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DAR Retrospective Roundtable: The Best R&B Songs of The 1990s

The music of the 1990s. Hip hop was thriving, in some ways, country music was thriving(Garth Brooks, what up), hell even Grunge Rock was thriving. Personally, my favorite music from the 1990s to revisit is still R&B. From New Jack Swing songs in the era 90s to the laid back slow jams and baby-making music, we decided to sit down and all give out our lists(our top 3-5 songs) for the best R&B songs of the 90s. I know, this list seems pretty damn impossible to complete but there lies the challenge, picking out the best/our favorite amongst the legendary songs. There will be so many songs missed on this list likely, but be sure to chime in on the comments with your choices for the best(or your favorite) R&B songs of the 1990s.


*Blackstreet- Don't Leave Me

-It's the epitome of love and simping, to some. To me? It's the song which has saved a lot of relationships and made some babies. Mine included, on both of those...yep.

*Toni Braxton- Love Should've Brought You Home

-It's Toni. She's emotional. Enough said.

*Dru Hill-Beauty 

I was about to say Sisqo's Thong Song just to see if you were paying attention. However, Beauty by Dru Hill? If you've never sang this song to someone or about someone, you've never been in love. I'm sorry, but it's true. It's damn true.

This was a hard list for me, as I am an avid fan of 90s R&B, but here goes.

*Mark Morrison- Return of the Mack

-This track is the ultimate bounce back from a funky ass mood type of song. You just got outta a stressful relationship? Return of the Mack. You just got some BS news? Return of the Mack? Just in a good mood? Should I say more? This track is an all purpose track and if you can't feel good by it, then I question if you have a soul.

*Jodeci -Forever My Lady

-Jodeci. Jodeci. Should I say anymore than that?

*Shai- If I Ever Fall in Love 

-This song just makes you wanna miss everything about a woman: touch, emotion, vulnerability, etc. etc.. Definitely a song you'd play if you can totally relate to it, because it speaks volumes.


*Maxwell- Whenever, Wherever, Whatever

-My favorite R&B track of the 90's definitely goes to this song. Maxwell being smooth and poetic as usual over soft yet at times up tempo beat, with a guitar might I add. He is basically telling the woman that he's in this for the long run and anything that she needs, whether it's small or big, he'll be there at any time and any place.

*Sisqo- Incomplete

-This song really speaks volumes to me, even though I'm only 20. Nobody wants to be alone. Everybody wants that "somebody" in their life. You can have everything in the world but it's 100 times better to have that special someone to share it all with and love.

*Bell Biv Devoe-I Do Need You

-Poison is one of my favorite albums ever. One cut stands out to me and it is this one. The boys created a very "wanting of a good woman" atmosphere and that resonates with me because I want me a good woman dammit! Every time I play this song, I feel like going to find her.

*Seal- Kiss From A Rose

-Look. I'm gonna be honest. Some might consider this R&B but I do. I really can't decipher what the brother Seal is talking about BUT the song is great to sing and it's a part of my childhood because it was on the Batman Forever soundtrack. So there.

*New Edition- I'm Still In Love With You

-New Edition? Making you wanna confess to your girl how much you truly care? I mean, what more do you want?! I just really love the song and it actually helped me work out things with a girl in the past. WARNING: Do not listen to this song if you're not really feeling her that much anymore. Your feelings going be all over the place. Trust me.


*Sisqo- Addicted 

-This song reminds me of a love that's so pure that you catch people staring at you. The addiction is too real.

*R. Kelly- Bump n' Grind

-I don't see nothing wrongggggg with a little bump n grind. This song legit will make anybody sing, even if you're camping, which is a true story for me haha.

*Sade- No Ordinary Love

-Sade has the power to wrap you in her beautiful voice as it goes together smoothly with the lyrics. The guitar and drums you hear are just perfection. You then start to think about your boo and legit start saying, "This is no ordinary love." to them.


*Tony Toni Tone -Whatever You Want  

-This has to be one my favorite 90s R&B joints. This airy, soulful tinge just paints a vivid picture of love. The hook is so melodic mixed with a hint of new jack swing. The perfect blend of the guitar is beautiful. Gives me flashbacks of hearing this joint as a kid. Enchanting, honest and slightly dark.

*Jodeci -Freek'N You

-This is an all timer and I guarantee that Jodeci shows up on almost everyone's list. The perfect raunchy sex ballad.

*Prince -Diamonds and Pearls

-This song sounds like crystals and bells. Like pure lavish shit. The Purple One perfectly crafted this gem. One of my all time favorites.

*Ginuwine- I'll Do Anything/I'm Sorry 

-This is my favorite all time 90s r&b song. This is the post new jack ushered by Timbaland. The painfully honest lyrics from my 2nd favorite 90s r&b singer. The British jazz hip hop elements in the beat are insatiable. Lots of memories of past relationships run through my mind. Mainly by the ones that I've wronged. All dudes can relate.

*Ralph Tresvant- Sensitivity

-Slept on joint of the 90's. Beautiful joint and mellow. Ralph was the contrast to his band mates during their solo/group projects. He was more sophisticated in some way compared to the hip hop influenced, sex craved music of Bobby Brown and Bell Biv Devoe. Nothing wrong with that either, I'm just saying.


*H-Town- Knockin Da Boots

-This was an easy choice. As far as 90s R&B goes, this was always my favorite song. Granted, it probably is due to me being a lover of all things filthy and sexual in music, however this song was perfect for the bedroom and is just too smooth. A classic.

*Silk- Don't Rush

-I really debated this. Lose Control, Freak Me, Meeting In My Bedroom, If You, there were a lot of classic songs from Silk in the 90s but this was always my favorite song from them. I feel like the song itself is underrated but the infectious nature of the beginning bridge("Do ya like... Do ya like... Do ya like what you see") leading into the hook is just beautiful music.

*R. Kelly- Honey Love

-Another tough choice. When speaking of R. Kelly in the 90s, he could pretty much have a list of best songs just on him alone(that's coming soon to the site as well... By yours truly), but when I go back to what my favorite songs are, Sex Me, Your Body's Calling, and It Seems Like Your Ready were all possible choices, but Honey Love resonated with me more when revisiting my full 90s playlist. The song is just smooth and flawless.

*Maxwell- Suitelady(The Proposal Jam)

-Urban Hang Suite is a classic. It's one of my favorite R&B albums ever. Every song on there is flawless, but when the lyrics "it's been so long since I have got you lady... Since I have had those brown legs wrapped around me... The smell of she just drives me crazy... Imagine what the sight of her can do..." came on, I instantly identified with those feelings towards your woman. The song is absolutely amazing and one of my favorite of the 90s.

*Jodeci- Love U 4 Life/Ginuwine- So Anxious(Tie)

-Alright, so I cheated. I couldn't decide between these two songs, so here they are. Jodeci has so many flawless songs and great choices for the list, that it was damn near impossible to pick one, but this song is one I always play. Stay, Come and Talk To Me, Cry For You, U&I, and Feenin' were frontrunners for this list, but I have to roll with Love U 4 Life.

As for Ginuwine, he has a ton of tracks that I consider classic, but nothing is more iconic than this song. The slow, smooth production from Timbaland, Static Major on the background vocals, and Ginuwine speaking with passion to his lady that he can't wait to get to her creates one of the greatest R&B songs from the 90s.

This list by no means covers all of the great songs from the 90s, and I am sure we will revisit 90s R&B soon down the line again. Brian McKnight, Mint Condition, Keith Sweat, Boyz II Men, SWV, TLC, etc.. there were so many legendary R&B artists from the 90s that this article is just a small testament to the full era. There will be more. Stay tuned. For now, enjoy the music.


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