unknown assailants stoked tensions between the two camps. The situation ultimately boiled over into a full-fledged feud, with each side accusing the other of various crimes and misdemeanors. The feud came to an end with the murders of both Tupac and Notorious B.I.G., but not before it had left a permanent mark on the hip hop landscape.

The Music of the 1990s

The 1990s was a decade of great change in the music industry. Hip hop dance music became popular in the early 1990s, and it quickly spread around the world. The 1990s was also a decade of great innovation in music production, with the development of new technologies that enabled producers to create new sounds.

Gangsta Rap

Gangsta rap is a subgenre of hip hop that typically features themes of crime, violence and poverty. Gangsta rap began in the mid-1980s in the south side of Los Angeles, with artists such as N.W.A. and Ice-T. The genre gained mainstream popularity in the early 1990s with artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G..


G-funk, also known as gangsta funk or G-funk, is a subgenre of hip hop music that emerged in the early 1990s in the West Coast gangsta rap scene. It is characterized by a distinctive style of rap music that includes elements of Funk and R&B.

G-funk was pioneered by artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Warren G. It became mainstream in the mid-1990s with the release of Dr. Dre’s landmark album The Chronic, which featured hits such as “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” and “Dre Day”.

In the 2000s, G-funk began to decline in popularity as other subgenres such as crunk and hyphy emerged. However, it has experienced something of a resurgence in recent years with the popularity of trap music.

Conscious Rap

Conscious rap is a subgenre of hip hop music that developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Its lyrics are focused on topics such as Afrocentrism, religion, political consciousness, and social issues. Conscious rap differs from other subgenres of hip hop, such as gangsta rap and West Coast hip hop, in that it is not defined by any particular region or sound. Rather, it is defined by its lyrics and its focus on socially conscious themes.

One of the earliest pioneers of conscious rap was rapper KRS-One, who released his debut album, Criminal Minded, in 1987. The album was notable for its focus on inner-city crime and violence, as well as for its streetwise attitude and hardcore style. Criminal Minded helped to lay the foundation for the popularity of gangsta rap in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, it was also criticized by some for its glorification of violence.

In 1992, rapper Ice Cube released the album The Predator, which contained the song “The Day The Niggas Took Over”. The song was a response to the Rodney King verdict and the resulting riots in Los Angeles. It was seen as a call to arms for African Americans to unite against racism and injustice.

Other notable conscious rappers include Nas, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Dead Prez, and Kendrick Lamar.

The Legacy of 1990s Hip Hop

The 1990s was a golden era for hip hop music. It was a time when the genre was truly coming into its own, and artists were experimenting with sounds and styles that would shape the future of hip hop. The 1990s was also a time when hip hop was becoming more mainstream, and its influence was being felt in other areas of popular culture.

The Influence of Hip Hop on Pop Culture

The 1990s saw the rise of hip hop as a dominant force in popular culture. Hip hop music and dance became mainstream, and the genre’s influence can still be seen today. The distinctive style of 1990s hip hop was characterized by its use of samples, turntablism, and rhyming lyrics. This sound was popularized by artists like Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur, and The Notorious B.I.G., who helped to make hip hop one of the most popular genres of music in the world.

The 1990s also saw the rise of youth culture, with hip hop music and fashion becoming increasingly popular among young people. This was partly due to the increased visibility of rappers and other hip hop celebrities, who were often seen as role models by young people. Hip hop fashion trends like baggy jeans and tracksuits also became popular among young people in the 1990s.

Today, hip hop continues to be a hugely popular genre of music, with artists like Kendrick Lamar and Drake topping the charts. The influence of 1990s hip hop can still be seen in many aspects of pop culture, from fashion to film and television.

The Impact of Hip Hop on the Music Industry

In the early 1990s, a new style of music was born. This style was called hip hop. Hip hop music was created by African American and Latino Americans in the Bronx, New York City. This new type of music quickly spread to other parts of the United States and then to other parts of the world. The impact of hip hop on the music industry has been huge.

In the early days of hip hop, the music was not taken seriously by the mainstream music industry. Hip hop artists were often seen as people who were not talented enough to be able to write real songs or play real instruments. However, this all changed in the late 1980s when a group called N.W.A released their album Straight Outta Compton. This album contained lyrics that were very explicit and talked about topics such as violence, drugs, and sex. The album was a huge success and it opened up the door for other hip hop artists to have success in the mainstream music industry.

Today, hip hop is one of the most popular genres of music in the world. It has influenced other genres of music such as pop and rock. It has also had an impact on fashion, language, and culture. The impact of hip hop on society has been huge and it is truly one of the most important musical genres of our time.

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