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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

Whether you think nothing can beat the rap game of the 70s and 80s or you believe modern hip-hop is the best, most people can agree that rap of the 90s was unequivocally amazing. With a decade full of originality and iconic lyricism, it’s likely that many artists didn’t get the attention they deserved. 

Here are some of the most underrated artists from the golden age of rap and hip-hop: 

  1. Main Source

This hip-hop group – led by known producer and rapper Large Professor – who is based in Queens, NY put out their first album titled Breaking Atoms in 1991. Their song “Snake Eyes” is the perfect example of this group’s creativity. The song combines retro sound bites, a strong bass line, clever lyrics and snippets of the flute and saxophone. 

Personal favorite song: 

Large Professor

Most popular song: 

Live at the Barbeque

  1. O.C

Omar Credle, known by his stage name O.C is a rapper from Brooklyn, NY. He is most known for his first album titled Word…Life. Besides a quick outro from rapper Prince Po, this album has no guest appearances. This was not by design, however, as widely-known artist Nas was supposed to be on the album but never showed up to the studio for the recording session. This was a blessing in disguise as it highlights O.C’s natural lyricism and vocal patterns without any other features distracting that. 

Personal favorite song:

Creative Control

Most popular song:

Time’s Up

  1. The Beatnuts

The Beatnuts are a hip-hop group with origins in New York City, credited with helping to usher in the Latin rap movement in NYC. The group originally consisted of three members until one – Kool Fashion – decided to start a solo career and put out an album with production help from his loyal old bandmates. The Beatnuts consistently put out bionic beats and were certainly not the one-hit-wonders they were portrayed as. 

Personal favorite song: 

Let Off a Couple

Most popular song: 

Se Acabo (ft. Method Man)

  1. Saafir

Though his first appearance in the entertainment industry was in the film Menace II Society, rapper and producer Saafir is most noted for his album Boxcar Sessions made in 1994. Even as a native Californian, his music was a deviation from the typical alternative/gangster rap scene of his area. He focused on wordplay to much success. 

Personal favorite song: 

Battle Drill

Most Hell’s Kitchen song: 

Hell’s Kitchen

All in all, there are plenty of hip-hop and rap artists of the 90s era that deserve just as much love – if not more – than the more popular ones. Giving these smaller artists a listen is worth a shot, and if it’s not your style then 2Pac and Snoop Dogg are always there waiting for you.

Grace Notarstefano

St. John's '26

Grace is currently a freshman at St. John’s University in Queens NY. She is double majoring in History and Italian, with hopes to someday become a professor and enter the world of research. She can be found painting and sculpting, reading, trying new recipes, or writing up a post for her blog on the literature of the world.