Babies born in the late 80s, and a few years after, had the the pleasure of being raised in the magical time known as the ’90s. It was the decade that had the most official R&B music, the freshest (or at least most interesting?) gear, the most crucial dance moves, and the most in-your-face technological advances (who wasn’t walking around with a Walkman and thick CD case?). It was the decade that popularized pagers, floppy disks, finger waves, and tape decks. You better recognize. Here are things you knew about if you grew up in the 90s.
The Girl Group At Its Prime
It was the decade when girl groups stopped playing nice, grew up and started to get fed up with lame a** men. They stopped singing their praises and ballads of longing, and they started having frank conversations about sex, relationships and life. These women switched the game up, and girl groups have been venting their frustrations ever since (See: “No Scrubs” and “Waterfall” by TLC; “Bug-a-boo” by Destiny’s Child; “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “None of Your Business” by Salt-n-Pepa ft. Spinderella).
The Rivalries Were Epic…A Little Too Epic
Yes, the music scene was a place where talent thrived, but it was also an arena for battles. Listeners had a chance to hear MCs rip each other apart on a daily basis on wax and in a public domain; heightening audiences’ awareness of good wordplay and raw retaliation lyricism. Talent was everything in the ’90s. Now? Not so much (See: 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.; Foxy Brown and Lil’ Kim; the faux Brandy and Monica beef and the East Coast vs. West Coast drama).
More so than any decade, the ’90s managed to churn out an amazing amount of timeless black films, with relatable characters, charming casts, terrific scripts, and pleasurable aesthetics (See: “The Wood”; “Crooklyn”; “Waiting to Exhale”; “Poetic Justice”, “A Low Down Dirty Shame”; “Sister Act II” and more).
Positive Black Faces On Network Television
Nowadays, if you don’t have cable, good luck finding the faces of black families on scripted television. Of course, the ’90s was an entirely different animal, and there were enough black series on the screen during 90’s to do a full evening line up (See: “Martin,” “Living Single,” “Sister, Sister,” “The Cosby Show,” “Moesha,” “A Different World,” “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Hanging with Mr. Cooper”).
Beloved Antiquated Technology
The technology of the ’90s was revolutionary at the time: cassette tapes, VHS players, skip-resistant CD players, pagers and tape decks were all the rage. Of course, all of those things are sitting in basements now collecting dust.
Toys With Big Promises
Easy Bake Oven…the must-have tool for every little girl’s makeshift, imagination-driven kitchen. With one of these, who else was trying to replace their mother’s homemade cookies with their own toy-produced, 100-watt baked, coal-shaped brownies? Some other toys that weren’t quite as functional as we might’ve expected but were awesome include the Big Wheel and Moon Shoes. Whodathunk?
Fashion was on point in the ’90s…or at least, we thought it was when we were wearing our puffy First Down coats. The butterfly hair clips were caked in glitter, and the plastic choker necklaces were everything. The boys wore super baggy pants and jerseys (Fubu!) like all their favorite rappers, as well as bright colors S-curls to get curls like Ginuwine. And the long Aaliyah-esqe bang with hair swooped over the eye was hot, but that’s only when we weren’t rocking braids.
A Time When We Wanted Every Toy We Saw On TV
The countless toys that were advertised on commercials made us beg our parents for hours on in to have them. And when we got those toys, no matter how brilliant they were, we ended up dropping them into the black hole that was our closets eventually. The Home Alone-inspired Talkboy (or Talkgirl, which was pink), the Bop It, Slip ‘N Slide, Skip-It, Super Soakers and NERF guns were just some of the toys that were all the rage around Christmas, and then forgotten about by summer.
Put All Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See
From drawing that mysterious ‘S’ symbol all over everything to writing notes and playing a wide variety of hand games that we were all committed to, we did a lot of things with our hands for fun. Now, kids just use their hands to hold their phones and stay indoors to text.
The Best Live Action Animation Ever
“Space Jam”! Every kid everywhere was too excited to watch Michael Jordan take it to the hoop on a cohort of aliens. Already a hero to all who knew his name, Jordan won us over completely when he bested the extraterrestrial beasts (with the help of a dope soundtrack). Some other cool live action and animated movies from the decade include “Casper,” “Small Soldiers,” “The Indian in the Cupboard” and “Pagemaster.”
The Sick Slang
Let’s see if you remember the following: “bogus,” “crucial,” “all that and a bag of chips,” “bout it bout it,” “as if,” “chillin’,” “crib,”fly,” “no duh,” “oh snap,” “pick up your face,” “salty,” “step off,” and “what’s the 411.” All of these sayings were slang terms that just so happened to be everywhere during the ’90s. Today’s slang couldn’t hold a match to the quick phrases of yesteryear.
“Ghostwriter,” “Goosebumps,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” “Eerie, Indiana,” “Tales From the Crypt,” “The X-Files” and “Courage the Cowardly Dog” were all spooky shows that we couldn’t get enough of during the ’90s.
The Best Games And Icons
Carmen Sandiego, Mortal Kombat Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, the original Grand Theft Auto, Spyro and Tomb Raider…all huge in the ’90s; and the characters continue to be some of the most iconic names in video game history.
Books (And Book Clubs) Were Awesome
Animorphs, Goosebumps, Golden Compass and Harry Potter books are just a few examples of awesome books that those growing up in the ’90s had the chance to experience. And who else was out here reading their little heart out for a free pizza (shout out to the BOOK IT! program!)?
Lisa Frank was everything!!!!!!!
Seriously! The colors, the animals–everything about Lisa Frank’s lunchboxes, trapper keepers and stickers were fabulous.