Music Friday: Mama Said Knock You Out

As I’ve mentioned many times already, our generation doesn’t really have a voice, but whenever people try to look for it, they look to the 90s. There was a fundamental shift in pretty much every musical genre that occurred sometime between 1989 and 1992: Nirvana replaced Poison, NWA replaced MC Hammer, and even Madonna decided that wearing her underwear on the outside wasn’t going quite far enough as the age of Debbie Gibson came to a close. Perhaps this change isn’t quite as dramatic as I make it out to be: maybe there are changes like this all the time and I’m only aware of this one because it corresponded to the years that I was in high school. But 20 years later, Atlantic articles about Gen X keep referencing grunge as a defining aspect of our generation, so even if I am seeing something that isn’t there, more influential writers than I are doing the same thing.
As this change was underway, existing artists were scrambling to redefine their images before they became obsolete. MC Hammer was suddenly a gangster. Warrant was grunge. Vanilla Ice was grunge. Bon Jovi got a haircut. But one artist decided he’d stick to who he was but just hit harder. This song was released 23 years ago this month.

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