Two decades have passed since the mid-’90s, a time when the Top 40 and MTV were bursting with music from a variety of genres. Everything — from teeny bopper pop to grunge, punk, industrial rock and nu metal; from swing-beat to R&B remixes and all the sub-genres in between — had a place in the mainstream consciousness.

If you were paying attention during these booming years, you no doubt remember what it was like, who the major players were, which controversies had people talking, and the distinct lingo and catchphrases used in whichever scene you were a part of. But did you realize just how influential the music you were listening to at the time was? Here’s a breakdown to keep you cool this summer when temps get high in the mid-’90s.


SiriusXM FLY: Hip-Hop and R&B from the ’90s & 2000s

SiriusXMFLY_800x450

How would you describe your channel’s music in a few sentences?

FLY represents the nostalgic era of Hip-Hop and R&B, the age of the remix, the spot for New Jack Swing!

Who were the most important artists of your genre?

Aaliyah, Notorious BIG, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Nas, Mary J. Blige, Puff Daddy, Ja Rule, Outkast, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill/Fugees, Naughty by Nature, A Tribe Called Quest

Who influenced this music?  

Rakim, LL Cool J, Keith Sweat, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, New Edition, Babyface, Guy, and Teddy Riley to name a few — plus their party jams and ballads.

How did they change music?

Coming off the heels of gangsta rap and R&B ballads, they found a soft spot and created the Hip-hop and R&B remix, which blended both genres to create an entirely new soundscape for the ’90s into the 2000s. Also Teddy Riley creating ‘New Jack Swing’ just enticed an entirely new party sound.

Who did this music later influence?

Drake, Rihanna, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Big Sean

What was its musical legacy?

Combining two important genres to create a balance on radio

What would you say was this genre’s greatest contribution to music?

The hip-hop and R&B remix

What would you say was the motto of your genre?

Party and look your FLYest!

What were some of the important albums?

Mary J. Blige’s What’s the 411, Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt, Fugees’ The Score, Nas’ iLLmatic, Biggies’ Ready 2 Die, 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me, Aaliyah’s One in a Million, Lil’ Kim’s Hardcore, D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar, TLC’s CrazySexyCool, Outkast’s Southernplayalistikcadillacmusik, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, R. Kelly’s 12 Play

What were some of the biggest events/festivals?

Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation tour and Jay Z’s Hard Knock Life tour

What were some of the controversies surrounding the genre during the mid ‘90s?

Issues with East Coast vs. West Coast rap music, Pro-Black movement, decline of R&B balladeers, R. Kelly’s legal woes, MTV’s decline of showcasing videos and replacing it with more Reality TV


Lithium: Grunge rock and ’90s alternative

Lithium

How would you describe Lithium’s music in a few sentences?

“The Seattle Sound” mixed with alternative rock anthems and all of the weird one hit wonder gems

Who were the most important artists of your genre?

Oasis, Bush, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Weezer, Beck, Alice In Chains, Alanis Morissette

Who influenced this music?

Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Cheap Trick, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, KISS

How did they change music?

They completely abolished Hair Metal and led the groundwork for DIY recording and unconventional song structure

Who did this music later influence?

Creed, Queens Of The Stone Age, Shinedown, Gorillaz, Coldplay, Muse

What was its musical legacy?

Songs about angst, alienation, depression and MTV’s 120 Minutes

What would you say was this genre’s greatest contribution to music?

Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit

What would you say was the motto of your genre?

Come as you are

What were some of the important albums of your genre?

Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged, Soundgarden’s Superunknown, Weezer’s Blue Album, Green Day’s Dookie, Bush’s Sixteen Stone, Oasis’ What’s The Story (Morning Glory), Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, Rage Against The Machine’s Evil Empire, Beck’s Odelay

What were some of the biggest events/festivals that defined the genre?

Woodstock ’94, Lollapalooza

What were some of the biggest controversies surrounding the genre during the mid ‘90s?

Oasis vs. Blur, Kurt Cobain suicide, heroin


Backspin: Classic hip-hop from the ’80s and ’90s

Backspin

How would you describe Backspin’s music in a few sentences?

Classic, transcendent, memorable

Who were the most important artists of your genre?

Nas, Biggie, OC, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang,  Mobb Deep, Capone-N-Noreaga, Snoop, Tupac, Gang Starr, Jeru, Redman,  Naughty By Nature, A Tribe Called Quest

Who influenced this music?

It was the vibe of NY at that time and producers like Large Professor, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Diamond, who were filtering bass lines and using great samples

How did they change music?

They brought a life saga not heard in the music before – a struggle of day to day life that had not yet been presented in that form

Who did this music later influence?

Troy Ave, Joey Badass, Astro, Statik Selektah, Your Old Droog, Action Bronson

What was its musical legacy?

Classic storytelling and visual music

What would you say was this genre’s greatest contribution to music?

Nas’s Illmatic

What would you say was the motto of your genre?

Keep it real / One love

What were some of the important albums of the genre?

Nas’s Illmatic, O.C.’s Word…Life, Wu-Tang Clans’ 36 chambers, Biggie’s Ready To Die, Fugees’ The Score, Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt

What were some of the controversies surrounding the genre during the mid ‘90s?

East coast/west coast beef, Top 5 best emcees, The Source “five mics” ratings, the end of “Yo! MTV Raps,” The Box

– by MC Serch (3rd Bass, Backspin’s Channel Voice)


Turbo: Hard Rock from the ’90s & 2000s

Turbo

How would you describe Turbo’s music in a few sentences?

The music is loud, aggressive and in your face; we play songs that make you want to put the gas pedal to the floor.

Who were the most important artists of your genre?

Rage Against The Machine was gigantic at the time. Tool and Pantera were huge influences in ’90s metal. Marilyn Manson had just started to shock people with his songs and imagery. Nine Inch Nails elevated to the next level with 1994’s The Downward Spiral, but it would be another few years before the emergence of bands like Korn, Deftones and Godsmack.

Who influenced this music?

Many of the ’90s hard rock bands were influenced by earlier rock/metal acts: Motorhead, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and even some of the ’80s hair bands like Mötley Crüe. Others still were influenced by early/mid-’90s rap like Public Enemy, Ice Cube and Wu-Tang Clan.

How did they change music?

’90s hard rock bands, especially later in the decade, changed music by truly combining rap/hip-hop with hard rock and metal. Sure, Run DMC and Aerosmith had Walk This Way, and Anthrax and Public Enemy teamed up for Bring The Noise, but besides Rage Against The Machine in 1992, few bands were able to combine rap and rock to make it one cohesive sound. By the end of the ’90s and into the early 2000s, bands like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit had DJs scratching in the background and singers who could both rap and sing/scream.

Who did this music later influence?

Some of the newer deathcore bands (Emmure, Suicide Silence) credit Korn and Limp Bizkit as influences. It’s interesting how ’90s bands took what their predecessors did and made it heavier, and today’s bands are making their ’90s influences even heavier still.

What was its musical legacy?

Nu-metal is often looked down upon. The music, generally speaking, isn’t terribly complicated to play, and the lyrics are often fairly trite. Some bands – Limp Bizkit comes to mind – are seen as “bro metal,” or frankly music for dumb bully-jocks to listen to. Ironically, the bands themselves were often picked on and see themselves as the voice for victims. In any event, in terms of mainstream hard rock/metal, the late ’90s often get a bad rap.

What would you say was this genre’s greatest contribution to music?

Philosophically, the greatest contribution was the idea that it’s OK to blend different styles of music, as long as you do it right. In general, the ’90s was a great decade for experimenting. In the rock world, you still had true metal acts like Pantera making records, but by the later years, rap/rock had taken over.

What would you say was the motto of your genre?

F you, I won’t do what you tell me

What were some of the important albums of your genre?

Rage Against The Machine’s Evil Empire, Tool’s Aenima, Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral, Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar, Korn’s Korn

What were some of the biggest events/festivals that defined the genre?

Ozzfest, The Family Values Tour and, to an extent, Lollapolooza were some of the biggest events for the genre. Ozzfest skewed slightly heavier, however some of the biggest bands of the late 90’s blew up from being on the tour: System Of A Down, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot. Korn founded The Family Values tour, taking Limp Bizkit and Rammstein out on the road. Lollapalooza was important because it was billed as an alternative music festival, giving bands like Tool and Korn a big stage to play on. Woodstock ’94 and again in ’99 were also huge because it featured a ton of the genres best artists: Korn, Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against The Machine, Kid Rock, Buckcherry, Metallica, Sevendust, and Godsmack.

What were some of the biggest controversies surrounding the genre during the mid ‘90s?

One of the biggest controversies of the late ’90s was when Ozzfest rolled into Denver, Colorado. This was after the Columbine High School massacre and Marilyn Manson, who the killers were allegedly fans of, was playing the show. Religious protesters came out in droves and tried to have the show shut down. Critics blamed “goth” culture and called Manson a Satanist. Once again, heavy music was put under a microscope, scrutinized for its dark themes and violent lyrics. According to an old news clipping, 4,000 people had signed a petition trying to stop Manson from performing. It didn’t work.


Prime Country: Country hits from the ’80s and ’90s

Prime Country

How would you describe Prime Country’s music in a few sentences?

Country music that offered a very wide crossover appeal at a time when rock and pop were drastically changing.

Who were the most important artists of your genre?

Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Clint Black, Shania Twain, George Strait, LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Brooks & Dunn, Randy Travis

Who influenced this music?

Merle Haggard, George Jones, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd and rock ‘n’ roll of the ’70s

How did they change music?

While keeping the music fun, these artists also wanted to tell stories that touched everyone somehow. They related to small town USA as well as the Big City.

Who did this music later influence?

Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan

What was its musical legacy?

Thanks to artists like Garth and Brooks and Dunn, stadium shows and large event concerts became very popular.

What would you say was this genre’s greatest contribution to music?

At this time, Country music and line-dancing became a worldwide passion.

What would you say was the motto of your genre?

Work hard all week, party harder on the weekends when the paycheck comes… keeping friends, family and country close to your heart.

What were some of the important albums of your genre during ’94-’96?

Garth Brooks’ In Pieces and Fresh Horses, Tim McGraw’s Not A Moment Too Soon and All I Want, Shania Twain’s The Woman In Me and Come On Over

What were some of the biggest events/festivals that defined the genre?

Garth Brooks in Central Park – 1997

What were some of the biggest anecdotes/myths/legends/controversies surrounding the genre during the mid ‘90s?

Songs and videos were painting real life scenes about domestic violence, alcoholism, divorce etc. and were not being played on certain networks. Shania’s midriff and belly button being showed in videos and performances.


90s on 9: The defining hit music of the ’90s

'90s on 9

How would you describe 90s on 9’s music in a few sentences?

‘90s on 9 encapsulates the entire decade of the millennium’s final 10 years, from grunge to Eurodance and hip-hop to boy bands and girl groups.

Who were the most important artists of your genre?

Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alanis Morissette, Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy, Coolio, Tupac, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Boys II Men, Ace of Base, No Doubt, Spice Girls were some defining artists of the decade’s popular music

Who influenced this music?

Grunge: Punk and ’70s rock like Neil Young. The ‘90s punk movement came from The Ramones and Sex Pistols. Divas like Mariah and Janet followed the R&B tradition of Aretha, Boys II Men came from great singing groups like the Temptations and Jackson 5. Hip-hop continued the groundwork laid by the pioneers like Grandmaster Flash and Kool Moe Dee. Alanis mixed pop and alternative for her own style. Eurodance evolved from disco and dance which heavily influenced pop, too.

How did they change music?

Grunge killed the hairbands of the ‘80s, less flash and more substance. Hip-hop was brought into the mainstream with big crossover hits and sampling becoming commonplace in all genres. Pop brought back the “Pop Princesses” with a lot of studio flash and dancers at performances.

Who did this music later influence?

Grunge moved into Foo Fighters, Nickelback, and Lifehouse. Punk spawned 5 Seconds of Summer. Beyonce and Rihanna are the modern Divas. Eurodance sparked EDM. Drake and Kanye West carry on and have morphed modern hip-hop. And Pop Princesses carry on with Arianna Grande and Meghan Trainor. Alanis brought more female pop/rock with Michelle Branch in the 2K. Kelly Clarkson has little bit of diva, pop princess and chick-rock.

What would you say was this genre’s greatest contribution to music?

Grunge changed the rules, distilled the emotion and influenced an entire generation of rock. Hip-hop became more of a social movement influencing clothing style, even behavior.

What were some of the important albums of your genre?

Green Day’s Dookie, Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged, TLC’s Crazy Sexy Cool, Soundgarden’s Superunknown, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, Oasis’ What’s the Story (Morning Glory)?, Mariah Carey’s Daydream, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, Beck’s Odelay, Fugees’ The Score, 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me, Spice Girls’ Spice, Ace of Base’s The Sign


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