18 Years in Rap


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In 1995, 3,892,000 babies were born in the United States. That's a lot of babies! Learn more.

O. J. Simpson

‬In 1995, the world was glued to their television sets during O. J. Simpson's trial for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. The Football Hall-of-Famer had hired a team of high-powered lawyers. They succeeded in proving him innocent, using the now-famous argument: “If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.” (A glove found at the scene of the crime was a key piece of evidence.) Learn more.

Rescue workers at the scene in Oklahoma City

‬In 1995, American terrorists set off a bomb in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. One hundred sixty-eight people were killed. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States until the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Timothy McVeigh and his friend Terry Nichols were convicted of the crime. McVeigh was executed in 2001. Learn more.

President Clinton holds peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat

‬Israelis and Palestinians "share" a small piece of land in the Middle East, though they don't often share it very peacefully. Israel holds most of the power, but did cede administration of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in 1994. Learn more.

Planning sketches for the lovable aliens from "Toy Story"

What do your toys do when you leave the room? The movie "Toy Story" by Pixar won hearts while answering that question. And it was the first completely computer-animated film. Learn more.


‬Dolly the sheep was the first clone of an adult mammal. That means that she had the exact same DNA as another sheep. Learn more.

Pokemon characters cover a plane.

‬Pokemon video games for Nintendo's Game Boy were released in 1995. The little cartoon monsters from the game soon became famous worldwide through trading cards, cartoons and movies. Only the Mario series has generated more money as a game-based media franchise. Learn more.

A Korean protest against the import of American beef during the "Mad Cow" crisis

‬“Mad cow” was the nickname given a disease found in British cattle. It can cause a human brain disease if people eat the infected beef. Suddenly, people weren't so sure about eating hamburgers at barbecues. Learn more.

A Tupac mural

‬Tupac Shakur was a popular and innovative American rapper. In 1996, he was shot and killed, though new albums were released in his name long after his death. Learn more.

Biggie stencil art

Notorious B.I.G. was an American rapper who released the platinum album Ready to Die. He was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1997. Learn more.

Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta

‬Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris while being hounded by the paparazzi. She became a worldwide celebrity when she married Britain's Prince Charles in 1981. She was beloved for her community service around the world. Learn more.

Mother Teresa

‬Mother Teresa was a Catholic missionary who won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her profound work with the sick and poor. In 2003, Pope John Paul II named her a Catholic saint. Learn more.

The Mars rover hits a rock.

The Mars Exploration Rover, named Spirit, landed on Mars and sent back the first color images of the red planet. We were able to confirm that it is actually red! Learn more.

In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin started a little company called Google. They created the search engine while they were graduate students at Stanford. Since then, the company has grown immensely, and is valued at more than $35 billion dollars. Learn more.

Matthew Shepard

‬Matthew Shepard was violently beaten and left to die because he was gay. His death was called a hate crime, and news about his killing drew attention to the prevention of violence against homosexuals. In 2009, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime laws. Learn more.

A memorial library for the victims of the Columbine shooting.

‬On April 20, 1999, students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, with guns and explosives. They killed 12 students and a teacher, and then killed themselves. It was the deadliest school shooting to date. The whole nation mourned for Columbine. Learn more.

Clinton, in a more positive moment

‬President Bill Clinton faced an impeachment trial for lying under oath about a relationship with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Congress voted to keep him in office, but the incident provided a major distraction for American citizens. Learn more.

The official logo from the government's Y2K preparedness website

In the early days of computing, when people recorded dates, they only used two digits. So instead of writing "1959," they'd write "59." As a result, people were concerned that when the year 2000 arrived, computers--and anything that contained a computer ranging from clocks to planes to nuclear power plants--would think that it was 1900 and stop working. This problem was called Y2K. Some people prepared for the worst with safety shelters and massive food stocks, but thanks to the work of programmers, there were no major disruptions. Learn more.

Bush v. Gore

‬The 2000 presidential election was the closest vote in United States history. On election night, news anchors reported that Democrat Al Gore was the winner. Gore won the most popular votes. But because of laws related to the Electoral College, Republican George W. Bush was declared the winner instead. His win was determined by a very, very close vote in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The vote was so close, the Supreme Court was asked to weigh in. The justices ruled in Bush's favor. Learn more.


After 10 years of work, and international team of scientists revealed the map of the entire human genome in 2001. They had cracked the code to determine the way that DNA comes together to make a human. The results of the genome mapping had important implications for modern medicine, while also raising ethical questions about eugenics. Learn more.

The original iPod

‬Remember when you had to choose a few CDs to take with you on a trip? No? Well, that's because Apple's iPod has changed the way people transport their music. Learn more.

The Twin Towers under attack

‬On September 11, 2001, foreign terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. This was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil. Nearly 3,000 people were killed. Learn more.

Osama bin Laden

‬Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks. The United States would spend the better part of the next decade looking for him. That included invading Afghanistan to try and overthrow the Taliban, as President Bush didn't want the U.S. to make a distinction between terrorists and the governments that harbored them. Learn more.

President Bush addresses the press

‬President George W. Bush created a 10-year tax cut program. It featured the largest tax cuts in 20 years. After the September 11th terrorist attacks, the country's surplus quickly turned into a deficit. President Bush also called Iran, Iraq and North Korea an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address because he believed that their governments supported terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. Learn more.

Kelly Clarkson is still popular 10 years later.

American Idol is a television program where singers compete for a recording contract. Each week contestants sing, and Americans vote for their favorites. Kelly Clarkson won the first year. Since it began, it's become enormously popular, and it has also spawned numerous imitations like The Voice and The X Factor. And more people vote for the winners than for president of the United States. Learn more.

An American soldier in Iraq

‬In March 2003, President Bush sent troops to Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to bring down Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The United States was joined by NATO forces. They found Hussein, and he was sentenced to death, but it turned out that the WMDs never existed. Learn more.

A memorial for the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded and disintegrated while re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. All seven crew members were killed in the disaster. Learn more.

Refugees in Darfur

‬The Sudanese government responded to two Darfuri rebel movements by destroying more than 400 villages and forcing millions of people to leave their homes. The government targeted ethnic groups who supported rebels. Approximately 300,000 people were killed during this genocide. Learn more.

‬In 2003, Hispanic people surpassed African-American people to become the largest minority group in the United States. Learn more.

The Finding Nemo parade at Disney World

After its success with "Toy Story," Pixar continued to make many critically acclaimed computer-animated films. 2003 saw the popular undersea tale, "Finding Nemo." Learn more.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney win again.

‬After battling Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 election, Republican George W. Bush won the presidency again. It was a very close election, second only to the 2000 election between Bush and Al Gore. But this time, Bush won the popular vote, too. Learn more.

Devastation from the tsunami

‬An enormous tsunami, caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the ocean, hit the coast of Indonesia in 2004. Over 10,000 people were killed by the effects of the massive wave. Learn more.

Reverse the curse!

‬The Boston Red Sox won Major League Baseball's World Series in 2004 for the first time since 1918. And they won with panache, coming back from a three-game deficit to the Yankees in the playoffs. Learn more.

Flocabulary's Facebook page

‬Mark Zuckerberg launched the social networking website Facebook from his dorm at Harvard University in 2004. In January 2011, the site had more than 600 million users. Learn more.

Inspecting homes flooded to the roof

‬Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. When walls around the low-lying city failed, large areas were flooded. Nearly 2,000 people were killed, and entire sections of the city were destroyed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to effectively respond to the devastating damage of Hurricane Katrina. This failure to act hurt thousands of New Orleans residents in the aftermath of the hurricane. Learn more.

Pope John Paul II in Brazil

Pope John Paul II died in 2005 at the age of 85. He was the Pope from 1978 to 2005, making him the second-longest serving Pope in history. During that time, he visited 129 countries. Learn more.

Roger Clemens was accused of using steriods

‬2005 was the year when America really woke up to how big a drug problem major-league baseball had developed. That year witnessed a grand jury on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, a tell-all book or two, and players admitting to using steroids to enhance their playing ability. Some of baseball's biggest stars, including famous home-run hitters Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, were implicated in the scandal. Learn more.

Playing the Wii lets you get active.

‬Nintendo released a new game console called the Wii. The game system allowed players' physical movements to affect game play. Learn more.

Saddam Hussein

‬American soldiers captured Saddam Hussein, the former president of Iraq, in 2005. He was sentenced to death for his infractions against his people. Learn more.

The different generations of iPhones

‬Apple released the iPhone, and tech geeks went wild for the sleek and stylish smartphone. Since then, Apple has sold millions of iPhones, and in 2012, Apple was selling more iPhones per day than babies born in the world per day. Smartphones have changed the way that many people communicate, consume information and more. Learn more.

Many homes had signs like this out front.

During the early 2000s, more people began using subprime mortgages to purchase houses, and these households began to take on more and more debt. When house sales prices started to drop, many people with subprime mortgages suddenly owed more money than their homes were worth and many had to foreclose. This housing crisis was part of the cause of the recession. Learn more.

Nancy Pelosi

‬After Democrats gained a majority in the 2006 election, Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Learn more.

President Barack Obama

‬Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in 2008. He is the first African American elected to the American presidency. Learn more.

Phelps, center, with one of his many gold medals

‬American swimmer Michael Phelps won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. He works out so much that he consumes 12,000 calories worth of food everyday. That's about six times as much as a typical person eats. And what kind of music does he listen to on his iPod right before he swims? Hip-hop. Learn more.

It all started here.

‬Banks make bets. They invest and hope those investments pay off. When big banks invested in subprime mortgages and the value of homes started falling, banks were in a lot of trouble. Lehman Brothers collapsed, though other banks were bailed out by the government. The economy took a turn for the worse, and many people lost their jobs. Learn more.

The building may look peaceful, but inside, there were endless arguments.

‬President Obama created a stimulus plan to help reinvigorate the struggling American economy. The results of the plan were mixed, though most economists agree that it helped assuage the effects of the recession. Learn more.

There's water here!

In 2009, NASA reported that it found "a significant amount" of water on the moon. Since water is necessary for life, this finding opens up the possibility of a lunar space station. Learn more.

Michael Jackson

‬Singer Michael Jackson died at age 50. People around the world who had loved his lifetime of music making mourned his passing. Learn more.

The explosion at Deepwater Horizon

An oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico not only killed 11 people and disrupted the ecosystem, but also caused an oil spill that took months of international effort to clean up. It was the largest oil spill off the coast of the United States in history. Learn more.

Earthquake destruction

‬A magnitude 7 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, and destroyed the city. A worldwide relief effort to help the newly homeless people of Haiti began. Learn more.

A miner emerges.

‬Thirty-three miners in Chile were all saved after being trapped underground for over two months. The world celebrated. Learn more.

A protester at Occupy Wall Street

A revolution in Egypt set off a string of revolutions against unjust leaders in other Arab nations. And then the protests spread to the U.S. Occupy Wall Street began at its namesake location in New York during the fall, and over the course of a few months, morphed into a nationwide movement against income inequality. Protesters call themselves the "Other 99 percent," a reference to the fact that 1% of Americans earn 25% of all U.S. income, and in some cases pay lower tax rates. Some of the protests in major cities turned violent; for example, in Oakland riot police fired tear gas at protesters. Time Magazine even named the person of the year, "The Protester." Learn more.

Osama bin Laden

‬After hiding out for nearly 10 years after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Osama Bin Laden was killed by American forces in Pakistan in May, 2011. Learn more.

Thousands of protesters in Greece

Greece's debt has been hurting the entire European economy, with particular economic trouble spreading to its next-door neighbor, Italy. Many worried that the future of the European Union and the Eurozone could be at stake. Learn more.

Steve Jobs in his famous black turtleneck

Apple CEO Steve Jobs died in October after a struggle against liver cancer. The world remembered him for his technological contributions like the Mac or iPod that have changed many people's daily lives. Learn more.

Barack Obama took the oath of office again this January.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama won the election on November 6, earning him a second term as America's 44th president. While Romney won the support of more white people and older Americans, Obama won more support from women, young voters and minorities, which led him to victory. Learn more.

Sandy devastated the Northeast last fall.

Hurricane Sandy was one of the largest storms ever to hit the Northeast. Sandy made landfall on the evening of October 29 in New Jersey causing massive storm surges, flooding and widespread power outages. Over 70 deaths were blamed on the storm. Learn more.

President Obama poses for a photo with relatives of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

On December 14, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman committed suicide at the scene. Just five months earlier, James Holmes had killed 12 people and injured 58 more in a shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado. The nation was thrown once again into an intense debate over gun control the US. Learn more.

The finish line only one hour before the explosions

The Boston Marathon turned into tragedy when two explosions occurred near the finish line about four hours after the race began. Three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and more than 170 were injured. A manhunt for the suspects in the days following the bombing ended with one suspect killed and the other in custody. Learn more.

Pope Francis I

Saying his age and failing health were affecting his ability to lead, Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope to resign in 600 years. Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, taking the name of Francis, was elected as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the first Latin American and first non-European pope ever. Learn more.

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