- Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's Wanted: Dead or Alive is released on 8/13/1990
- N.W.A.'s 100 Miles and Runnin' is released on 8/14/1990
- Too Short's Short Dog's in the House is released on 8/27/1990
- LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out is released on 8/27/1990
- Vanilla Ice's To the Extreme is released on 8/28/1990
In August of 1990 hip-hop was going through a transition. A couple vets solidified their legacies, an established star reached maturation, and a newcomer threatened the art form's very foundations. But first, the West Coast certified that the first shots fired a few years earlier by groundbreaking groups N.W.A. (Straight Outta Compton) and Too $hort (Born to Mack and Life is...Too Short) were no flukes. Although Too $hort's Short Dog's in the House wasn't quite as big as its preceding record, the album went platinum, the second in a string of six platinum LPs for the rapper. N.W.A.'s 100 Miles and Runnin EP faced more of a challenge: How would the group survive without recently departed member and primary lyricist Ice Cube? As it turned out, they would flourish; the EP was a success, paved the way for the following year's Efil4zaggin, and signaled the further development of Dr. Dre's production style. The EP's title track would be the producer's last major uptempo track.
On the East Coast, LL Cool J became one of the genre's longest-running success stories when his LP Mama Said Knock You Out revitalized his career after the disappointment that was 1989's Walking With a Panther. The record, produced almost entirely by Marley Marl, was a critical and commercial success, ringing in double-platinum sales. Marl's Juice Crew member Kool G Rap released Wanted: Dead or Alive alongside DJ Polo in August as well. It was the duo's second full LP, and it solidified G Rap's reputation as one of the best hardcore rappers in New York, his street stories an unvarnished look at the city's violence with a cinematogropher's eye. At the end of the month, of course, came the jolt that would shock the hip-hop world, as Vanilla Ice's massive To the Extreme suggested that for all its sonic diversity, hip-hop's future might be whitewashed before the genre even had a chance to make much of a creative impact. These fears turned out to be unfounded, of course. But at the time there was real cause for alarm. The record would spend 16 weeks at the top of the charts and ship seven million copies. —David Drake
11. August 1990