And while The Notorious B.I.G. began a monumental career in 1994, other artists did, too — artists that should be considered for Rock Hall induction, and hopefully will someday. Here are 13 artists that started out in 1994 but were just snubbed by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in their first eligible year:
1994 Debut: Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
Not only has the duo of Andre 3000 and Big Boi made a seismic impact on the mainstream — from “Hey Ya!” to “Ms. Jackson” to the landmark triumph of 2003’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below at the Grammy Awards — but their idiosyncratic brand of hip-hop has influenced a generation of rappers sonically and stylistically. It also holds up: full-lengths like Stankonia and Aquemini are considered some of the most essential works in hip-hop history.
1994 Debut: Illmatic
While Nasir Jones has enjoyed a fruitful quarter-century as a rap artist, his 1994 debut Illmatic remains one of the most dynamic and fully formed debut albums of all time, across any genre. “N.Y. State of Mind,” “Life’s a Bitch” and “The World is Yours” have shaped the approach of countless New York emcees that have followed in Nas’ path.
1994 Debut: Blunted on Reality
Although the trio of Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras were not together for long, their influence on modern hip-hop and R&B music is undeniable: their Grammy-winning 1996 album The Score boasted smashes like “Ready or Not,” “Fu-Gee-La” and a timeless cover of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” that effectively paved the way for Hill’s solo superstardom later that decade.
1994 Debut: Mellow Gold
While Beck technically released his independent debut Golden Feelings in 1993, the following year’s Mellow Gold — featuring the slacker anthem “Loser” — became his major label debut and introduction to the wider music industry. Since then, Beck Hansen has become a defining figure in the alternative music community and one of rock’s most consistent presences, with 13 studio albums — including the late-career triumph Morning Phase, the Grammy winner for album of the year in 2015.
1994 Debut: Definitely Maybe
Liam and Noel Gallagher are no longer on the best of terms, but when the brothers joined forces in the mid-‘90s to create Oasis, popular British music quaked and quickly reformed. The band conquered stadiums with songs like “Wondewall,” “Champagne Supernova” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” — all found on 1995 sophomore album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, a defining work of the Britpop era.
1994 Debut: “The New Wave”
After releasing a series of singles in the mid-‘90s, the Parisian house duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter became unlikely mainstream stars thanks to explorations of funk, robo-centric electronica and dance-pop. Daft Punk’s 2001 album Discovery was immediately a modern disco classic, and in 2013, they scored their biggest U.S. hit with “Get Lucky,” dominating the Grammy Awards one year later.
1994 Debut: Weezer (Blue Album)
Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Scott Shriner and Brian Bell came out swinging 25 years ago, bottling early-twenties angst into an immaculate power-pop collection (produced by the Cars’ Ric Ocasek, no less) with their debut album. While the “Blue Album” is widely regarded as a pristine alt-rock album, Weezer have continued touring and collecting radio hits — most recently with a popular cover of Toto’s “Africa.”
1994 Debut: Roman Candle
Elliott Smith towers over decades of indie rock songwriting thanks to the work completed between his 1994 debut and his untimely 2003 death. Both 1997’s Either/Or and 1998’s XO are widely considered masterpieces, showcasing Smith’s vulnerable thoughts and instrumental precision; although his career was not marked by hits, Smith did receive a well-earned Oscar nod for his Good Will Hunting song, “Miss Misery.”
1994 Debut: Dummy
Although they’ve only released three albums in 25 years, the music of Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley has endured long after the “trip-hop” fad that they helped define in the mid-‘90s. The group’s searingly emotional debut, Dummy, is considered one of the decade’s most indispensable indie releases, while 2008’s blistering Third earned raves as the end of Portishead’s long hiatus.
1994 Debut: Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number
Aaliyah Haughton’s life was tragically cut short by a plane crash in August 2001, in which the star perished at the age of 22; yet over the course of her too-short career, she had the vision to rethink the limits of popular R&B music. Hits like “Are You That Somebody?,” “Try Again” and “Back & Forth” demonstrate the sonic command that Aaliyah spread across her three full-lengths.
1994 Debut: Korn
Korn’s commercial apex at the end of the 1990s coincided with the rise of “nu-metal”; the timing will always confine hits like “Freak on a Leash,” “Falling Away From Me” and “Got the Life” to that period for many. Yet Jonathan Davis and co. have remained a constant presence in hard rock, with 12 of their 13 studio albums — including recent release The Nothing — reaching the top 10 of the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Hootie & The Blowfish
1994 Debut: Cracked Rear View
There’s a reason why an early episode of Friends centered on the group’s feverish desire to attend a Hootie & The Blowfish concert: led by Darius Rucker’s indelible croon, the rock group was absolutely massive when they arrived with debut album Cracked Rear View. The band continued for a decade before Rucker pursued a solo country career, but a recent best-selling reunion tour proved that Hootie stills draws crowds by the thousand.
1994 Debut: Grace
Upon its release, Jeff Buckley’s only studio album, Grace, was deemed a commercial failure; since then, the 10-song masterwork has sold millions of copies and come to define a career cut short following its creator’s death at the age of 30 in 1997. Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has soundtracked several film projects and television shows long after the singer-songwriter’s passing.