The Chronic & The LA Riot – 20 years ago

Dr. Dre (right) with Snoop Dogg, who played a starring role on Dre's The Chronic. Here they pose after a 1993 performance in Chicago.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of a remarkable year in music. Over the 12 months of 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, Salt-N-Pepa and more than twenty other rap groups released albums that helped change the sound of America.

The flowering had roots in the cultural and social upheaval sparked by the Los Angeles riots the year before. Our series about rap’s greatest year begins with the album that started it all by drawing directly on the riots: Dr. Dre’s The Chronic.

In January 1993, there were still burned out buildings in South Central Los Angeles. It hadn’t been a year since the acquittal of four police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King. Anger at the verdict had not cooled, and you could hear it in the music on the radio, in songs like “Nuthin’ But A G Thang and “Dre Day,” singles off Dr. Dre’s solo debut, released mid-December, 1992. NPR Morning Edition)

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