I could list a million and one reasons, but the evidence really speaks for itself.
If you’ve been to a modern hip hop concert, you’ve probably noticed a few things. Lots of flashy outfits. Pyrotechnics and stage accents. And of course, your favorite songs by some of your favorite artists coming to life on stage.
Even though those artists tend to be really far from the stage and the stage is even farther from you, you’ll spend some time feeling like you’re being sung to directly — and let’s face it, we all like to think that when we hear music live.
But nothing is going to make you feel like you’re part of the family more than legendary hip hop and rap.
These are songs that, decades later, still make you want to get up and move. They’re nostalgic and reminiscent of very special times to those who experienced them firsthand, and they’re legendary tracks that still get the party started to those who found out about them later. Ying Yang Twins have been in the modern music game, so they’re kind of the acception here. But their modern songs have taken a turn, showing that these two are actually interested in evolving their music, not just yelling “WHAT” and “OKAYYY” after every line. (But that classic Ying Yang Twins vibe is kind of my guilty pleasure, no lie.)
And as Too $hort noted in his set, he was performing songs now that he was performing back then, before half of the audience was born. (He was not phased by this, but definitely impressed with the amount of 90s-born babies in the audience.)
Despite the age gap, that did not stop him from treating the people on stage like family (one was literally family, as Too Short brought his cousin on stage to celebrate both of their birthdays), and even better, treating people in the audience like his best friends, not just “fans” or paying subscribers to his music. There’s a house party, home grown, down the corner, across the way, family cookout feeling to the aesthetic of 90’s rap, even no matter the subject matter of the songs. Nineties hip hop will connect with people, on both a metaphorical and a literal sense, as Too Short was not only playing songs that have successfully spanned generations, but also shared drinks with the crowd while he did it. I wonder if Drake would make a drink cocktail in a glass jar and then pass it to an audience member in the front row the way that Too Short did? Either way, rap veterans Too Short and Ying Yang Twins proved two things at their show: Their music will make you move even a decade or two later, and they’re still going strong when they put on a show.
I never doubted this, of course, but after seeing Too Short’s show, I did compare. The experience of seeing Too Short perform was starkly more personal, intimate, and crowd-pleasing than some of the bigger acts of today.
In short, if you want to sip something good, dance all night, hear a million and one favorite songs, and have artists who are going to perform more like they’re hanging out with you, not just standing in front of a stage barrier, then 90’s hip hop is going to bring that flavor back almost every time. There’s always a place for modern rap, of course (I mean, “Salt Shaker” just isn’t on the same level as Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble”), and I’m sure the next generation will be saying the same when their legends are taking the stage in 2040. But for now, we are lucky enough to have the dope beats of the 90’s to never let us down.
(Unless you’re DMX and you cancel your appearance last minute, then you might let us down a little. Here’s hoping he gets better.)