The golden age is a term oft-used in hip-hop, but it's appropriate across music genres. As Public Enemy, Naughty By Nature and De La Soul released strings of classics in 1991, rock outfits like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and R.E.M. were doing the same in their respective fields. Three of the year's best albums, A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory, Red Hot Chili Peppers's Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Nirvana's Nevermind, all hit stores on September 24, 1991— each making a massive impact of their own. Tribe's sophomore set helped usher in hip-hop and jazz fusion and Chili Peppers laid a blueprint for rap rock years before the sub-genre's late '90s explosion— Anthony Kiedis's delivery on several songs including BSSM's lead single "Give It Away," was undeniable rap-influenced. Meanwhile, Nirvana—in conjunction with other grunge releases in '91— put a nail in hair metal's coffin. XXL compares the three timeless works 20 years after their release.—XXL Staff