- Aaliyah: ‘One In A Million’ ‘One In A Million’ was the fruit of Aaliyah’s first collaboration with Missy Elliott and Timbaland. A club ballad that fused elements of funk, electronica and trip-hop, and put Aaliyah’s ethereal vocals on full display, it was the perfect distillation of all the pervasive sounds of the era.
- Brandy: ‘I Wanna Be Down’ With its opening lyrics, “I would like to get to know if I could be… the kind of girl that you could be down for,” Brandy’s teenaged tentativeness ushered in a new era of R&B woman.
- Faith Evans: ‘Soon As I Get Home’ The widow of Notorious BIG, Faith Evans’s musical talent is often overshadowed by her personal life. But the church-choir-bred vocalist had a talent that was leaps and bounds beyond many of her peers.
- New Edition: ‘I’m Still In Love’ Having perfected the blueprint for early 90s R&B songs, New Edition proved they were no longer just a fresh-faced boy band and were all grown up with ‘I’m Still In Love’.
Although the R&B sound has changed over the last 30 years, the '90s sound is still sampled and appreciated by today's rising stars. In honor of one of music's most timeless eras, here's a list of ...
- The 25 greatest R&B songs of the '90s. Every so often, music industry executives, artists and fans will say, "R&B is dead" and then questions start to emerge, comparing today's R&B to its counterpart in the past.
- "Fantasy" – Mariah Carey ft. Ol' Dirty Bastard (1995) There is no doubt that Mariah Carey was a ruler of the '90s as one of top-selling artists of all time.
- "You Make Me Wanna…" – Usher (1997) R&B king Usher’s breakout single was the 1997 hit “You Make Me Wanna…” from his second album, “My Way.” The song was produced by Usher’s longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- "Are You That Somebody?" – Aaliyah (1998) In the mid-'90s, Aaliyah experimented with new sounds, thanks to the likes of Static Major, Missy Elliott and Timbaland.
- “Humpin’ Around” – Bobby Brown Album: Bobby Year: 1992 Known for misbehaving, Bobby’s ode to being a man-whore was a #1 hit R&B single in the early half of the decade.
- “Hold On” – En Vogue Album: Born To Sing Year: 1990 Everyone loves a good cover, and for these funky divas, their introduction to the world was singing Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You” intro before nailing a song that would allow their debut album to get some serious traction.
- “Don’t Walk Away” – Jade Album: Jade To The Max Year: 1993 Not only was this song a huge dance hit in ’93, but it got the ladies – in all their crop-top glory – on the Arsenio Hall show.
- “I Love Your Smile” – Shanice Album: Inner Child Year: 1991 With her girl-next-door charm, Shanice got one with this crossover hit that features a coy giggle from Janet Jackson at the end.
- Dru Hill, “In My Bed” (1996) Video via Youtube. Producer: Daryl Simmons, Ralph B. Stacy. Album: Dru Hill. Label: Island. Through the years we've heard Lotharios sing about the hurt they felt after discovering their loves were loving someone else.
- Sade, “No Ordinary Love” (1992) Video via Youtube. Producer: Sade Adu, Stuart Matthewman. Album: Love Deluxe. Label: Epic. Throughout the 1980s, Sade was such a singular R&B sensation, her voice is so otherworldly, a mother from another planet; which is to say, Britain.
- Zhané, “Hey Mr. DJ” (1993) Video via Youtube. Producer: Naughty by Nature, 118th Street Productions. Album: Pronounced Jah-Nay. Label: Motown. Riding high on Naughty by Nature’s second top 10 pop single, “Hip-Hop Hooray,” the group’s DJ and producer, Kay Gee, was looking to spread his wings.
- Tony! Toni! Toné! , “Feels Good” (1990) Video via Youtube. Producer: Tony! Album: The Revival. Label: Wing. "Play this record as frequently as possible."
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- Xscape, “Just Kickin’ It” (1993) After the release of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, R&B briefly swelled with acts that tried to replicate its unhurried lowrider tempo and neo-Blaxploitation funk.
- Michael Jackson, “Remember the Time” (1992) When the second single from Michael Jackson’s New Jack-embracing Dangerous initially came out, most of the attention went to its audacious, cameo-studded video, which was directed by John Singleton and featured the Gloved One’s first on-screen kiss (with Iman, who played an ennui-ridden queen).
- Groove Theory, “Tell Me” (1995) Amel Larrieux and Bryce Wilson’s debut single arrived during a fortuitous moment.
- Mint Condition, “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)” (1991) The lush, sprawling ballad from Mint Condition’s 1991 debut Meant to be Mint isn’t only an exquisite expression of how love (or, at least, infatuation) can rip one’s heart in two; it showcases the sextet’s chemistry and talent for pacing, with its nearly six-minute length almost feeling a shade too short thanks to its smouldering build and Stokley Williams’ song-ending leave-it-in-the-booth ad-lib.
The best R&B songs from the 90s. Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeartRadio App.
Oct 19, 2018 · If you know this site, you know we love R&B. And there has been no era for R&B in my lifetime like the 1990s. It’s the decade that pushed boundaries, giving us the rise of New Jack Swing, the marriage of R&B and hip-hop, and the genesis of neo-soul.
- Boyz II Men. Managed by Michael Bivins from the best R&B group of all timesNew Edition (yeah, we went there), Nate, Mike, Shawn, and Wanya (together known as Boyz II Men) showed us the meaning of a cappella perfection along with scorching chemistry on stage.
- Jodeci. Jodeci delivered plenty of panty peeling songs in the '90s including “Forever My Lady,” “Come and Talk to Me,” “Feenin',” “Freek'n You,” “Stay,” and “Cry For You.”
- Tony! Toni! Toné! Raphael, Dwayne, and Timothy were better known as Tony! back in the '90s and even now, they're all three still a Tony. Or a Toni.
- Dru Hill. Dru Hill made us fall in lust with them and in love with others through songs like “Never Make a Promise” and “How Deep Is Your Love” and then, turned around and brought us to tears with “In My Bed,” and “We're Not Making Love No More.”
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