Despite what your favorite millennial rapper thinks, the rap game in the ’90s was unequivocally amazing. While the late ’70s and ’80s were the age of discovery, building the framework for both future production techniques and lyrical execution, hip-hop was hitting on all cylinders in the 10 years leading up to Y2K.
In a decade that was teeming with originality, lyricism, social commentary, classic albums, and iconic MCs, it was almost easy for even some of the dopest artists not to get their proper shine in the limelight. Mind you, this was before everyone on the planet had access to the Internet and every human being over the age of 10 was walking around with an iPhone stitched to their palm. Times were different.
But the advances of today’s technology aren’t totally to blame. For one reason or another, several rappers who should have been just as big as their platinum-selling contemporaries slipped through the cracks of critical acclaim from the mainstream. Maybe it’s our fault as listeners for failing to recognize their greatness when they were riding that wave—sometimes, that’s the breaks.
Here are some incredibly underrated artists from the golden era of rap.