Hip hop is a deeply political cultural movement born in New York City in the 1970’s, which is most well-known in mainstream culture for the music style that emerged when people such as Dj Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flowers began mixing music in Brooklyn and the Bronx, drawing inspiration from acts like The Last Poets and DJ U-Roy. In the mid-70s, artists such as Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Caz began to host parties in the Bronx and gave birth to a phenomenon that exploded throughout the latter half of the decade. In the 1980’s, artists like Kurtis Blow, the Beastie Boys, and Run DMC stepped onto the scene bringing mainstream attention, while groups such as The Geto Boys developed southern strains of hip-hop. In the late 80s, NWA fleshed out the gangsta rap that was birthed by Ice-T, turning eyes to the West Coast, and setting the stage for a sub-genre that dominated the sound of hip-hop for at least two decades.
Throughout the 1990's, hip hop reached an immense audience and received wide radio play across America. Some of the most recognizable aspects of American culture became defined by hip hop and hip hop culture, and many 90s hip hop anthems have become deeply ingrained in the public mind.
How well do you know your 90s hip hop? Test your knowledge by identifying the artists behind these 90s classics.
1Who is the Artist?
Which 1990's hip-hop group released the track "Rock Dis Funky Joint"? This song released on May 29th, 1990 on this group's first album, which was titled "Holy Intellect" and featured highly political lyrics and content. This album charted as number 142 on the Billboard 200, with the single "Rock Dis Funky Joint" charting at number 17. In addition, "Holy Intellect" is widely considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, receiving recognition from The Source magazine on its list of the 100 Best Rap Albums. "Time to get funky-new-radical hip as I get to the point Rock this funky joint!"
2Who is the Artist?
Which group released the song "Insane in the Brain"? "Insane in the Brain" is the hit single from this group's second album, which released on June 22nd, 1993. It peaked at number 14 on the hip hop charts in 1993. The samples on this track include instrumentals from artists such as Lee Dorsey, and James Brown, and even features an iconic sample from an earlier song released by the same group. "Got no brain! Insane in the membrane Insane in the brain!"
3Who is the Artist?
Who released the feel-good summer track, "It Was a Good Day". This was the second single from this group/artist's third album. This song released on February 23rd, 1993 and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs of the same year. This song achieved massive success and became an internet phenomenon much later on, inciting fan-led searches for the date of the good day in question. "Break 'em Just wakin' up in the mornin' gotta thank God I don't know but today seems kinda odd No barkin' from the dog, no smog And momma cooked a breakfast with no hog"
4Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Can I Kick it?" This song was the third single from the debut album, and was recorded in 1989 but released in October of 1990. This song is an intricate showcase of production abilities, and featured at least five samples, one of which incited a lawsuit from Lou Reed, who was subsequently awarded all profits from the sale of this single. "Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) Well, I'm gone (Go on then!)"
5Who is the Artist?
Who released the hip-hop anthem "O.P.P."? This song was featured on the second album by this artist and served as its lead single. It was released on August 24th, 1991, and reached number 6 on the Billboard Top 100, an incredibly uncommon feat for a hip-hop track at the time. In addition to the U.S., it charted in Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Switzerland. "You down with OPP? (Yeah you know me) You down with OPP? (Yeah you know me) You down with OPP? (Yeah you know me)"
6Who is the Artist?
Who sings the song "On & On"? This song was the debut single from this singer's debut album, launching the career of an icon of the genre. This song was number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts for two weeks, and its music video was based upon Alice Walker's classic book "The Color Purple". "Oh on and on and on and on (My cypher keeps moving like a rolling stone) Whew on and on and on and on (All night 'til the break of dawn.) I go on and on and on and on (My cypher keeps moving like a rolling stone.) Oh on and on and on and on"
7Who is the Artist?
Who released the chart topping debut single "Jump"? This song was released in February 1992 and sold over 2,000,000 copies in a single year, achieving double platinum status. It went on to reach number 23 on the Billboard Top 100 of the Decade charts for 1990-1999. This track's samples include the Jackson 5, Naughty by Nature, and James Brown. "uh huh uh huh Jump, jump The Mac Dad will make ya jump, jump A Daddy Mac will make ya jump, jump"
8Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Don't Sweat the Technique"? "Don't Sweat the Technique" is a single from the album of the same name. This song was released on June 23rd, 1992, and peaked at number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop and Hot Rap Singles charts. Both the album and the song achieved high critical acclaim. "Let's trace the hints and check the file Let see who bit to detect the style I flip the script so they can't get foul At least not now, it'll take a while I change the pace to complete the beat I drop the bass 'til MC's get weak For every word they trace, it's a scar they keep 'Cause when I speak, they freak to sweat the technique"
9Who is the Artist?
Who released the smooth classic "Nuthin' But a G' Thang"? This track was the first single on an album which is widely considered to be one of the most well-produced and innovative hip hop albums of all time. This single reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts. It is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and the Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. "Well, I'm peepin', and I'm creepin', and I'm creepin' But I near got caught, 'cause my beeper kept beepin' Now, it's time for me to make my impression felt So, sit back, relax, and strap on your seatbelt"
10Who is the Artist?
Who released "Mama Said Knock You Out"? "Mama Said Knock You Out" released on February 26th, 1991 on an album of the same name and won a Grammy that year. This track was produced by the legendary producer and founder of The Juice Crew, Marley Marl. According to the artist, this song emerged from a conversation with his grandmother in which she told him to "knock out" his critics. "Don't call it a comeback I been here for years I'm Rockin' my peers Puttin' suckers in fear Makin' the tears rain down like a monsoon Listen to the bass go boom Explosions, overpowerin' Over the competition, I'm towerin'"
11Who is the Artist?
Who released the pop-culture phenomenon "Whoomp! (There it is)"? This song released on May 7th, 1993 but was recorded in 1992. This song received Addams Family, Crazy Frog, and Disney covers. This song was the theme song of the Philadelphia Phillis during the 93 World Series, and the Chicago Cubs now use this song when a player gets a home run. "Check it to wreck it, let's begin Party on, party people, let me hear some noise DC's in the house, jump, jump, rejoice Says there's a party over here, a party over there Wave your hands in the air, shake your derriere These three words mean you're gettin' busy, Whoomp, there it is! Hit me!"
12Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "N.Y. State of Mind"? This song was featured on this artists debut album in April 1992. This song was produced by DJ Premier, and the first verse of this track was reputedly recorded in a single take. This track has received wide acclaim, as has the album it was on, and is featured in the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. "It drops deep as it does in my breath I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined I think of crime when I'm in a New York state of mind"
13Who is the Artist?
Who performed the G-Funk classic "Regulate"? This song was released on April 24th, 1993, and is one of the definitive tracks in the G-Funk genre, a subgenre of West Coast hip hop which featured smooth funk samples alongside the sound and content of gangsta rap. This track was nominated for a Grammy and has gone platinum. The music video for this song features a cameo appearance by 2Pac. "So I hooks a left on the 21 and Lewis Some brothas shootin' dice so I said, "Let's do this" I jumped out the ride, and said, "What's up?" Some brothas pulled some gats so I said, "I'm stuck""
14Who is the Artist?
Who released "Gin and Juice"? This track was the second single from this artists debut album and released on January 15th, 1994. It reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart. In 2018, in reference to this iconic track, its artist set the world record for the largest Gin and Juice Cocktail ever made at 500 liters. "Rollin' down the street, smokin' endo Sippin' on gin and juice, laid back With my mind on my money And my money on my mind"
15Who is the Artist?
Gangsta's Paradise This song was released on August 8th, 1995. It released on both an album of the same name and on the soundtrack for the film Dangerous Minds. The chorus of the song is sampled from Stevie Wonder's "Pasttime Paradise". This track won a Grammy, two MTV awards, and was the number one single of 1995. It has sold over 6,000,000 copies worldwide. "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I take a look at my life and realize there's nothin' left ‘Cause I've been blastin' and laughin' so long That even my momma thinks that my mind is gone But I ain't never crossed a man that didn't deserve it Me be treated like a punk, you know that's unheard of You better watch how you talkin' and where you walkin' Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk I really hate to trip, but I gotta loc As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke Fool, I'm the kinda G that little homies wanna be like On my knees in the night, sayin' prayers in the streetlight"
16Who is the Artist?
Who performed "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By"? This track was released on April 25th, 1995, and is a remix of a song released the previous year. It went on to receive several more successful remixes. This song achieved platinum status and won a Grammy. It reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. "ou're all that I need I'll be there for you If you keep it real with me, I'll keep it real wit' you Lovin' your whole scenes That be in there blu On top of that you got The good power you"
17Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Mind Playing Tricks on Me"? This song released on July 1st, 1991 on an album titled "We Can't Be Stopped". This song is ranked as the fifth greatest hip hop song of all time by the Rolling Stone magazine. It peaked at number one on Billboard's US Hot Rap Singles and 23 on the Hot 100. "I'm pumping in the clip when the wind blows Every twenty seconds got me peeping out my window Investigating the joint for traps Checking my telephone for taps"
18Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "How Do U Want it?"? "How Do U Want It?" released on June 4th, 1996 on this artists fourth album. It features a sample from Quincy Jones' song "Body Heat". This track reached the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100, and went double platinum, with over 2,000,000 sales in the United States alone. "Tell me, baby Is it cool to touch? Tell a man that you can trust I'm just a fool in lust"
19Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Ready or Not"? This song was released on August 29th, 1996, and topped the European charts, reaching #1 in the UK and Iceland. The chorus of this track is heavily derived from The Delfonics song "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide From Love). "Ready or not, here I come, you can't hide Gonna find you and take it slowly Ready or not, here I come, you can't hide Gonna find you and make you want me"
20Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Elevators (Me & You)"? This song was the first single from this group's second album. It released on July 9th, 1996 and reached number 12 on the Billboard Top 100. In the different versions of this song released, the length varies by up to 35 seconds. "Now everyday we looked up at the ceiling Watching ceiling fans go 'round, tryna catch that feeling Off instrumentals, had my pencil and plus my paper We caught the 86 Lithonia headed to Decatur Writing rhymes, tryna find our spot off in that light Light off in that spot, knowing that we could rock"
21Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "I'll Be Missing You"? This song was released on May 27th, 1997 in memory of a murdered rapper and friend. This song samples "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. This single topped the charts for eleven weeks and won a Grammy. It is one of the top selling songs of all time, with estimated sales of over eight million units. "Seems like yesterday we used to rock the show I laced the track, you locked the flow So far from hangin' on the block for dough Notorious they came to know that Life ain't always what it seem to be Words can't express what you mean to me"
22Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "I'm Not A Player"? This song was this artists debut single, and released on August 7, 1997. It charted at number 57 on the Billboard Top 100. The album that this single released on reached number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts and went platinum in sales. This song is widely credited with launching this artist's career. "Making you feel like you in a dream It's the king of the hip-hop quotables Giving you multiples, just by the tone Of my voice and the vocables"
23Who is the Artist?
Who released the summer classic "Summertime"? This song released on May 20, 1991 and won a Grammy at the 1992 Grammy Awards. It peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and number one on the Hip-Hop/R&B Charts. This song has twelve listed songwriters. "Here it is the groove slightly transformed Just a bit of a break from the norm Just a little somethin' to break the monotony Of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be A little bit out of control it's cool to dance"
24Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "My Name Is"? This song was released on January 25, 1999 on this artist's first major label album. In 2000, this song won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. The lyrics of this song were used in a ten million dollar lawsuit against the performer by their mother, who claimed that she was slandered in its content. This song has achieved double platinum status. "Hi! My name is What? My name is Who? My name is"
25Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Ruff Ryders Anthem"? This song was released on May 5th, 1998, on this artist's debut album "It's Dark and Hell is Hot". This was the fourth single on this album, and peaked at number ninety three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number forty seven on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts. The name Ruff Ryders references the record label of producer Swizz Beats, who produced this track. "Stop, drop, shut 'em down open up shop Oh, no That's how Ruff Ryders roll"
26Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Sabotage"? This song was released on January 28, 1994 and was the lead single on its creator's fourth album. This song was released with a music video directed by Spike Jonze, which was nominated for five MTV Music Video Awards. It was ranked as one of the Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. "I can't stand it I know you planned it But I'm gonna set it straight, this Watergate I can't stand rocking when I'm in here Because your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear So while you sit back and wonder why "
27Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Symphony 2000"? This song was released on June 29, 1999. It was the last song released by its artist until 2008. This song is a direct callback to "The Symphony", a track released in 1988 which was produced by Marley Marl and featured Masta Ace, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, and Craig G., all of whom are recognized as some of the greatest hip hop artists of all time, and key players in the development of hip hop. "Uhh. yo! I grab the mic and grip it hard like it's my last time to shine I want the chrome and the cream so I put it down for mine Ill cat, slick talk, slang new york"
28Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Jump Around"? This song released on May 5, 1992, and was produced by DJ Muggs of Cyprus Hill. It features a sample from Junior Walker & the All Stars track "Shoot Your Shot", Bob & Earl's track "The Harlem Shuffle", and Chubby Checker's track "Popeye". It peaked at number three on the US charts. "Jump around, jump up and get down Jump around, jump around Jump up and get down Jump up, jump up and get down"
29Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Doo Wop (That Thing)"? This song released on July 7, 1998 and was the debut single from this artist's debut album. This song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, this artist's only song to do so. "The second verse is dedicated to the men More concerned with his rims and his Timbs than his women Him and his men, come in the club like hooligans Don't care who they offend, poppin' yang (Like you got yen!) Let's stop pretend, the ones that pack pistols by they waist men"
30Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "C.R.E.A.M"? This song was released on January 31, 1994 on a debut album. It has been ranked number 11 on the Rolling Stone's list of the fifty greatest hip hop songs of all time. It sold only 500,000 singles, but has become cemented in popular culture for its trademark chorus. "Cash rules everything around me C.R.E.A.M., get the money Dollar dollar bill, y'all Cash rules everything around me C.R.E.A.M., get the money Dollar dollar bill, y'all"
31Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"? This song was released on May 20, 1997 on radio and July 2, 1997 on an album titled "Supa Dupa Fly". This song charted at number six on the Hip-Hop and R&B radio charts, and number 51 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart. In 2016, this song was featured in a Coca-Cola commercial. "(rock the joint) Me i'm supa fly (uh-huh) Supa dupa fly (uh-huh) Supa dupa fly I can't stand the rain!"
32Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Baby Got Back"? This song was released on May 7, 1992 and is more popularly known as "I Like Big Butts". Upon release, this song was banned by MTV and received heavy criticism for its lyrics and the objectification of women. Despite this, this track became the second best-selling song of 1992 and sat at the top of the charts for five weeks straight. "I like big butts and I can not lie You other brothers can't deny That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist And a round thing in your face"
33Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "California Love"? This song was released on December 3, 1995, shortly after the artist was released from prison. It peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, a position that it retained for two weeks. This song was nominated for a Grammy in 1996. "California, knows how to party California, knows how to party In the city of L.A. In the city of good ol' Watts In the city, the city of Compton We keep it rockin! We keep it rockin!"
34Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Juicy"? This song was released on August 9, 1994 as the first single from this artist's debut album. It has been claimed that the beat, which was produced by Puff Daddy, was stolen from legendary producer Pete Rock. This song peaked as number one on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles and Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. "Yea, this album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I'd never amount to nothing, to all the people that lived above the Buildings that I was hustling in front of that called the police on Me when I was just trying to make some money to feed my daughter"
35Who is the Artist?
Who released the song "Alphabet Aerobics"? This song was released on April 30, 1999 on the EP A2G. In 2014, Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame, performed this track on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show, spearheading a small internet phenomenon which brought this song back into the public eye. "Artificial amateurs, are all amazing Analytically, I assault, animate things Broken barriers bounded by the bomb beat Buildings are broken, basically I'm bombarding Casually create catastrophes, casualties Cancelling cats got their canopies collapsing"