In 1991, A Tribe Called Quest continued to make music on the
positive tip, releasing their hip hop/jazz masterpiece, The
. 1991 also saw the rise of West Coast rapper
Tupac Shakur, and the formation of Death Row Records, a label
that went on to dominate the rap industry. As rap became more
visible, however, so did the genre's detractors, many of whom
attacked rap artists for promoting and glorifying violence
- Read more about Ice-T here
In 1992, Los Angeles rapper Ice-T and his metal band Body Count
suddenly found themselves under scrutiny as a result of "Cop
Killer", a controversial song on their self-titled debut.
n the spring of that year, a jury acquitted the white police
officers who beat Rodney King, and when South Central Los Angeles
erupted in riots, police unions, the NRA and panicked politicians
began to accuse Ice-T and Body Count of fanning the flames.
Among those who spoke out against the song were then-President
George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle, the California State
Attorney General, and members of Congress. Stores pulled the
record fro their selves and Warner Bros stockholders demanded
that the label take action. In the end Ice-T and Warner Bros
agreed to pull "Cop Killer" from the album - and in
turn, Ice-T was released from his contract with the label.
- Read more about 2Pac here
In 1992, former Digital Underground member Tupac Shakur released
his solo debut, 2Pacalypse Now
. Filled with blunt, explicit,
gangsta-style rhymes about sex, violence and life on the streets,
the album impressed hip-hop fans across the country while angering
political and social conservatives, who were increasingly attackin'
rap music as cause of various societal ills. 2Pacalypse Now
went Gold, however, and the track "Brenda's Got a Baby"
was a huge R&B hit. Handwritten by Tupac on lined school
paper, these notes contain the preliminary track listing for
the record and detailed credit information.
Founded in 1991 by former N.W.A. member Dr. Dre and his partner
Suge Knight, Death Row Records went on to become an industry
powerhouse, with a roster that read like Who's Who of mid-nineties
rap. As this Death Row Multi-Platinum Sales Award shows, Death
Row was the label behind Dr. Dre's The Chronic
hugely successful Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg (who has since
shortened his name to Snoop Dogg), as well as the soundtracks
to Murder Was the Case
and Above Rim.
- Read more about Dr. Dre here
In 1992, former N.W.A. member Dr. Dre released his Grammy-winning
solo effort The Chronic
on Death Row. The album was an
enormous hit, and effectively cemented the fledgling label's
position as a major force in the industry. On The Chronic
Dre created when he termed G-Funk (or Gangsta Funk) by adding
rolling, funkified grooves to the gangsta rap sound he'd helped
create with N.W.A. Rapping alongside partner Snoop Dogg (or
Snoppy Doggy Dogg as he was called at the time) on hits songs
like "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang", Dr. Dre (and The Chronic's
revolutionary G-Funk sound) influenced countless hip hop releases
"The Low End Theory"
While hardcore rap was thriving, so were many hip-hop alternatives.
In 1992, A Tribe Called Quest released their bass-driven, jazz-influenced
album, The Low End Theory
. As part of the Native Tongues,
a loose-knit collective of artists who sought an alternative
to the hardcore rap that dominated the day. A Tribe Called Quest
brought positivity - as well as sonic diversity - to hip-hop.
They also tackled topics not often addressed (in rap lyric or
elsewhere), as demonstrated by songs such
as "The Infamous Date Rape" and