A lot of immediately "classic" albums came out in 1991. Not only has it become a touchstone year for grunge, it also marks a milestone for mainstream hip-hop. While most media outlets are obsessing over the deluxe anniversary boxset for Nirvana's Nevermind, some gripping documentaries like Pearl Jam 20 (by Cameron Crowe) and Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (by Michael Rapaport) are hitting small screens across the country.
For now, here's a pair of music videos from twenty years back: a very dated but no less thrilling music video for Pearl Jam's "Even Flow" (skip ahead to 3:47 if you're getting impatient) and an outmoded video for A Tribe Called Quest's "Check the Rhyme." For me, both clips perfectly capture early nineties zeitgeist: the optimism, the over-the-top aesthetics, and the impulse towards innovation. Pearl Jam tapped into something that sounded primordial and at times universal, while ATCQ pushed the envelope in hip-hop production, with surprising samples and clever rhymes.