The 10 Best R&B Groups from the '90s

Not too hard, not too soft.
Not too hard, not too soft.

R&B (NOUN) 1. Short for rhythm and blues 2. A music genre that combines elements of rhythm and blues, soul, funk, pop, hip-hop, and dance.

Only you know how the '90s treated you and only you can share pictures of that wardrobe you chose to lace yourself up with. The thing we all have in common when thinking back on the '90s is the music. And when it came time to set the tone to make sweet sweet love, picking the perfect "mood setting medley" was a must. Back before the word "baby" was replaced by "bitch," the variety was beyond bountiful which made it hard to narrow down what jammy jam you'd play after lighting the candles and cracking that bottle of Cisco. (The booze, not the dude.) Thank god for the mix tape, right? And there were plenty of one-hit wonders during this time but we're not going to focus on that, for now. We're looking towards R&B groups that did the most to make us sway, fall in love, sing along, gyrate...all of that. Picking this list was crazy difficult because that era was so kind to our ears with a buffet of tunes that made us feel the softer side of music. And while we gained affection (and ADD) once again while researching this idea, we also managed to line-up some stellar picks. Do these groups have a shelf life or do they stand the test of time? You be the judge and bitch to us later. We'll be here.

10- Hi-Five Who could forget about this little quintet of cuties that warmed our hearts with thoughts of love? You know, back when adults could sing along with kids about love and it didn't possibly boarder on pedo? Hi-Five was killing it amongst a crop of fresh young talent with catchy songs like "I Like the Way," I Can't Wait Another Minute," and "She's Playing Hard to Get." Real feel good music. That's what Hi-Five brought. No sexual undertones, no video skeezers, just memorable and adorable tunes. Ahhh the good old days. (R.I.P. Tony Thompson)

9- Shai There was a time a lot of gals (ehh hmmm) were truly wishing Garfield of Shai was singing "If I Ever Fall in Love" to them. But honestly, without the rest of the boys (Marc, Carl, and Darnell), this jam would've been nothing. We're not suggesting a five some or anything, we're just merely stating the obvious, Shai was a force to be reckoned with in the '90s, as a group. That explanation out of the way, Shai went on to nail down chart toppers like "Baby I'm Yours," "The Place Where You Belong," and "Comforter." OMG swoon. WTF is Shai now? Someone look them up and give em' our digits.

 

8- En Vogue After the song "Hold On" hit the top of the charts in 1989, Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, and Maxine Jones (better known as En Vogue) continued to blaze a sexy trail with sultry songs well into the '90s. Hits like "Giving Him Something He Can Feel," and "Don't Let Go" put us in the mood from a completely different perspective as these strong ladies came across like they were always on top. And we're not talking about the charts. According to Wiki, they've sold twenty million records worldwide so actually, we'd say they were pretty stellar on being on top of a lot of things.

7- Silk First and foremost, we have to give Keith Sweat his props for discovering Silk because lucky for us, he knew what he was offering up. And lucky for Silk, we liked it. A lot. Over the years the members of the group have changed up a bit but in the '90s the fact remains, a lot of us were trying to get a little action to the sweet bumping and grinding sounds of "Lose Control," "Meeting in my Bedroom," and of course, "Freak Me." As in, "'Cuz tonight baby, I wanna get freaky with you." Yeahhhh, just like that.

 

6- 112 Slim, Q, Mike, and Daron were the first R&B group signed to Puffy's Bad Boy Records which surely put them on the map but it was hits like "Only You," "Peaches & Cream," "Cupid," and "Anywhere" that kept them there. When listening back to their vocals we have to admit, they really aren't the best singers we've ever heard but in the '90s, it sounded fantastic. So did wearing Cross Colours though. Any who, there isn't one time when "Peaches & Cream" plays anywhere at any moment that we don't sing along to, "The S, the L, the I, the M." Even in 2015.

5- TLC These three ladies hit the scene with a crazy, sexy, cool style and everyone (who wasn't into death metal) ate them right up. Made up of T-Boz, Chilli, and Left Eye, this trio embodied sensuality yet had zero issues giving us thought provoking pop hits like "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," "Creep," and "What About Your Friends." They also crooned their way into our cores with "Baby-Baby-Baby," "Red Light Special," and "Waterfalls" making them one of the best R&B groups we've ever heard. It's safe to say that these gals sincerely changed the game and we're thankful to have been involved. Of sorts. (R.I.P. Left Eye)

 

4- 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." This group, made up of Sisqó, "Jazz," "Nokio the N-Tity" and "Woody Rock," were compared to a lot of other artists in the '90s but in our opinion, there's only one Dru Hill. And not even just because of Sisqó. (But it did help, obvs.)

3- Tony! Toni! Toné! Raphael, Dwayne, and Timothy were better known as Tony! Toni! Toné! back in the '90s and even now, they're all three still a Tony. Or a Toni. Or a...you get the gist. They got the party started with "It Feels Good" and soothed our souls with smashes like "It Never Rains (In Southern California)," "Anniversary," and "Just Me & You." They never failed to bring consistent hits to "hit it" to and come on, even now when it rains in the OC, who doesn't make a little "triple T" reference? That my friends, sounds timeless to us.

 

2- 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." These boys (K-Ci, Jo Jo, Dalvin, and DeVante) vocally provided everything and more when it came to knocking boots with your sweets or to shaking that rump in the club. And in concert? They really knew how to shine engaging just about every lady in the room with their umm...suggestive material. WTF are they now too by the way? We're getting hot just thinking about Jodeci! (Looking at you DeVante.)

1- Boyz II Men Managed by Michael Bivins from the best R&B group of all times New 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. And they're still nailing it to this day like it was their first. Hence why we put these Philly boys at number one. Their debut track "Motownphilly" got our attention but a slew of songs like "Bended Knee," "I'll Make Love to You," "Water Runs Dry," "4 Seasons Of Loneliness," and "Uhh Ahh" kept us there. Their hit "End of the Road" basically became a graduation song, a last smash song, and a funeral song. Fuck with that! These fresh dressed "boyz" ruled the 90's, our hearts, and our minds. Cheesy, but true. Bite us.

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OK calm down. We know, it was hard to narrow it down so before you start in, honorable mention goes to 702, Soul for Real, Mint Condition, Total, Xscape, Guy, H-Town, Color Me Badd, Next, etc. There. You happy?

See also: The 50 Best Things About the OC Music Scene The 50 Worst Things About the OC Music Scene The 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List

Follow us on Twitter @OCWeeklyMusic and like us on Facebook at Heard Mentality and follow the author on Twitter @AliNotAlli.


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