The Big '80s may get all the hype, but this summer, the '90s get all the love.
Several tours filled with artists who made their biggest mark during that decade are roaming the country this summer. A lot of the groups in these bundle tours were considered novelty acts. But more than a few of them advanced the art, pushing their individual genres to groups of people whose ears hadn't heard the good news.
These tours may be roaming, but the only thing they're in search of are venues big enough to hold the hordes of people waiting to hear their favorite jams live. (Plus, there's a prize at the end of this post.)
I Love the 90s Tour
This group of performers took hip-hop to a different level than their predecessors. The word "pioneer" is thrown around a lot, but some of these are for real. Salt-N-Pepa walked the walk with songs about empowerment and attitude. Kid N Play carved an empire by parlaying their songs into even hotter movies with the House Party franchise. And Rob Base and Young MC can eat forever off their inescapable hits; you still can't get away from "It Takes Two" and the Grammy-winning "Bust a Move."
Lineup: Salt-N-Pepa With Spinderella; Kid N Play; Coolio; All-4-One; Color Me Badd; Rob Base; and Young MC
Big hits: "Let's Talk About Sex," "Shoop"; "Ain't Gonna Hurt Nobody," "Rolling With Kid 'N Play"; "Gangsta's Paradise"; "I Swear"; "I Wanna Sex You Up"; "It Takes Two"; and "Bust a Move"
Required Listening: "None of Your Business," "Expression"; "Gittin' Funky "; "1 2 3 4 (Sumpin New)"; "Thinkin' Back"; and "Joy N' Pain"
Who did we miss? Vanilla Ice was helped kick off the tour but isn't on the bill for a hometown visit.
The Art of Rap Festival
Live Nation officially canceled this show on July 13.
Let me tell you a story about a man named Ice-T. He had an idea. He went around the country talking hip-hop with those who know it better than anyone else. And he filmed it, calling it Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap. Most of the artists on this bill only deal with calls to action. I'm here for this history lesson.
Lineup: Ice-T; Public Enemy; Grandmaster's Furious Five; Naughty By Nature; Mobb Deep; Kurtis Blow; MC Lyte; EPMD; Sugarhill Gang; and Busy Bee
Big hits: Law & Order: SVU, "Colors"; "The Message"; "Fight the Power"; "O.P.P."; "Shook Ones"; "The Breaks"; "Ruffneck"; "Crossover"; and "Rapper's Delight"
Required listening (and viewing): Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap (2012,R, 106 mins.); the original rap battle of Busy Bee vs. Kool Moe Dee; "Can't Do Nuttin' For Ya, Man!"
Gwen Stefani: This is What the Truth Feels Like Tour
One might think that you have us on a technicality here. A-ha! But Gwen Stefani was catapulted to stardom by ultimate '90s group No Doubt. And when you add Eve to the lineup, the tour just gets '90s-ier. Though Stefani's megahit "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" with the "pitbull in a skirt" rapper was released in 2001, both women wouldn't have had a platform to stand on if not for their success in the previous decade. When they got together, it was like, "Whoa."
Lineup: Gwen Stefani; Eve
Big hits: "Don't Speak"; "Love Is Blind," "Gotta Man" on debut album Let There Be Eve ... Ruff Ryders' First Lady
Missing in action: Ja Rule would have been perfect on this tour.
Required listening: "Spiderwebs"; "Ruff Ryders Anthem," "What Ya Want" and "Who's That Girl"
Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour
Sean 'Diddy' Combs amassed talent on Bad Boy as if he were preparing for a hip-hopalypse. And they delivered the decade to him. It's one of the most anticipated tours of the summer. On a recent appearance on the Today show summer concert series, the crowd filled with all ages was singing along and dancing as if the songs were chart fresh. A more jaded industry crowd at the BET Awards had done the same in 2015. The songs have held up all these years. It'll be nice to see if the artists have, too.
Lineup: Puff Daddy; Lil Kim; Mase; Faith Evans; Mario Winans; 112; Total; Carl Thomas; The Lox; and French Montana
Big Hits: Are you kidding? OK, well, if I must ... "Bad Boy for Life," "Mo Money, Mo Problems," "All About the Benjamins," "Been Around the World," "I'll Be Missing You," "Peaches and Cream," "Can't You See," "Emotional," "Soon As I Get Home," "Pop That," "Get Money"
Missing in action: Junior M.A.F.I.A., of course, and Craig Mack
Required listening: "Lighters Up," "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down," "Player's Anthem," "Twisted," "You Used to Love Me," "Money, Power & Respect," "Flava in Ya Ear"
And, here's your prize: a playlist.