The Year In R&B: 1999

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal 
-The year 1999 was an interesting one. For all the shiny leather, denim jackets, and glossy fashion, the music never seemed to waver. There was a bit of balance with the music game, as we witnessed rappers go from being the most street to being supremely commercial to sell more records. In R&B, we saw some interesting music released from the likes of stars like Sisqo, Missy Elliott (if you count her as such), TLC, Ginuwine, 702, Mary J. Blige, and many more. Today, the team gathers as usual to take a year in the genre, and with 1999 being the topic, you're bound to see us talk about some solid releases.

For me, my favorite release on the year? Silk and their Tonight album. For one, Silk is one of my favorite R&B groups ever, and this album helped solidify that case. From the mega hit "Meeting In My Bedroom" to the solid "If You....", and even the smooth "Let's Make Love", this album had everything you can want in a smooth R&B album. In addition to this great album, we were also treated to the sophomore album from Eric Benet titled "A Day In The Life", which featured the amazing "Spend My Life With You", and of course the smooth yet upbeat "Georgy Porgy" alongside the extremely jazzy "When You Think Of Me". This was yet another great release on the year, and it introduced Eric to a larger audience.

KCi and JoJo released the "It's Real" album, which featured some good tracks, and included the title track that would be on the slept on Life soundtrack. Also on that soundtrack was the R. Kelly penned song "Fortunate" performed by Maxwell, yet another highlight on the year. Prince would even release a project on the year, proving even the legends stay consistent. For the ladies, TLC and Destiny's Child held it down with mega albums and hits. The year would also see the release of Ginuwine's best album "100% Ginuwine", which gave us some classic hits like "So Anxious", "Wait A Minute", "Final Warning", "None Of Your Friends Business", "Same Ol G", and many more. The stars were certainly stepping up this year to make a splash in the genre. However, no one was as popular as Sisqo, the Dru Hill front man, who went 5X platinum with the "Unleash The Dragon" project. The "Thong Song" was really all over the world and a mega hit, as well as his ballad as "Incomplete". Though not discussed as much, I always have felt that Sisqo released a potential classic album and a huge highlight of the year. There's many more releases to speak of, but I'll let the team handle that for now. Let's get into that.

In 1999, we had "Staying Power" which would be the final album from Barry White and "FanMail", which would be the final complete body of work from TLC. It was the infamous year that Sisqo broke out in popularity as a solo artist with "Thong Song" and we got to know Macy Gray with her unique voice on songs like "I Try" and "Do Something".

You had your "men ain't shit" anthems being dropped left and right from all of the ladies in music like these:
Destiny's Child- Bug-A-Boo & Bills, Bills, Bills
TLC- No Scrubs 
Kelis- Caught Out There
Missy Elliott- All In My Grill

On the flip side, you had inspirational songs on the year as well that impacted the charts and our ears like these:
Whitney Houston- My Love Is Your Love
TLC- Unpretty
Celine Dion & R Kelly- I'm Your Angel
Lauryn Hill- Everything Is Everything

Some of the other highlights for me on the year came from all over the spectrum. These are some of my favorite songs from the year as well:

Santana & The Product G&B- Maria Maria
Faith Evans- Never Gonna Let You Go
Silk- Meeting In My Bedroom
Deborah Cox & RL- We Cant Be Friends
Case- Happily Ever After
Sisqo- Incomplete
Monica- Angel of Mine
Eric Benet & Tamia- Spend My Life With You
K-CI & Jojo- Tell Me It's Real
Brian McKnight - Back At One
Mary J Blige - Sincerity Ft. Nas & DMX
Donell Jones- Where I Wanna Be
Ginuwine - None of Your Friends Business

This wasn't one of the top years of this genre for me, but there was still a lot of worthy music to forever go back to.

1999 is always a great year to talk about musically, we were twelve months shy of a new millennium and our favorite artists were seasoned enough in the industry to be putting out some great projects. ’99 would prove to a solid year, so of course DAR takes a look at the stand out releases.

This was the year that brought TLC out of their five-year long hiatus and back in the spotlight. They dropped “Fanmail” and had the R&B world buzzing again. This album had the familiar personalities and incredibly catchy tracks and beats we loved from previous releases, but had such a fresh and futuristic sound. TLC was a lot less love stricken and way more empowerment and fans loved it. So much so that this album topped charts for weeks upon its release. Their hit single “No Scrubs” became a worldwide phenomenon, while “Unpretty” wasn’t far behind and it didn’t stop there. They also gave us “Silly Ho” and “Dear Lie” which all became instant favorites. As for production, TLC has always used a zillion producers, but somehow manage to stay on point and the album sounds incredibly cohesive. This really was a highlight of the year.

We also saw the debut release from Jennifer Lopez with her “On the 6” album. While expectations were low, she delivered a solid album. Personally, I enjoyed this album a lot. She dropped the first single “If You Had My Love” and sounded incredibly “poppy”, but once the album dropped there was a good balance of soft, sultry R&B ballads in both English and Spanish, as well as very high energy dance music. She even went as far as incorporating Fat Joe and Big Pun for the hip hop infusion. Overall, the transition from film to music for Jennifer Lopez was a good one and I’m glad she could prove her critics wrong. While this was her first album, it wouldn’t be her last. She knows how to entertain and this album is a great example.

This might be the only time I speak remotely positively about Puffy with regards to music, but even I can’t deny that Puffy knows exactly how to appeal to masses which is exactly what he did with his release “Forever” The track that caught my attention was ‘Satisfy You” feat. R.Kelly (which is still one of my favorite songs to this day) The album is feature heavy. In fact I would go as far as to say, it’s the features that make this album memorable. From Kelly Price, Redman, Busta Rhymes, R.Kelly, Mario, Biggie, Lil Kim and everyone else, the tracks had enough variation for it to be a good listen. While this may not belong on a list of “R&B releases”, “Satisfy You” really deserves to be mentioned. I absolutely love that song and I think R.Kelly was an great artist to use. This was one of my favorite tracks of the year (how ironic).

Another great release came from Montell Jordan with “Get It On…Tonite”, this is a lengthy album, but Montell Jordan wrote most of the tracks and produced them so his talent is undeniable. He gives fans a little bit of everything and manages to divide the album in “two sides”; one being a bit faster in beat while being a bit more suited for (Bump N Grind) club tracks, while the second half slows it right down. I did like this album (specifically the title track of course), but I do have to say he tries a bit too hard. Tracks like “Let’s Cuddle” and “One Last Time (Break Up Sex)” are just corny. Montell Jordan has fantastic vocals however, and his sound is smooth, sultry, and has an intonation that is grabbing. He could have stayed away from the generic titles and let his voice explain it. This was (in part) a highlight and definitely a fun album to listen to.

The releases didn’t stop there, 702 released their self titled album with the hit single “Where My Girls At”, which was a great addition to the year. Mary J Blige released “Mary” and continued to share her emotions from track to track and Mariah Carey released “Rainbow”, which had another handful of fun high energy songs. While all of these were definite R&B albums, artists had the end of the year in mind and made sure we all had great tracks to welcome in the 2000’s.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal 
-What a year, right? For me, the last two albums I want to discuss is the Donell Jones classic Where I Wanna Be and the self titled album from Ideal. Both were very solid albums, with Donell making sure his project was in the top 5 releases quality wise on the year. While this year wasn't the best overall in the genre, it was really an enjoyable year musically.



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