Eight Million Stories: Hip Hop in 1993

Stretch-Prince-Paul-ACEPhotos by Ebru Yildiz

Here’s a little story, I’d like to tell, about the Hip Hop game we thought we know so well…….

There have been some classic Hip Hop records made in the Golden Age. This we know is fact. When the Hip Hop industry was starting to just get its bearings, releasing groundbreaking records that are now classic, it was a different time. NPR has been featuring this time, Hip Hop’s golden year, and every thing that goes along with it in a series of programs. They recently brought the series out as a live lecture. For all of those who missed this night (including this writer unfortunately), today’s article is a treat. This lecture was done at my home base, a place that is near and dear to my heart, The Ace Hotel in NYC moderated by Frannie Kelley and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. It’s not any ordinary lecture, but a lecture about a specific year in music: 1993. Microphone Check lined up five legends in the Hip Hop game who were doing big things in that year. Present on the panel were Faith Newman, A & R at Columbia and Def Jam (she signed Nas), Uncle Ralph McDaniels, music video director and producer and host of Video Music Box, Stretch Armstrong, DJ and well known co-host of the Stretch & Bobbito Show on WKCR, Mike Dean, producer and engineer at Rap-A-Lot Records, and producer and artist Prince Paul They gave the audience that night (and now you), a clear vision of what Hip Hop was like during 1993.


From using the record label budget to buying formula and diapers, rappers beating up Guitar Center store employees, unbelievably low video budgets ($30K for “C.R.E.A.M.” and $15K for “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”!), women’s unsung role in the Hip Hop industry, questionable fashion, chain snatching and knives on video shoots, the No-Rap version of R & B songs, and other things that were pertinent to that time in Hip Hop, the panel told all. It’s a great refresher for those who lived through it, bringing back memories of good music, artists, and a lot of fun stuff that went along with the era (hands up if you had the Tommy Boy Carhart messenger bag!). For those of you who are new to this era, you get an insider peek of what it was like to be around the Rap game in its golden year. Big shout out to NPR for putting this condensed version out there for the people. Enjoy!

Keep Diggin’!

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