The '90s was considered to be the "Golden Age" of R&B Music, because so many artists released classic and game-changing music. During this era, where urban music became the world's most successful genre, R&B dominated radio with its fresh contemporary, creative and ingenious sound.
The breakout of R&B can also be attributed to the merging of a fusion of styles such as soul, funk and jazz resulting in new jack swing, neo-soul, hip-hop soul and g-funk.
Also, during this era, a number of R&B groups grabbed listeners' attention because of their trendsetting styles, music and voices. Many groups played a significant role in the '90s, but Singersroom narrowed it down to the Top 10. In our Top 10 list, we included male and female R&B groups based on their record sales, singles, and the amount of exposure in the industry.
Hit next, and let us refresh your memory by spotlighting the top 10 R&B groups of the 1990s.
Xscape released their chart-topping hits, "Understanding," "Who Can I Run To," "My Little Secret," and the "Softest Place on Earth," back in the early 90s. The platinum selling group also worked with rap legend, MC Lyte. Even though the group disbanded in 1998 with Latocha and Tamika Scott launching solo careers, group members Tiny and Kandi co-wrote TLC's Grammy award winning song, "No Scrubs." Kandi also wrote songs for other artists including, Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, NSYNC, and Boyz II Men, and she eventually dropped a solo album. Meanwhile, Tiny is still a music producer and writer, but she ventured into other projects such as television personality and the reality TV show, T.I and Tiny: The Family Hustle, with husband, T.I.
Mint Condition is considered to be the "Earth, Wind, & Fire" of the 90s because of their musical style and roots. Mint's style is diverse because it's conjoined with blues, jazz, R&B, soul, and funk. The group released the R&B ballads, "Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes) and "You Send Me Swingin." "Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes) is their biggest single to date and the world continues to show interest in the group, especially when they are on the road. Mint Condition also released their latest album, Music at the Speed of Life, in 2012 and was featured on TV One's Unsung.
En Vogue's members Dawn, Terry, Maxine, and Cindy were considered to be "The Supremes of the 90s." The group crossed over into super stardom when they released their debut album, Born to Sing. The 5x Grammy nominated group released several hit singles, including "Hold On," "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It,") "Lies," and "Don't Let Go (Love)." En Vogue won several awards, including seven MTV Video Music Awards, five Soul Train Awards, and six American Music Awards. However, the awards and fame wasn't enough for the group to sustain as a quartet. The group disbanded, but made special appearances on award shows and toured throughout the United States.
The personnel makeup for 90's R&B group, Jodeci were two pairs of brothers from North Carolina, Cedric and Joel Hailey, and Donald & Dalvin DeGrate. K-Ci, Jo-Jo, Devante, and Mr. Dalvin came up with the name by conjoining all of their first names. Jodeci received positive reviews from critics when they released the single, "Come and Talk to Me," in 1991. Once the song was released, Jodeci released two more platinum albums before calling it quits due to substance abuse and highly opinionated attitudes from other group members. K-Ci and Jo-Jo formed a duo and released a collection of hits as well. In November 2014, Jodeci announced they were working on a new LP — Jodeci's new album, The Past, The Present, The Future, their first in over 15 years, will arrive on March 31st.
112, a quartet from Atlanta, are responsible for hits such as "Cupid," "Anywhere," "Come See Me" ft Mr. Cheeks, and "Love Me." The Grammy award winning group released their self-titled debut album, 112, in 1996 and it was certified double platinum. Members of the group released solo albums, but the crew still tour together nationally.
SWV or Sister with Voices were a huge sensation in the 90s. Coko, Taj, and Lelee released their debut album, It's About Time, in 1992. From the project, the group released five singles, "Right Here/Human Nature," "I'm So Into You," "Downtown," "Always On My Mind," and their biggest hit to date, "Weak." SWV released two more albums, New Beginning and Release Some Tension, before lead singer, Coko went solo in 1999. Lelee and Taj completed other projects before reuniting in 2005. Now, SWV is back with a reality show, SWV Reunited, on We tv, which addresses why the group broke up in 1998, their new projects, relationships, children, and more.
In 1996, Dru Hill introduced themselves to the music world when they released the single, "In My Bed." Throughout the years, the group released seven Top 40 hits, including "Never Make a Promise," and "How Deep Is Your Love." Dru Hill was a unique group in the 90's because each member revealed their personality based on their appearance. The group disappeared from the public eye for a long period of time and several members went solo, but Dru Hill is now working on their fifth album, The Second Coming.
Destiny's Child's song, "No, No, No Pt 2 ft. Wyclef Jean," was a radio hit in 1998, selling over one million copies. The group received commercial success when they released their second album, The Writing's On the Wall, which many consider to be their "breakthrough album." The LP was boasted by three hit singles, "Bills, Bills, Bills" "Bug-A-Boo," and "Say My Name," and sold 11 million copies worldwide. In 2001, Destiny's Child became a trio after replacing LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, and adding Michelle Williams. Together, Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle released the group’s third album, Survivor. Destiny’s Child went on to release a holiday album, worked on side projects, and released their last album, Destiny Fulfilled in 2005. The group members, Beyoncé, Michelle, and Kelly support each other’s musical endeavor and work together occasionally.
Boyz II Men
In 1991, Boyz II Men released their debut album, Cooleyhighharmony, under New Edition's Michael Bivins' management. Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman, and Michael NcCary's first single, "Motownphilly," was a huge hit because the musical elements were Philly and Motown soul. Cooleyhighharmony sold over nine million copies and the guys received their first Grammy. Throughout the years, Boyz II Men released a string of hits, including "End of the Road," "I'll Make Love to You," "Water Runs Dry," "One Sweet Day ft. Mariah Carey," "Thank You," and "Mama." The 4x Grammy award winning group still performs as a trio, and released their latest album, Collide, in October 2014. Boyz II Men also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and sold 60 million records worldwide.
TLC members Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas recorded a plethora of hits in the 90s, including "Ain't 2 Proud to Beg," "Baby, Baby, Baby," "What About Your Friends," "Creep," "Waterfalls," and "No Scrubs." The trio is the biggest selling female R&B group of all time, selling over 65 million records. Their album, Crazy Sexy Cool, is their biggest selling LP to date, and it was certified diamond. Seven years after Left-Eye's death in 2002, TLC reemerged, and T-Boz and Chilli started touring as a duo. The group released their biopic, Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story on Vh1 in 2013. They recently raised a whopping $430,255 on their KS page to produce their final album.