The Golden Era of R&B
Don’t you feel calm and composed when listening to the popular ‘90s R&B songs? Surely,
they helped you survive sad days. They indeed had something special, which still makes
them abundantly popular among today’s ordinary folks. How come these songs become so
captivating and relatable to people? The answer to this is in the songs themselves. The
music and lyrics of the ‘90s R&B were ahead of their time. They were a mixture of rap and
soulful soundtracks that touched the heart and soul of anyone who listened to them. The
‘90s saw the emergence of popular singers like R. Kelly and Mariah Carey, who became
notable R&B stars of the ‘90s.
Back then, especially from the early ‘90s to mid-90s, R&B ruled the charts. This period saw
the release of some of the best R&B music of all time since the ‘70s. The period was similar
to a renaissance in the notable musical genre that saw the rise of many prolific artists,
including Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo, Jodeci, and many more.
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Notable R&B Albums Belonging to the 90s
Let’s take a tour of some of the essential R&B and soul albums that came out in the ‘90s; this
includes iconic releases by many of the top artists of that period.
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
One of the most notable R&B albums of that period, this particular Lauryn Hill album is
considered the gold standard of that era – the measuring stick for all other albums to be
compared against. The album took her hip-hop audience by surprise while delighting her
R&B listeners. The album was an emotional cycle of songs that spoke about love, faith, loss,
and perseverance that would help you overcome sadness. The songs showcased the
versatile nature of her voice. The album was a hit from day one, breaking records and then
bringing home the Album of the Year Grammy award to Lauryn.
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Mary J. Blige – Share My World (1997)
Mary J. Blige’s most successful album of all time, Share My World, sold over four million
copies and cemented her as an iconic R&B superstar. The album contained some notable
contributions from artists like The Trackmasters, R. Kelly for the song It’s On, Groove
Theory’s Bryce Wilson for Get to Know You Better, and Rodney Jenkins for a couple of songs.
Mary’s iconic voice stood out on the album with its rawness and magnetic aura that could
change flat love songs to enchanting blues music. Through Share My World, Mary
successfully captured the ambition carried by black pop music of the late ‘90s.
Jodeci – Diary of a Mad Band (1993)
This was Jodeci's second album, which redefined the world of R&B by combining high-
pitched beats with a unique fashion sense. The quartet band, Jodeci, was notable because
of two members – K-Ci, the lead singer, and DeVante Swing, the songwriter. K-Ci’s unique
voice and notable contributions in the album can be felt through the songs like Cry for
You, Stay, Come and Talk to Me, and many more. Through Feenin, he compares love and the
addiction to drugs. In Won’t Waste You, he talks about a girl who plays mind games with her
lover, who seems to be lying to her. The songs brought about a feeling of sadness that
reciprocated in everyone’s lives.
D’Angelo – Brown Sugar (1995)
The neo-soul album Brown Sugar made D’Angelo a cult figure among many of his
contemporary R&B artists. Songs like Smooth and Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of
Mine acted as counterweights to the songs produced by Jodeci, Blackstreet, and many
others. The album carried a snap-and-slither feel with equally funky parts in between. The
opening track of the album itself made it worthy of purchase.
R. Kelly – R. Kelly (1995)
R. Kelly is an album where Kelly talks about a man who lays his soul bare while falling on his
knees at the altar of women. The album gave off a fresh vibe due to Kelly’s lyrics. In the
song, Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby… Kelly thanks God for granting him a partner who
showered him with emotions. In the lead single, You Remind Me of Something, Kelly
compares women to automobiles. Other notable songs include Not Gonna Hold On, (You To
Be) Be Happy, and others.
Let’s hope this blog gives you a nice trip down memory lane. It’s hard to get enough of these
songs, and there’s something for everyone to relate to.