Bay Rising: Oakland Music’s Moment in the Sun, 30 Years Later

On February 12, 1990, rapper MC Hammer released his third album, Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt Em. Thanks to the mega-hit “U Can’t Touch This,” it would go on to spend 21 nonconsecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard charts—still the only rap album to achieve this feat—and remains one of the top five best-selling rap albums in history. It was also the first time a rap album was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. The following month, on March 20, rap group Digital Underground released its debut album, Sex Packets, propelled by the hilarious, raunchy “The Humpty Dance,” which went platinum. Just a few weeks later, on April 3, another spectacular debut album was released, En Vogue’s Born to Sing, which featured the hit song “Hold On” and introduced the world to still-unmatched vocal-harmony pyrotechnics. On May 8, R&B phenoms Tony! Toni! Toné! released their second album, The Revival, scoring major hits with “Feels Good,” “It Never Rains (in Southern California),” and “Whatever You Want.

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