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NPR (Interview)

This year marks the 20th anniversary of a remarkable year in hip-hop. Over the 12 months of 1993, Dr. Dre, De La Soul, Salt ‘n’ Pepa, Snoop Dogg, A Tribe Called Quest, the Wu-Tang Clan and more than a dozen other rap artists released or promoted albums that helped to change the sound of America.

One of those was the debut of the rap group ONYX — whose raucous single “Slam” became an unlikely hit on MTV and pop radio. The song was on the leading edge of a media change of heart.

In 1990, MTV and pop radio sounded like Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On.” Excluding specialty shows like Yo! MTV Raps, the occasional rap song that received airplay alongside Wilson Phillips and Whitney Houston sounded something like MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”

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