For Millennials, folk who are currently between 27–42 years old, especially those on the older end of that spectrum, the fact that we are currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauder” album must have them feeling a little… dare I say… old?
I mean, it feels like just yesterday when the entire planet was revolving around Millennials. Every article, every news report, every business wanted to know what are Millennials reading, watching, eating, doing? Where do Millennials travel? What social media platforms do these Millennials prefer?
Churches lamenting the exodus of “young folk” invested much time and effort into trying to figure out how to attract and retain them pesky Millennials.
But these days, regarding Millennials, what you hear is crickets (i.e. nothing). The world has shifted its focus to Gen Z, which must have Millennials feeling some kinda way. And then here comes this article, celebrating the 30th anniversary of things that went down in 1993. 1993!
In 1993, those folk we classify as Millennials were between the ages of newborns and 12 years old. And now, today, they’re going through that rite of passage that all generations before them had to go through. That transition from being the center of the universe to being less than an afterthought… at least in the minds of business marketing types. [editor’s note: Gen Xers, parents of Millennials, have always been treated like an afterthought. The “Greatest” Generation was followed by Baby Boomers. Each of these received all the love. Then, Madison Avenue and politicians focused their attention on Millennials, totally skipping Gen X, which, FYI, is truly the greatest generation of all time. But I digress.]
So, this look back into “the olden days” might be a little painful for some Millennials, or just a cheerful look back into their youth. Either way, here’s my list of top 30th Anniversary 1993 events/moments (offered in no certain order).
A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauder” album – A classic album/CD from a classic group. Nuff said.
Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers – With this album/CD, the world of hip hop, and the world in general, would never be the same. Why? Because “Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthin’ ta f*ck wit.”
“Reachin’ (A New Refutation)” by Digable Planets – This here masterpiece was so original, yet so old school, Digable Planets seemed to create a genre and movement all their own. Though they never had the commercial success many predicted after “Reachin’,” they created a cult following that is “the troof.” And their jams off this piece will live forever. How do I know? Because as you’re reading this, you can literally hear “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” playing in your head. Tell me I’m lyin’.
“Janet” by Janet Jackson – If you want to see/hear an argument, be foolish enough to say out loud which Janet Jackson album you believe is her greatest. I’ll start. It’s her 1993 release “Janet.” Hands down. Sure, folk will point to “Control,” thinking that was her first album. It wasn’t. But it was her first album produced by the legendary team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (original members of The Time). “Control” moved Janet out of the realm of The Jacksons’ baby sister and into a force in her own right. Others contend “Rhythm Nation 1814” is tops. And those folk have a solid case—jam after jam! Still, others prefer Janet’s “Velvet Rope.” That’s a bad piece of work right there. But I still lead towards “Janet.” It’s one of those rare albums/CDs you could listen to from beginning to end with zero letdown in song quality. It’s her classic.
Plantation Lullabies by Meshell Ndegeocello – For folk in the music world (musicians mainly), Meshell Ndegeocello is beyond beloved and respected and revered. Check out her body of work. And also check out the gazillion artists who fought to get her to jam on their albums, or for the opportunity to appear on one of hers. I’m a professional writer, and I can’t find the words to adequately describe the brilliance of Ndegeocello and the level of love and respect she has from her peers. Her commercial success with “the masses” has been beyond respectable, yet never coming anywhere close to the reverence-level deference fellow musicians have for her. And in 1993, she came out with her debut album, “Plantation Lullabies,” a title which should have signaled to us that something different and special was about to go down.
South Africa adopts majority rule constitution – This one may not have been on Millennials’ radar, but it f’sho was on the minds of their older kin. Apartheid South Africa was a real thing. I protested on my undergrad college campus to push them to divest from that racist regime, and to raise awareness about South Africa’s political prisoners, Nelson Mandela being one of them. So, that constitutional change in 1993, moving from minority to majority rule, was a big deal.
Bombing of the World Trade Center – For many, this event was the first time “terrorism” visited the US. I say “for some,” because that’s how the media covered it. Blackfolk have been experiencing terrorism from the first days we arrived on these shores. But even for us, seeing the World Trade Center, the center of… well, world trade…bombed was new and unusual. We were used to seeing such bombing happen on foreign shores. So, to see it go down in New York was eye-opening.
Federal agents siege Branch Davidian cult/compound – This put Waco on the map… in a bad way. And for many whitefolk, it was the first time they looked cross-eyed at US law enforcement.
“Poetic Justice” – Janet Jackson. Regina King, Tupac Shakur. Joe Torry. Tyra Ferrell. Jenifer Lewis. Roger Guenveur Smith. Michael Colyar. Maya Angelou. The Last Poets. Tone Loc. Q-Tip. John Singleton (director). C’mon now.
The Hits/The B Sides by Prince – For many, the 90s is considered a “lost decade” for Prince… even though he continued to produce music like no other. But his 1993 release “The Hits/The B Sides” served as a reminder that His Royal Badness was still the baddest brother on the block.
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed to the SCOTUS – The Original RBG
- From the Mint Factory by Mint Condition – C’mon now. The year 1993, for many, was the year they were introduced to the M-I-N-T. Sure, their first album came out in 1991 and contained the smash hit “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes).” And sure, before that, they were legendary on the college circuit, especially at Howard U. in DC. But, their sophomore release put them on the path to cementing their role as a great R&B band… the last of the great R&B bands, in fact.
- “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – Then President Bill Clinton agrees to compromise on the military’s ban on homosexuals. This policy change signaled a shift in society’s perception of members of the LGBTQ+ community. With where we are as a society right now, this move may not seem like a big deal. But without it, society may not be where we are right now. Also, the phrase “Don’t ask, don’t tell” entered the lexicon and is still used to this day.
- “Sons of Soul” by Tony! Toni! Tone! – This work right here may have been their best.