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DAR Music: 40 Underrated 90s R&B Albums




By @TrueGodImmortal 




We've talked 90s R&B quite often here on the site and as it stands, we will definitely be doing it more in the future. Today, we stop and take a moment to look at some of the most underrated 90s R&B albums. From the slept on legends that were Hi-Five, Silk, H-Town to the one moment in the sun artists like Keith Washington and Tony Terry to more to the semi forgotten ladies of the decade like Tamia, Shanice, and more, we give them the credit they deserve for making the music that we loved in the 90s.

*Hi-Five- Faithful (1993)



-I started off the list with this one because this album features a top 10 90s R&B song ever IMO in "Unconditional Love". It's true to the 90s R&B sound and feel, as is the rest of the very short album, and because of the shortened tracklist, it doesn't miss the mark at all. Every song here works in its own right, making the album another 90s R&B gem.

*Tony Terry- Tony Terry (1990)



-In the era of the box fade and New Jack Swing style, Tony Terry came with his 2nd album, and won over fans with his smooth vocals. His legacy is literally rooted in this album however, as his most infamous single "With You" is featured here along with other great tracks like "Everlasting Love", "Baby Love", and "Head Over Heels". This album doesn't get recognized enough in 90s R&B and it definitely should be.

*Chuckii Booker- Niice and Wiild (1992)



-The New Jack Swing era really dominated the early 90s, but no album featured the style that Chuckii Booker brought to the music. While I'm not sure what his affinity was for using an extra "i" in damn near everything, what I do know is that this keyboard player/vocalist would release a project that tends to be overlooked with his second and final album. What is so dope about this album is that he produced and wrote every single song on the album, something that wasn't really the norm in R&B at the time. With his classic single "Games" being featured here, along with other solid tracks like "With All My Heart" and "Front Line", Chuckii would end up making something that remains a treat to the ears years later.

*Levert- Rope A Dope Style (1990)



-Though my favorite Levert song is "Casanova", I think their best album is this particular one. With the title track being a moderate hit, along with other songs like "Give A Little Love", "All Season", "Baby I'm Ready", and "Nobody Does It Better", the group managed to craft a very solid effort.

*Intro- Intro (1993)



-Probably one of the more forgotten R&B groups from the 90s, Intro has one of the best albums of the decade here that largely goes unappreciated. While many of us know "Let Me Be The One", this entire album is stacked with gem after gem, from "It's All About You" to "Come Inside", and many more of the tracks on this short but sweet album.

*Ralph Tresvant- Ralph Tresvant (1990)



-The first solo album from one of the lead New Edition singers is honestly a gem that is recognized a bit again with the release of the New Edition miniseries, but in all honesty, this album doesn't get enough credit for positioning Ralph to become a star. The title track, "Do What I Gotta Do", and "Stone Cold Gentlemen" were all solid tracks and moderate hits that put Ralph right on the charts.

*Mint Condition- From The Mint Factory (1993)



-Widely seen as the group's best album, this legendary group made sure to put the right blend of R&B sensibility with just enough touch of funk and soul to balance the sound out. The big single "U Send Me Swingin", along with "Nobody Does It Betta", "Someone To Love", and other tracks round out the very consistent project.

*Johnny Gill- Let's Get The Mood Right (1996)



-While this wasn't as great as his self titled album in 1990, this project was definitely overlooked at the time. With songs like the Babyface penned title track to the Gamble and Huff assisted "Touch", the Al B. Sure assisted "4 U Alone", and the R. Kelly penned "Someone To Love", this is a well rounded album that features some heavy hitters behind the scenes.

*Kut Klose- Surrender (1995)



-Before they were etched in stone as the girls singing the hook on Keith Sweat's "Twisted", this girl group would be responsible for a very dope album that saw the title track, "Lay My Body Down", "Lovely Thing", and "Do Me" be the highlights. A very underrated group and album.

*Solo- Solo (1995)



-Another instance of a group that didn't get the credit they deserved. While Solo isn't legendary, they definitely had a nice small run that really was kicked off by this album. Executive produced by the legendary Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, this album features pretty solid songs like "Heaven", "Where Do You Want Me To Put It", and "Blowin' My Mind".

*Jesse Powell- Bout It (1998)



-There are some songs that just hit the mark and you can't describe why. Jesse Powell managed to do that with his mega hit "You", which is really the biggest thing of his legacy. The album that birthed that single isn't something to bypass either, as his voice coasted over smooth upbeat instrumentals and the traditional ballads like the aforementioned "You".

*Christopher Williams- Changes (1992)



-Kareem from New Jack City helped fill the void of lightskin brother during the New Jack Swing era after Al B. Sure seemed to be falling off just a bit. While that might be a funny way of explaining it, the singer who brought us "Dreamin", would have a really solid sophomore album, and his biggest release.

*Brownstone- From The Bottom Up (1995)



-There were a lot of girl groups that had dope music. For this particular group, despite having some popularity with the new era fans based on a Tory Lanez sample, the album itself was a bit slept on. Released on Epic Records and through Michael Jackson's music division, the album featured songs "If You Love Me", "Grapevyne", "Fruit Of Life", and had very solid production.

*Miki Howard- Femme Fatale  (1992)



-One of those albums that is more appreciated once discussed in an Unsung episode, this project has some very good music on it. Many of us tend to forget about Miki Howard, but she was very a viable artist, and on this album, with tracks like "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon", "But I Love You", and "Ain't Nobody Like You", she really put together a very good project that sounds good even now.

*Chante Moore- Precious (1992)



-The gorgeous Chante Moore debuted and caught the world off guard. With this debut album, Chante set herself apart from the Mariahs, Whitneys, and the powerhouses of the industry, by taking a much softer approach musically. Though she wasn't a multi platinum star, her music was smooth, mellow, and with singles like "Love's Taken Over", "It's Alright", and "Who Do I Turn To", Chante set the tone for her career with this album.

*Eric Benet- True To Myself (1996)



-As Neo-Soul began taking shape, Eric Benet would make his debut. This album is often forgotten since he became most popular on his sophomore album, but this debut is near flawless. With smooth songs like "Let's Stay Together", "Femininity", and the title track, Eric let it be known that he was here and here to stay.

*Aaron Hall- The Truth (1993)



-The former vocalist from Guy went solo and in the process truly became the catalyst for one of the biggest artists in history, R. Kelly. It's been said R. Kelly changed his style from New Jack Swing character to an Aaron Hall ripoff, and one listen to this album will help to further that belief. Though 12 Play came around the same time as this album, Aaron's style had been the same since the days of Guy, and minus the bald head, he was the same artist. With songs like "Let's Make Love", "When You Need Me", and the all time classic "I Miss You", Aaron crafted a perfect album that doesn't get enough credit for the decade.

*Keith Washington- Make Time For Love (1991)



-Although he is always going to remembered by me for his cameo role on Martin, the smooth style of Keith Washington was really what 90s R&B needed. He carried himself very gentleman like in his music, in a way at least, and this album is remembered heavily for the seductive and smooth single "Kissing You".

*Zhane- Saturday Night (1997)



-The duo that took us all by storm on their debut returned with a sophomore project that was even better than their first. With tracks like "Crush", "Request Line", and "Just Like That", Zhane came with a project that still can be played with hardly any skips.

*H-Town- Beggin After Dark (1994)



-Though many speak about the first album from this group, their 2nd is actually their best overall IMO. Yes, the album is centered around sex and love, with a bit more raunchy elements than perhaps some of the more popular R&B acts then, but it works perfectly on songs like "Sex Bowl", "Full Time", and my favorite "One Night Gigolo". This album doesn't get enough credit, but I definitely loved it.

*Case- Personal Conversation (1999)



-Already a moderate star in the genre, this album would solidify Case as one of the better artists of R&B just as the decade closed. It would also be his last big moment in the spotlight too, but a moment well worth it. This album features Joe on the classic "Faded Pictures", the smooth "Where Did Our Love Go", and the huge single "Happily Ever After", which featured a very young Beyonce in the video (she was about 18-19). Overall, this album had some of the best music Case ever made, and he's one of those underrated artists that we should definitely give more credit to.

*Kenny Lattimore- Kenny Lattimore (1996)



-There's always been songs in R&B that people consider "wedding songs". In 1996, Kenny Lattimore gave many people that with "For You", but more than that, he gave us an album that could play all the way through. The mood on this album is almost Neo-Soul like, with tracks like "Where Did Love Go", "Forever", and more.

*Silk- Silk (1995)



-The self titled album from the group that I believed is top 5 in 90s R&B was severely overlooked and slept on compared to their two biggest releases of the decade. With some of my favorite 90s R&B tracks like "Hooked On You", "I Can Go Deep", and my personal favorite from Silk "Don't Rush", this album definitely deserves more recognition for this decade of music.

*Changing Faces- All Day, All Night (1997)



-Known for their previous hit, "Stroke You Up", this album would see Changing Faces take the songwriting skills of R. Kelly and various other writers and turn these songs into women anthems. Songs like the Jay-Z featured "All Of My Days", the title track, and the single "G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T." set the tone for a very solid effort.

*Tamia- Tamia (1998)



-One of my biggest 90s R&B crushes growing up, this Canadian born songbird was known for her work on soundtracks and with Quincy Jones, but when she geared up to release her official first album, she would shock us all. The tracks on this album like "Imagination" and the infamous "So Into You" (which Fabolous would remix years later), helped shape the artist who Tamia would become over the years.

*Hi-Five- Keep It Goin On (1992)



-This album was really my personal favorite from the group. In addition to having released a successful debut, they went above and beyond with the 2nd album, avoiding the dreaded sophomore jinx. They would work closely with R. Kelly on this album as he would help produce and write some of the best songs on this album. The biggest hit from this album is "She's Playing Hard To Get", a New Jack Swing esque upbeat track that shows the group's youth at the time. However, the best song on this album, is the R. Kelly penned "Quality Time", which is the personification of what 90s R&B was all about. Overall, I consider this album a personal classic and as I stated, the best from the group.

*SWV- Release Some Tension (1997)



-While we do look at SWV as one of the greatest R&B groups from the decade, this particular album doesn't get mentioned as much as their previous efforts and that's criminal. Though this album probably had a bit more of hip hop to it than previous efforts, they still had songs like "Can We" and the bedroom ballad "Rain" to give the true R&B feel.

*Alfonso Hunter- Blacka Da Berry (1996)



-The name probably doesn't even ring familiar to many of you reading this. However, Alfonso came with a really dope album that probably isn't heard of in many circles that champion 90s R&B. Songs like "Weekend Thang", the title track, and "Slow Motion" are must listens.

*Shanice- Inner Child (1991)



-In a way, it feels like the time of Shanice came and went so fast. She had a lot of promise as a singer, but when we look back on her legacy, there isn't much to speak of, except this album, which is a near classic. The first single "I Love Your Smile" is one that resonates still to this day for many R&B fans, while the rest of the album keeps the playful innocence of Shanice in tact.

*Deborah Cox- One Wish (1998)



-Of all the women of the 90s, one that tends to not get enough credit is Deborah Cox. Her resounding voice is one of the strongest in music and yet she's not listed with some of the best vocalists for some reason. This album featured the classic tracks "We Can't Be Friends" and "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here".

*Christion- Ghetto Cyrano (1997)



-While Roc-A-Fella definitely had hip hop on lock, they wanted to get involved in the R&B game. Aside from Rell, their best chance at being successful in that genre was Christion. With tracks like "The Ghetto", "Full Of Smoke", and more, this album flowed very well and really would have worked had The Roc promoted it even more.

*Rome- Rome (1997)



-Though he didn't achieve a large amount of success after this, this singer would gain some traction with the release of his debut album, featuring his big hit "I Belong To You". The rest of this album was true 90s R&B smooth styling, and every song highlighted the strength of Rome, who vocally coasted on these songs.

*Horace Brown- Horace Brown (1996)



-You might not even remember Horace Brown, as I'm sure the name might not ring that MUCH of a bell, but he didn't miss with this self titled album. You do know the single "One For The Money", which is my favorite on the album, along with "Things We Do For Love", and "How Can We Stop". Though not the biggest album sales wise, the grooves here are undeniable.

*Soul 4 Real- Candy Rain (1995)


-In a way, it is hard to consider this group as underrated, and this album as that also, because it was pretty popular when it released. However, this particular project doesn't get the credit it deserves, especially since it spawned the epic title track and "Every Little Thing I Do", both of which are top tier 90s R&B songs.

*Mista- Mista (1996)



-Long before Bobby Valentino was a part of Disturbing The Peace, he was a lead vocalist for this Atlanta based group. Their self titled debut was solid, pushed by the hit single and one of my favorite songs ever, the Organized Noize produced "Blackberry Molasses". Other songs like "Lady", "Things You Do", and more help to round out the album.

*Montell Jordan- This Is How We Do It (1995)



-When you think of 90s R&B, I'm sure one song that comes to mind is the title track to this album. However, what about the actual album itself? Many remember the single, but not the rest of the album, which was actually pretty enjoyable and is still dope today, including the songs "Something 4 Da Honeyz",
"I'll Do Anything", and "Daddy's Home".

*Tevin Campbell- I'm Ready (1993)



-Look, I know. Some see this album as a classic. It is a classic. However, when talking 90s R&B albums, you hear about Jodeci, Boyz II Men, Mariah, Janet, and the usual suspects, but one of the absolute greatest 90s R&B albums came from the Texas native. He had something that many people couldn't possibly pull off: songs crafted for him by Babyface and Prince. Tracks like "Always In My Heart", "I'm Ready", and "Can We Talk" were provided by Babyface, while Prince gifted Tevin the outstanding track "Shhh". Despite going double platinum, I don't think this album gets enough love in the decade like it should.

*Kelly Price- Soul Of A Woman (1998)


-Aside from her now preparing to sing the national anthem at a proposed Chris Brown vs Soulja Boy fight (sad), Kelly Price is a well known name in R&B and her strong voice is what catapulted her musically. This platinum album features what is her biggest song "Friend Of Mine", a true 90s R&B classic. Kelly had other albums that saw success, but this is easily the best in her catalog.

*Chico Debarge- Long Time No See (1997)


-The Debarge family truly were stars in the 80s. However, as the 90s rolled around, drug problems and issues seemed to affect them and their productivity. The one instance where it didn't? Chico came with some great music here, but the true highlight of this album is the Joe assisted "No Guarantee (Remix)", which is a top 90s R&B track without a doubt.

*Donell Jones- My Heart (1996)


-I debated whether to put this on the list, but Donell is one of the best artists of the decade and most of us just recognize him for his 2nd album, the classic "Where I Wanna Be". However, his debut is JUST as good, with a title track that flowed smoothly and a beautiful rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet". Donell made a statement with this album.

In conclusion, the 90s was full of so much music that some albums get lost in the shuffle, but these are the albums that definitely should be credited much more. If you've never heard of some of these, Google is always your friend. Get familiar with these 90s R&B gems.

-True

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