For this hip-hop flashback to 1994, we take a look at a variety of rap/hip-hop charts spanning various times throughout that wonderfully rich twelve months in hip-hop history twenty two years ago. Including singles, extended plays and album releases, these charts or lists are comprised of both national and regional (with a focus on Bay Area), and based on either sales figures or radio airplay. Since the charts listed are not for all of 1994 and tallying year end figures, but rather sample charts from various weeks or months throughout that year, they tends to give a better overall (or at least alternative) view of hip-hop in the Nine Fo'
compared to the usual "best of '94 hip-hop" lists of releases you find online. Interspersed with some corresponding music videos, the 1994 charts culled from several different sources. Among the 1994 charts below is one from longtime leading music industry magazine Billboard
. Based on retail sales from the week ending September 17th, 1994, it is their Top 40 "Hot Rap
" singles chart. That the music industry publication referred to the genre as "rap" and not "hip-hop" demonstrated how the music was still generally referred, even in '94. Another Billboard chart (albeit not strictly rap) below is their "Regional Heatseekers #1's"
chart that highlighted buzz-worthy, hot selling, num
ber one charting releases from various regions round the country. Rappin' 4-Tay
was number one in the Pacific region Also below is the first top 20 of a top 40 Gavin Rap
chart from now defunct, San Francisco based, radio trade industry magazine Gavin Report
. and compiled by rap editor Thembisa Mshaka
.There's three charts from the long gone Oakland one-stop distributor Music People
(who owned In-A-Minute Records
) whose former employee (later DogDay Records
co-founder) Jo Treggiari
prepared the three charts below: "Down In Our Hood
" which was all local Bay Area (including a lot of carry over from '93 releases). "MINI'S
" which was singles and cassingles (cassettes as it was still middle of the 90's), and "MAXI'S
" which were EPs or more typically extended single versions with formats including cassette, CD, and vinyl.
The other charts included are from the (long gone but still missed) Leopold Records
on Durant Ave. in Berkeley near the UC campus and Amoeba Berkeley
(in fact many former Amoebites worked there). Leopold's was legendary for hip-hop fans. People would travel from all over the East Bay and beyond to shop at the amazingly well stocked store for their in-depth, exhaustive choices of both local indie and national releases. Consequently what homegrown music was popular with Bay hip-hop fans is reflected in their "Local Legends"
full-length albums top 30 list from June of '94. The mid 1994 published list included a lot of 1993 carry over releases as well as the 1994 album via Sic Wid It/Jive
from Celly Cel: Heat 4 Yo Azz
which was their hot-pick "Bump of the Month
." Note that most Bay Area albums listed on that chart were on CD and cassette only with not that many vinyl formatted. At this stage Bay Area was less vinyl oriented than hip-hop coming out back East. Other '94 charts below include the Top Ten KMEL
radio airplay based one from the first week in September that note includes some R&B as well as rap/hip-hop.
Another radio chart is one from my old KUSF
San Francisco radio show charts from February 1994. You will notice how many names show up repeatedly on different charts. These include artists such as Fillmore, San Francisco's Rappin' 4 Tay
, Queensbridge legend Nas
, and San Francisco's Herm Lewis
. Activist/artist Lewis curated the Tryin To Survive In The Ghetto: San Francisco Compilation
which, although released in '93 was a sleeper that blew up into '94 on a local and national level. And his Bay rap compilation was not alone since, it being '94 when the West Coast era of rap (with lots of G-Funk and more) was well underway, there's numerous more Left Coast artists included in these charts such as Eazy-E
, Warren G, Ice Cube, South Central Cartel, Above The Law,
. Further being it was the tail end of the genre's so-called "golden era," it consequently included such records as Gang Starr
's "Dwyck." It was also the year in which Bad Boy
was beginning its chart reign with former secular rapper Craig Mack
's "Flava In Ya Ear" via Puff Daddy
's then one year old Bad Boy Entertainment r
ecord label leading the charge as the label's first single. That video is immediately below and followed by the chart from Billboard with it as its number entry.