At no time since the rock & roll explosion of the 1960s did music matter more than in the 1990s—the decade of grunge, gangsta rap and Britney Spears. The Nineties might have kicked off with Vanilla Ice, but music changed forever the following year when Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" exploded onto the airwaves, giving birth to the alternative nation. The decade spawned dozens of new stars (Pearl Jam, Eminem, Dave Matthews, Christina Aguilera and Jay-Z among them); top artists from U2 to Madonna made their most adventurous records; and hip-hop icons Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls met violent ends.
Rolling Stone was there to tell all those stories and more—and The '90s collects the best of them: the last major interview with Kurt Cobain, conducted by David Fricke three months before the Nirvana singer took his life in 1994; Jonathan Gold's 1993 trip to Compton to check in with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre; Carrie Fisher's intimate one-on-one with Madonna following her 1991 film, Truth or Dare; Kim Neely partying with a riot-starting Guns n' Roses in 1991; Anthony Bozza riding along with an Ecstasy-gobbling Eminem in 1999; and, that same year, Steven Daly's visit to the bedroom of a teenage Britney Spears.
Packed with over fifty stories, portraits by the biggest names in photography including Mark Seliger, David LaChapelle and Steven Meisel, and a guide to the decade's hundred greatest albums, The '90s is a definitive look back at the decade that rocked.