The I Love The ‘90s Tour Takes Us Back To Our Teen Years

by Nicole Johnson
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i love the '90s tour
Live Nation

This month kicks off the inaugural I Love the ’90s Tour which features ’90s hip-hop and R&B stars including Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa, Biz Markie, Color Me Badd, All-4-One, Rob Base, Tone Lōc, Young MC, and Kool Moe Dee. Initially the tour only had a handful of shows scheduled, but it became so popular that it led to the addition of several nationwide tour dates.

“It feels like you’re taking people back to a time in their lives that they really enjoyed,” Cheryl “Salt” James of Salt-N-Pepa explained to USA Today about the tour’s appeal. “It’s just one big ’90s party.” And James is right; we did enjoy those years. They were a part of a more simple time in our lives—before marriage, kids, jobs, and life—when we were teens growing up listening to our favorite songs and watching our favorite movies and television shows. This tour is a reminder of all those great moments.

I think back to one of the most memorable TV shows of the 1990s, Beverly Hills 90210. Color Me Badd appeared in the episode where Donna catches her mother cheating on her father, while Brenda and Kelly do their best to find the members of the all-male band. When they finally do, they enlist CMB to help cheer up Donna. The band comes back to the Peach Pit and performs a wonderfully memorable version of “Dream On.”

And who can forget the days of listening to Vanilla Ice? He single-handedly brought back the pompadour hairstyle and added his own twist—two-toned brown and platinum blonde. We secretly dropped everything and headed to the movies where we watched Cool as Ice with a handful of other brave and unembarrassed souls. Rob Van Winkle (aka Ice) lit up the stage with quotable lines like, “Drop that zero and get with the hero.” And while others dissed and dismissed Ice when they discovered he was a middle-class kid from Florida instead of a gangsta rapper, we didn’t care. We will never forget the days of cruising the beach while yelling out of open windows, “Ice Ice Baby too cold.”

We fondly recall the often raunchy and sexually charged jams with some of the most repeatable lyrics of the decade, like Tone Lōc’s “Wild Thing,” which we danced to at sleepovers while belting out every word, or like Rob Base’s “Joy and Pain,” which seemed an anthem for our teen years—a mix of both the amazing and the traumatic.

Now, all these years later, I share some of the less explicit ’90s rap with my tweens. We laugh as I sing off-key to Biz Markie, dance the Kid ‘n Play, and try to convince them that when I was young, this stuff was cool. I explain that these songs, these bands, meant something. I tell my daughter how inspired I felt by Salt-N-Pepa, one of the first female rap groups (along with Spinderella) to jump into the male-dominated world of hip-hop. I use them as another weapon in my arsenal when trying to teach her that girls and women can be and do anything.

This tour will allow those of us lucky enough to get our hands on tickets to step back in time. For one night, we will return to the 1990s to sing and dance along with the songs that played such a meaningful and entertaining role in our formative years.

The I Love the ’90s Tour will kick off on April 15 in Greenville, South Carolina, and run through October in select cities nationwide. More information can be found here.

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