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The music video began to reach its full potential in the 1990s. With new technology emerging and a decade of familiarity with the format in the bank, expressing a song's concept via the relatively young visual medium was just starting to hit its stride.
This growth was especially notable in rap music. As the genre moved from urban niche to mainstream phenomenon, the music videos got more thought out, more expensive, and, in many ways, a lot better. Sure, Ready To Die sounded amazing banging out of car speakers, and Dr. Dre's production on Doggystyle ruled the headphones of many a listener, but the reigns of those artists and so many others was about so much more than simply hearing the music. The '90s brought a visual element to the culture in a major way, allowing for a greater avenue for self-expression and cultivating superstars off presence and personality alone.
While there's a certain appeal to the "anyone can do it" mantra of today's YouTube-uploading youth, the exact opposite is what was so staggering about rap videos in the '90s. Everyone couldn't do it. The guys and girls up on the screen during Rap City, TRL, and The Box marathons were heroes. Hip-Hop Gods. You didn't know what they had for lunch because of social media. The only glimpse you had into the lives of the people making your favorite music was these videos.
We watched a ton of classic clips from the '90s and we've come up with a list of the very best. From Public Enemy calling out 911, to the Beastie Boys in Japan, to Hype Williams and Director X giving the jiggy era an identity. These are The 50 Best Rap Videos of the '90s.
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