For some great R&B music, look no further than these artists from the 1990s. These songs will transport you back to a time when singing groups dominated the scene and there was plenty of crossover between R&B and hip-hop genres.
In the ’90s, women made significant breakthroughs in music with hits from Aaliyah, SWV and TLC that revolutionized the industry.
Usher Raymond IV is a renowned 90s r&b music artist. He has sold millions of records worldwide with his hit songs and earned himself the title as one of music’s most successful musicians of its era. Additionally, Usher Raymond IV possesses numerous talents as an entertainer, earning numerous awards and accolades for his work.
He was born on October 14, 1978 in Dallas, Texas to Jonetta Patton and Usher Raymond III. His half-brother James Lackey also shares the same last name. Raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee before moving to Atlanta to pursue his career as a singer-songwriter, he has two brothers – Chris (left) and Sean (right).
Early in his life, Usher developed an interest in music and singing. He sang with his church youth choir until his grandmother noticed he had the potential to pursue professional singing.
The family eventually relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in order to give him more opportunities for success in music. This move proved beneficial as Atlanta proved much more supportive of budding artists than other cities could offer.
His debut album, Usher, was released in 1995 and quickly achieved international success. It sold over one million copies within its first week, becoming an instant classic and inspiring several hit singles including “My Way”, which cemented Usher’s place as a household name within the music industry.
He continued to pursue his career, eventually signing a contract with Sony Records in 2001. His second album, 8701, debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and went on to earn platinum certification in America.
In 2004, Usher released his fourth studio album, Confessions, to great acclaim. It spawned the hit single “I’m Still In Love With You” and went on to be certified platinum by the RIAA.
Usher has since ventured beyond music to pursue acting and philanthropy. He founded New Look Foundation with a goal of teaching lower income people about the entertainment industry and how to become successful within it.
Aaliyah was one of the iconic 90s R&B music artists, and her voice and sultry style remain in many people’s hearts to this day. Her smooth vocals and sensual approach revolutionized R&B music, proving she was ahead of her time.
Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Aaliyah Dana Haughton (aka Aaliyah) achieved international fame at the young age of 14. Her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number sold three million copies in America alone; her second album One in a Million featured Timbaland production with Missy Elliott featured as its featured artist.
Her captivating voice and effortless style set her apart from other young artists of her era. Her music was an innovative blend of hip-hop and soul, revolutionizing contemporary pop music. She quickly rose to become queen of urban pop and R&B, leaving a legacy that will endure in the works of those she inspired.
Aaliyah set the fashion standard with her “tomboy” style that combined femininity and an edgy aesthetic. Her iconic blacked-out sunglasses – known affectionately as locs – became iconic ’90s accessories that remain popular today.
The 1990s was a golden age of R&B music, and many iconic songs from that era can still be heard today by popular contemporary performers. To commemorate this era, we’ve curated our list of the top 60 90s R&B tracks you should add to your playlist!
This list features songs spanning from ’90s pop hits to ’90s soul tunes. Each has a special place in American music’s history and will help transport you back to simpler times.
If you’re a fan of 90s R&B music, then don’t miss these songs from some of its greatest singers! You won’t be disappointed!
At 22 years old, Aaliyah’s talent was undeniable. She had achieved great success as a singer-actress, model, fashion icon and dancer who redefined the boundaries of her industry. Tragically, her life was cut short but her legacy lives on today.
The 90s saw R&B merge with hip-hop, creating an array of genres and subgenres. Neo soul was particularly notable, incorporating elements from jazz, funk and pop into its sound. Although many neo soul artists that emerged during this era were male, there were several remarkable female singers who helped define this movement.
Vibe’s Mike Wright attributes this growth to black radio’s increasing influence over popular music. Although many R&B artists in this movement had a dedicated fan base among black radio listeners, their appeal also spread beyond that to mainstream pop markets.
SWV were one of the groups to benefit from this trend. Their harmonies, which highlighted each trio member’s distinct voice, went viral and quickly became a staple of pop music.
The trio had several hits during the 1990s, including “Weak,” which became their first top-five single. Additionally, their album It’s About Time featured several chart-topping tracks.
One such song, “Right Here (Human Nature Remix),” reached #4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart and cemented their place as one of R&B music’s biggest successes.
Though SWV has been together for many years, the members still tour and make appearances on various television shows. In fact, their journey will be documented in a limited series on Bravo called “SWV & Xscape: The Queens of R&B”, which will chart their rise to fame and feature live performances.
As part of their performance, the trio will take the stage for an audience composed of fans and celebrities. Furthermore, the show will explore the difficulties that the trio must overcome as they pursue success in their careers.
The ’90s marked an exciting and inspiring period for R&B music, as a number of artists were able to combine their distinctive styles and vocals to create an unforgettable sound. Mariah Carey and Brandy were two major influencers within this genre during this era.
TLC were an American trio of R&B and pop singers that achieved tremendous success in the 1990s. Their music blended post-new jack swing with funk, featuring catchy hooks accompanied by an upbeat attitude. TLC’s flashy outfits and daring hairstyles won them over fans from both pop and R&B genres alike.
They released their self-titled album in 1999 and it quickly achieved critical and commercial success. The singles “Creep” and “Red Light Special” both reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; additionally, lead single “Waterfalls” remained at the top of the charts for seven weeks.
Their second album CrazySexyCool was an enormous success, reaching the top three on the charts and earning them two Grammy awards. This record featured more mature material than their debut and featured more sexually charged tracks than earlier hits.
After their successful tour in the early 2000s, tensions between TLC members began to escalate. They sparred publicly and Lisa Lopes denounced their recent music while challenging her bandmates to record solo albums.
By the time TLC declared bankruptcy, they had accrued debts of $3.5 million. Some of this money came from insurance payments for their arson incident and Watkins’ medical bills; however, most of it came from what they perceived to be an unfavorable deal with their label Pebbitone Records.
Through all the confusion, TLC were able to renegotiate their contract with LaFace Records and end their association with Pebbitone. Soon after, they released their third studio album Fanmail, which proved another successful hit for them.
Although this album dealt with some serious topics, such as a public feud between Lopes and Watkins, it also included songs that addressed real life concerns like unrealistic beauty standards that pervade the industry. “No Scrubs” addressed men who did not meet certain standards while “Unpretty” challenged the use of makeup to enhance beauty or body shape.
The ladies also discussed their personal struggles with addiction to various drugs and the consequences thereof. Beyond their musical careers, the women possess a deep social activism background which they frequently discuss on stage or in interviews.