That influence is sure to reach even greater heights when HBO airs its Cobain doc "Montage of Heck" on May 4.
So, how has Nirvana maintained its importance more than 20 years after Cobain's passing in '94? Wiz Khalifa might have the answer. As he put it, Cobain’s work continues to inspire because it’s simply timeless.
"I’m only 27 so when they were poppin’, I was really, really young,” Khalifa told MTV News. "But him as a writer, how he put his stuff together, it reaches so many people and so many ages. It’s just timeless.”
Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump agrees, but notes that he didn’t fully appreciate Cobain’s greatness until it was almost too late.
"In the era, I remember being like, ‘Eh, I don’t like Nirvana. I don’t like this. This isn’t for me,’” Stump recalled. "Toward the end, I started to realize, this is awesome. I was one of those jerk-little kids that was like, ‘Eh. Whatever's popular, I don’t like that.’"
"I realized almost too late that that was exactly what Kurt was into,” he continued. "He was like, ‘No, I don’t want us to be this big popular band.’ They came to kill hair metal. He was like the ultimate anti-rock star.”
Over time, Stump saw himself in Cobain because of that “anti-rock star” quality.
"That related to me a lot, and kind of informed a lot,” he said. "It’s hard to relate to musicians who act like gods. You know? It’s way different when they’re real people and you know that and that kind of comes through. And then, they’re kind of amazing in their own way. He’s like the ultimate of that hyper-relatable [star].”
Rock fans weren’t the only ones who could relate to Cobain. DJ Drama also found himself in awe when he first heard Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit."
“[It] was like nothing I had ever heard before,” he said. "I remember it was like the coming of Nirvana was the transition from heavy metal to grunge.
“When you think about the ‘90s, Kurt Cobain is one of those symbols just as [Tupac Shakur] is,” Drama, who's joining Wiz and Fall Out Boy in their "Boys of Zummer Tour" this June, added. "So outspoken. And just through the music, even the harmonies of Nirvana and his song patterns touched everybody. It crossed genres in so many ways.”
That influence remained strong even after Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994.
"I remember going to school in high school the day after he passed away,” Pete Wentz said. "There were kids who had Ks written on their hands. I remember where I was. Kurt and Nirvana was one of those few moments in music that we got live through where everything was different after Nirvana."