With 2012 already in the hip-hop books, 2013 is overflowing with promise. While fans are holding out for brand-new LPs from veterans like Jay-Z, Eminem and 50 Cent, developing cultural storylines draw interesting parallels to another key year in hip-hop history: 1993.
Fans love to hear the story again and again. With Dr. Dre setting up California’s rap reign a year earlier with his classic LP The Chronic, the Death Row crew cemented things in November ’93 with Snoop Dogg’s spotless debut Doggystyle. During that same month, New York, desperately searching for sonic relevance as the burgeoning birthplace of hip-hop, got a shot in the arm with the release of Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It wasn’t until Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. released their respective 1994 debuts that the Big Apple would regain its respect, but the Wu certainly helped set the stage.
To suggest that 2013′s rap climate has come full circle 20 years later is silly. For one, the 15-year long hold that the South has had on the game has permanently influenced the way that rap music is made on both coasts, and all spots in between. Sales also aren’t what they once were either, so forget the SoundScan data, but there are some things to ponder.
Kendrick Lamar, like Snoop Dogg 20 years earlier, emerged from the Dr. Dre school of MC’ing and now currently stands as Cali’s marquee spitter. Not only that, his 2012 debut good kid, m.A.A.d city is a cinematic coming-of-age story not dissimilar to the Hughes Brothers cult classic film “Menace II Society.” In May “Menace” will celebrate its 20-year anniversary and with K-Dot working a good kid short-film, making the connection isn’t a far-fetched notion.