Top 10 R&B Artists/Groups of the 90s

Time for another installment of Top 10 Tuesdays. This week, I am taking it back (for some of us)…

I was cutting my boys hair this weekend, and it is like a barbershop around here. I usually throw on some music from my era and walk down memory lane. Reminds me of the jukebox at my old Barbershop in my hometown. This particular day I was in the mood for R&B, so decided why not make a list? Sure this will be controversial because this list (like all) are geared towards my personal tastes. Not only that, but artists near the end of the decade tend to leave a stronger impression (as I am not THAT old). While compiling this list, I just want to clarify that I recognize the greats that dropped hits in the 90s like O’Jays, Chaka, etc. I don’t discount what they did prior to, but this list is just for the work a particular artist did in the 90s alone. That possibly could be someone who only dropped two albums, but were trend setters (hit makers)…


10. Brandy

Aside from how she looked (lol), her albums used to hit. Killer production for that ’94 album, and ’98 was straight too.

9. TLC

On many peoples lists they would be much higher. To be honest I actually didn’t care for any of their songs, but they were cute, and have to give them respect for what they accomplished. They did their thing in the 90s.

8. Faith Evans

Her ’95 albums was one of the best R&B albums that DECADE. I will argue with anyone about that. Second one was decent (98), but that first was a classic.

7. Ginuwine

Say what you want, but really think about how he came on the scene, and how different that sound was. Truth be told, most the stuff he has put out since then has been tight.

6. Aaliyah

Only two albums in the 90s, but she was the full package. There would be no Ciera if she were still around. She brought a pretty face, melodic voice, fresh sound, and precise dance moves.

5. Silk

Whoo, I can feel people shaking their heads. Man, these boys were TALENTED. Admist all these studio singers, Silk was the truth. Lose Control was one of the illest songs that decade!!

4. Erykah Badu

Badu came on the scene in the late 90s, but she completely changed the game up.

3. Jodeci

These boys only had three albums, and can you remember any wack songs? Come & Talk To Me, Forever my Lady, Feenin’, What About Us? The boys could sing, and the music was on point. I joke with my wife all the time about this wondering how many children were made (by people in our era ) to Jodeci songs.

2. Mary J Blige

MJB has done her thing. I always argue with people about her not being able to sing, but she has her ear to the street, and her songs are always timely and fresh. Look over the albums she put out, and you are sure to find at least four bangers per album. The Queen of R&B.

1. R Kelly

Aside from his personal issues, you have to recognize his pure talent. Vocally he is no slouch, but all-around he is a musical genius. His sound is unique, his songs are innovative (even though most are trife), and he has consistently put out hits throughout the 90s (and beyond). The King of R&B.


112, 702, Adina Howard, Babyface, Bell Biv Devoe (ok, I like bbd, but let’s be honest…them boys can’t sing worth a lick), Blackstreet (man, they were that stuff), Bobby Brown, Boys II Men (I am a hater..don’t like em), Brownstone (If You Love Me used to thump), Case (where did homey go?), Changing Faces, Christopher Williams (don’t wake me), D’Angelo (almost made the list – trendsetter), Dave Hollister (Ghetto Hymns was that thing), Destiny’s Child, Donnell Jones (dude fell off for a while, but he was for real too), Dru Hill, Gerald Lavert, Groove Theory (was feelin it), Guy (you can have a piece of my love, it’s waiting for you), Hi-Five, Horace Brown (talk about one hit wonder), H-Town (how you have a song starting off introducing GI, Shazzam and Dino, and that joker still bangs?), Intro (Ribbon In The Sky and Come Inside…game over!!), Jade (ugh), Janet Jackson (that Anytime remix was for real), Joe Public, Karyn White, Lisa Stansfield, LSG, Maxwell (who else can sing soprano, but it still be smooth?), Michael Jackson, Michel’le, Mint Condition (they almost made the list for three songs alone – Pretty Brown Eyes, If You Love Me, and You Send Me Swinging…wow. Plus they are a band), Monica, Monifah, Montel Jordan, New Edition, Next, Pebbles, Prince, Shai, Shanice, Sparkle (was feelin’ her), SWV, The O’Jays, TLC, Tony Braxton, Tony Toni Tone, Total, Troop, Whitney Houston, Wrecks N Effect (I ain’t into trickin, just treatin, and I ain’t treatin every trick that I’m meetin’), X-Scape, Zhane (they had some hits)


15 responses to “Top 10 R&B Artists/Groups of the 90s

  1. Faith album was off the chain, but you gotta flop Faith with Brandy. TLC has to move up…that cd was nice, but not better than the one with red light special….Flip MJB…Mary was that thang and Jodeci….those cats changed the game….I’m about set on everything else…Joe had a nice CD, and that first Dru Hill….well the the bottom 3 you can just put in several. TLC has to move up though. Badu…man that cd was tight, but the live cd was better than the regular one. Hands down, R can have the top 2 albums for mine.

  2. Yea, I am somewhat of a TLC hater. Can’t condone burning down homes. hahaha. Seriously though, I agree that those bottom ones are interchangeable. Yea, that Badu live was legit. I guess I should have put a disclaimer that the album covers listed don’t necessarily mean they were my favorite, but they were the ones that looked the best on this black background of the blog. lol.

    Straight up when I first did the list, I had Jodeci at #2 and MJB at #3, but I went and listened to their albums again. You forget just how many hits Mary had in the 90s. Even though I think Jodeci had a handful of stronger songs, I had to give a slight advantage to MJB for just longevity and consistent hits.

  3. I still listen to every artist on this list on a daily basis. I have countless mix 90’s r&b cd’s. Man MJB was a beast…I don’t know…and I’m probably rating Jodeci higher for selfish reasons…and all the fellas know what I am talking about. Aaliyah was about to blow up before she passed, you right about Ciara…Aaliyah would have shut that down. Man, Alicia keys missed it by a year or so…I think that Song in A minor came out in like 2000…maybe 2001, that cd was better than that Brandy and could give Faith a run for her money…Faith, soon as I get home…I still get…nevermind…sorry about that one.

  4. You right dude, and truth be told on my “personal” list I rate Jodeci higher, but I know if Memphis boy somehow finds this blog, I’d have to hear his mouth forever about Mary, so I just conceded. Faith’s first album was a banger. I mean that joker was so for real. I don’t know what happened to her after that. You ain’t never lied about Alicia just missing the mark. Another one was Jill Scott (2001).

    * Under Honorable Mentions, click on ‘Horace Brown’ to see the youtube video. I completely forgot about that joker. Talk about a flashback of a one-hit-wonder.

  5. Jill Scott was like that…I remember buying that Jill Scott for my wife at Target in Youngstown in 2001. That mug was raw. Now as far as Jodeci (I count KC and JoJo with them too) heads up with MJB in greatest hits…hands down MJB without a doubt. She had some bangers…On my PC at home, I got a all woman r&b playlist that is off the chain…you should do one of those as a top 10….maybe singles.

  6. 1,2, and 3 are fine. I am a big R. Kelly fan except for the child molesting and pissing. Jodeci was it and the production actually came from Timbaland who was signed to Devante’s ‘Swing Mob’ records and Devante took credit for Tim’s sound. Go back and listen to some old Jodeci and you will hear that Timbaland sound. #4 goes to Guy. Teddy Riley changed the game. Teddy’s Jams was the song and it was basically in instrumental, there were no lyrics. #5 and 6 would be Ginuwine and Aaliyah. This is the first time we really get to hear Timbaland do his thing. What would the music game be without him? #7 is TLC. #8 is Erykah Badu. #9 is Boyz II Men and #10 is Babyface for his albums as well as the number of songs he wrote. I agree with you honorable mention list and some of them could make the top 10. Whitney and Bobby need to be on there somewhere but i couldn’t find a place for them.

  7. That was a good analysis, but I can’t give Boys II Men credit. They are some saps to me, and too commercial. Brandy can come or go. I was just ready to end the list. lol. Babyface I have never been a fan of, but I respect his sound. And you are right, Teddy changed the game up too, but with how many groups? Guy, Blackstreet, Wrecks? You can’t just list Teddy alone, and none of those albums alone (I think) should be on a top 10 list. As much as I loved Guy, there were only a handful of songs I liked. They didn’t have any press-play type albums. The kind you could just let run.

    I also want to pause and say sorry for leaving Brian McKnight off the list. He did his thing in the 90s, and is one a talented brotha. He has good vocals, is a good song writer, and is gifted at playing.

    I tell you who else I left off the list, and if I had been thinking would drop Brandy and put him at #10 off one album alone…that Chico Debarge. That album was NO PUNK!! I can’t believe I forgot about that one. Him and Marvin Gaye ushered in one of my kids. lol.

  8. You got some nice picks but you can deny Boy II Men (I am not a big fan either) and plus you got to put SWV. SWV was huge in the 90’s and was not a wonder hit wonder.

  9. Ah man. Aaliyah’s overrated and I think you have some big absences.

    I’d look at big names by type:
    Guy groups:
    Boyz II Men and Jodeci need to be on the list. (Jodeci is, I’m just building up a must have in a top 10).
    Girl groups:
    Potentially En Vogue or Destiny’s Child

    Solo girls:
    Toni Braxton
    Mariah Carey
    Whitney Houston

    Solo guys:
    Brian McKnight
    R Kelly (even though I can’t stand him)

    Prolly Babyface too just because of his extensive influence.

    I don’t know, I just feel like the list is missing too many of the big names and biggest influences.

    And how can you hate Boyz II Men! Have you ever heard Boyz II Men’s I Will Get There

  10. Ok, I admitted above (comment) that I should have put Brian McKnight on the list. I don’t know how I forgot about him. I have to also apologize for Destiny’s Child because I thought they only had that one album. I didn’t realize they put em out back to back years (98/99). Only song off 98 album which was good was “No, No, No” parts 1 & 2. Now that second one had about 3-4 on there. Say My Name, Jumpin, Bug a Boo. They did they thing, and should bump Brandy.

    En Vogue had that album in 90 which was nice, but after that what happened? Without looking it up, can you remember what song/album they did…aside from “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” and that “What A Man?” with Salt n Pepa? Seems like they fell off to me. Maybe I just can’t remember. Toni Braxton. Now let’s be real…if Toni didn’t dress sleazy, and she looked like Celie off Color Purple, would we like her music? I am not knocking her, she had a few top billboard songs. Whitney Houston did her thing, and her albums late 80s were for real. But think about the 90s. She had that BodyGuard soundtrack in 92, then her album in 98. Only joint I can remember off that was Heartbreak Hotel. Mariah had some hits. Vision of Love was that stuff. She had what, 3 albums in the 90s? Sales wise who can touch her? But do I like? Naw. It is a preference thing. I actually argued with some people about Erykah Badu because they don’t like her music. People just like different things. Which leads me to Boys II Men. I liked Motownphilly and Ugh, Ahh…but other than that you can have em. Not a fan. That Wayna always crying, the one Veggie Tales looking dude urks me, then you got the bobby valentino looking dude, and deep voice. I just don’t like em whatsoever. They are the type of group if I bought a new car and the CD was in the player, I’d just throw it out while driving and risk paying a fine/ticket.

  11. Aaliyah was only overrated after death. I liked her music, she wasn’t a Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Kahn, Mariah or Whitney..but she was talented. A lot of people like to clown on her vocals. But if you listen to some of her acapellas you will be able to tell that she could really sing. I’m proud of her. Aaliyah’s music in the 90s and her last album “Aaliyah” spawned some hits. And when she died it was tragic, that’s why a lot of people have been compared to her via Ciara and Cassie..and there are so many blogs out there on her. She was a human being just like everyone else and I respect that. There will NEVER be anyone else like her no matter how much stronger you think their voice is. She made the hits, cease and desist all you want. But she did. Rest in peace Aaliyah

  12. I think that Boyz 2 Men should’ve been on that top 10 but like u said. It’s based on your personal interset. I made a Complete list of 90’s music artist and groups, R&B and Hip-Hop…I’ll post Just A-C of what I remember:
    112 702 2 D Extreme 69 Boys
    A Few Good Men A Tribe Called quest
    Aaliyah Aaron Hall ABC Adina Howard
    After 7 Al. B. Sure Allure
    Arrested Development Avant Az Yet
    BBD Big Daddy Kane Biggie Smalls
    Biz Markie Blackstreet Bobby Brown
    Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boyz 2 Men Brandy
    Brian McKnight Brownstone Busta Rhymes Case
    Changing Faces Chante Moore Color Me Badd Cool Moe D
    Coolio Craig Mack Crucial Conflict Cypress Hill

    If you want my complete list so we can compare notes, then hit me up at

  13. List was aight, but I understand it’s your personal interest…but D’Angelo definently should have made the list…and how could you forget about Lauryn Hill..come on now!?!?

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