Hip-hop media and journalism changes along with the advancement of technology. That means way more pixels and way less paper. However, it’s hard not to gush over how it all started.

Let’s think back to a time before Soundcloud links. The year was 1997 and “newbies” Missy Elliot, Mase, and Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz released their debut albums. R&B songstress Erykah Badu had just went platinum for her album, ‘Live’ which featured her radio hit, “Call Tyrone”, and both Biggie and Tupac’s labels released albums for the first time following their deaths.

The 90’s was a defining year for hip-hop and ironically was a decade where hip-hop didn’t get much love from the mainstream. However, The Source was there championing artist for their contributions to the genre while-hip-hop was rapidly gaining popularity all over the world. In due time, hip-hop became and still remains one of the most popular and arguably,authentic genre of music in the U.S.

So how does this relate to hip-hop today? Plainly put, without the past there would be no present. 20 years ago this year, in 1997, artist were planting the seeds for hip-hop so that the music can continue to thrive in our omnipresent digital landscape. All the while, The Source has been there capturing the good, bad, and indifferent, unapologetically. We can confidently say we’ve been hand and hand with hip-hop since the beginning and it’s been a journey of unconditional love.

To celebrate, we’re traveling down memory lane and sharing covers that turned 20 years old this year. The likes of Jay Z, The Fugees, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Master P, and lots of others flicked it up for the culture and created timeless hip-hop moments. Check out the gallery below for more.

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