Flashback Friday: Conscious Rap

In the early 90s rap was conscious and most younger Black folks were feeling proud of their heritage. Faux African garb was hot and so was Malcolm X gear. Eventually gangsta rap came along and killed that vibe but, while it was happening, it was happening!

So, for today’s Flashback Friday here is some conscious rap that was hot the early 1990s.

Did you listen to conscious rap back in the day?
Did you wear Afrocentric hip hop gear?

21 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Conscious Rap

    • I had a few of those pouch/ wallet necklaces with Afrocentric images on them, Aly. And, I may have had a pair of X earrings. Lol I think I had a pair of Africa earrings too.

  1. I miss those days when Hip-hop had a pulse AND a brain. Yes, Val… I was deeply into my African-print tees w/ my kufis & chokers… & by the early 90s, was known to rock a Malcolm cap. Don’t judge me & my pro-BLACK stance, yo! (smile) Et Vous, Valentina?


    • Well, I had a couple of Afrocentric pieces, Lin. But, I never really wore any hats or print pants. I bet you looked good in a kufi though!

  2. I most definitely listened to conscious rap back in the day and I still do. I came to DC from Brooklyn rocking the big Jumbo beads and Afrocentric print tees. Public Enemy’s Rebel Without A Pause was the first hip hop song that blew my mind. When I heard that song it changed the way I saw life….Real talk.

    • Oh yeah, I think I had a couple of those t-shirts too!

      I think PE hipped a lot of people to being aware. I miss that era in hip hop a lot, J.

  3. Yeah I was down.

    I really miss the music…….or not really since I continue to listen to it. There was definitely a pride feel going on. Quite unlike today’s music……that’s just simply awful. I remember that in the 80s I wore my “apartheid” gear and in the 90s more of this stuff.

    • I think in the late 80s and early 90s most rap consumers were Black which laid the groundwork for the conscious movement. Then gangsta rap became popular amongst the wider population and that killed conscious rap. And, that’s also why today’s rap is the way it is.

      But, this era was golden and like you, Reggie, I still enjoy listening to this music.

  4. No, couldn’t get into the afrocentric clothing. But I loved the music then. Like commenter Lin, said rap had a pulse and a brain. I loved all the conscious rap music then. Then all the hatred for woman and violence came. It made me so sad. It’s gotten worse in my opinion. (music). There seems to be a hatred for women in the music.

    • I agree, Mary. Rap became a minstrel show once it became popular with White suburban kids and it remains so. And, considering how great the music was at one time that’s a real tragedy.

  5. I can’t recall wearing too many Afrocentric pieces, besides those medallions that were big at time or another. I do remember listening to tons of conscious songs in the 90s (still do) and listening at an increased volume. There are many classisc, from songs like Public Enemy’s Shut ‘Em Down, Brothers Gonna Work It Out, Don’t Believe The Hype, Prophets of Rage, etc to Latifah’s U.N.I.T.Y

    • May I add that conscious songs are one of the reasons why I like Lyfe Jennings music so much, despite knowing others who hate it. Songs of awareness like S.E.X. and Statistics are boss, in my opinion. And you know I just had to mention a conscious song of Prince – Pop Life. He wrote this song to oppose the heavy cocaine use at the time of former friends Morris Day and Vanity.

      • I’ve never listened to Lyfe Jennings. I’ll have to check him out.

        Lol. Yep, you always know the right Prince songs to mention. I really like Pop Life. I didn’t know it was aimed at Vanity and Morris though. Thanks for the info.

      • Latifah dropped the bomb with that song. I agree, best ever and hip hop classic. Lyfe isn’t an award winning artist, by no means, but the brother drops real conversation on many of his records. You will laugh at this, but I used his song S.E.X to discuss sex with my oldest daughter when she was younger. Lol. It worked and she understood the message I tried to give. Three of my fave Lyfe Jennings songs (the woman in the S.E.X. video was found murdered in her hometown).

      • Wow, Don, those are interesting songs. I’m really shocked that “Statistics” wasn’t a real popular song. Especially among women. It seems like the type of song that would have generated a lot of conversations.

        Does he ever top the charts? Is he more popular with men or women?

      • I attended a Lyfe Jennings concert around one year ago and it wasn’t packed or anything, moderately more women than men. Many people say he cannot sing, so he doesn’t appeal to them. But with myself I tend to focus more on the lyrics and whatever message. He’s popular on the underground, not mainstream, Lyfe served 10 years in prison before signing a recording contract and returned for a short stint a few years ago. That might be the distaste many people share for him as a person. I think S.E.X. Charted and the song with Fantasia.

  6. Well you already KNOW HOW I FEEL About Public Enemy Though (MmmHmm…) And NO didn’t wear DAT GEAR… S/O to The Prince Reference(s) #DatDudeIsGOAT

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