1997 - Part I
Google Images: Mary J Blige, Share My World 1997
Above you see the picture of Mary J Blige, this is her third album that will be 20 years old this month a week prior to her the release of her 13th studio album "Strength Of A Woman". Now many would argue this was Mary best album out of her collection. I love this album, however I am a big fan of her My Life 1994 sophomore album.
Not only am I a fan of her 1994 second album, I am a fan of the year 1994 in black music. Without a doubt I am a 90s music fan all day, every day. I love that entire decade of music, but the stand out year for me in music was 1994. That is the year I became a teenager and at that time some albums that came during year I still love very much to this day.
Aaliyah - Age Ain't Nothing But A Number
Nas - Illmatic
Brandy - Brandy
Notorious B.I.G - Ready To Die
Boyz II Men - II
Above The Rim Soundtrack
Immature - Playtime Is Over (That was a cool album at 13)
Usher - Usher
Warren G- Regulate G Funk Era
Just to name a few albums from 1994, that I liked from that year and from that point without doubt 94 was my favorite time period in black music hands down. Until a friend posted a link on my Facebook timeline from an article from the root website. http://www.theroot.com/without-question-1997-was-maybe-possibly-the-best-y-1794019934. She ask me what was my thoughts, and I posted 1994 was my year and named the albums above.
Then I read the article, and when the author listed the best albums and songs from 1997 I had to sit and think damn, he very valid points on that year. Some heat definitley came out in the year 1997; Top of the that year we had a debut from a Dallas TX native that turned R&B music upside down. Erykah Badu Baduizm was unexpected but welcomed treat with open arms and possibly helped birth a new sub genre called Neo Soul.
As mentioned before on this site, in 1997 we experienced the tragic death of rapper Notorious B.I.G in March of that year and also the release of his classic second album Life After Death. After Biggie death we experience a new wave in hip hop. The Champagne life was in full a effect, The Bad Boy Era showed us the true meaning of mo money, more problems.
Even though he wasn't the best rapper, he sure could produce some good music and put the right people in the studio together. Sean "Puffy Daddy" Combs "No Way Out" was his saving grace after the lost of B.I.G. We was introduced to Ma$e and the Lox, Lil Kim was nothing to f--k with. Bad Boy records was one the hottest labels in the industry in 1997.
The Wu Tang realigned and came back together after , solo projects from Method Man, GZA, Ghostface, Raekwon. They came back with Wu Tang Forever and the first single was Triumph, who could forget these lines? "I bomb atomically, Socrates, philosophies and can't define how I be dropping these mockeries" One of the best opening verses in a rap song, (Don't Debate Me). Wu Tang Forever was also a double disc as well. That was a trend at the time, Hip Hop artists was making double albums.
Wu Tang was still nothing to F*#k with and by 1997 a lot of artist was showing they was nothing to mess with during this year. Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z released a debut album "Reasonable Doubt" in 1996 which was still bubbling in the streets, not yet seen as a classic. Jay-Z was on the rise and in 1997 he had released which became a series, "In My Lifetime Vol 1" I will be honest out the entire Jay-Z music catalog, I wasn't the wildest fan of the volumes but I can't deny the notoriety vol 1 had received.
Shifting back to R&B, Aaliyah was still on the rise and releasing singles one after another from One In A Million. We was grooving to "Four Page Letter, Hot Like Fire Remix, The One I Gave My Heart To. She was also doing movies soundtracks such as Disney Anastasia. At the time Aaliyah was a rising star and four years later that star dimmed.
During Aaliyah height of success, the two producers who laced her second album OIAM, was becoming stars as well. Rapper/Singer/Producer Missy Elliott released "Supa Dupa Fly" and best believe that album lived up to the name. Missy first album was dope and had great production from Timbaland. And the Reign of Missy and Timbaland was in full effect with the release of this album.
Timbaland also debut his album with Magoo, they released "Welcome To Our World" Up Jumps the boogie was played at every house party that year. Timbaland was the man when it came to production. His signature sound was heard on numerous artists albums through out and year and beyond.
1997 was a massive year in urban music, and a lot to cover so please stay tuned for Part II on 1997
more to come.........