DAR Music: 8 Classic Female R&B Singles From The 90's

By @TrueGodImmortal

We love the 90's. Admit it, you do too. Yes, we here at DAR have discussed the 90's a lot, where it was hip hop or R&B, but greatness can never be discussed enough. While we've covered a lot of spectrums, one aspect that we haven't been able to really cover in full might be female artists in the genre during the decade. We've discussed the usual suspects, like TLC, Toni Braxton, Mary J. Blige, and others, but they aren't the only women who made a big impact on the R&B world during the 90's. With that being said, I wanted to take a moment to look back at 8 classic singles by some of the lovely women of 90's R&B. These are artists that aren't always mentioned in the discussions, but have hit records that deserve recognition. Who makes this list? Let's take a look.

*Jade- Don't Walk Away (1992)

-Some might consider Jade to be a one hit wonder, but I was never one of those people. Granted, I had a major crush on this group growing up, so perhaps my opinion and perspective are skewed slightly, but for the most part, I always felt the group were more than just a one hit wonder (look no further than the success of "I Wanna Love You" and "One Woman" to prove me right). Still, the biggest single and the song that's remembered the most from the group has to be this one. The New Jack Swing production, the hilarious opening of the song, as well as the infectious vocals and hook, everything seemed to just work together perfectly on this track. The song would crack the top 5 of the Billboard 100 and remains the calling card of the short lived group some 26 years later. That's the mark of a true classic.

*Brownstone- If You Love Me (1994)

-You know this song well. You love this song. The song was sampled by Tory Lanez a few years ago, and though I never felt like Tory did the sample justice, the original track is just as great as it was 24 years ago. Produced by Dave Hall, this single managed to breakthrough and make Brownstone a household name for the time being, cracking the Billboard 100 charts by making the top 10 and becoming certified gold. The song is smooth, with great vocals, but the hook is what remains the bread and butter of this song, much like the other tracks listed here.

*Mokenstef- He's Mine (1995)

-While the name of the group itself might not ring a bell, the song itself likely done. Mokenstef, a group comprised of three women (Monifa, Kenya, Stefanie... hence the name), hit it big on the charts with this hit. Their debut single "He's Mine" was one of the bigger songs of 1995, with two popular samples driving the production (Roger Troutman and Prince). The song was a smooth listen, with some interesting lyrics, and the hook of course was the driving force of the success. The song would hit no. 7 on the Billboard 100, and remains the largest hit in the career of the group (their only mega hit really). The single itself was certified gold and is remembered as an anthem of sorts for some women during this era, for better or worse.

*Changing Faces- Stroke You Up (1994)

-While Spotify and the music apps are trying to boycott R. Kelly and his music, we here at DAR have to recognize a classic that he wrote and produced. Changing Faces would have moderate success in the 90's, utilizing the hitmaking ability of R. Kelly to fuel their best songs, with this one being their biggest track. The track is essentially a bedroom anthem that benefits from the slightly raunchy hook with the adlibs and assistance from Kelly. The single would crack the top 3 of the Billboard 100 and make Changing Faces a prominent force in the genre.

*Nicole Wray featuring Mocha and Missy Elliott- Make It Hot (1998)

-During the Timbaland and Missy era, many classics came out. This track happens to be one of the best. Nicole Wray was actually a gem during this era and I wish she managed to get more shine besides this hit. Though I'm not really sure who Mocha was (at least not in retrospect), we do know Missy very well and in addition to Nicole Wray and her vocals, there was a rumor that Kelly Price is an uncredited vocalist on the hook and bridge. Whether that's true or not, this Timbaland produced and Missy penned gem is a classic and Missy's verse just adds to the greatness. Still, the biggest highlight here is the hook. Every time I revisit this song, it still sounds as good as it did 20 years ago (shout out to Timbaland for the adlibs near the end of the song... no Missy and Timbaland song was complete without it).

*Zhane- Sending My Love (1994)

-The debut album from Zhane is truly special and one of the greatest female R&B albums from the 90's. Produced by the numbers of Naughty By Nature, this single was the forgotten track essentially from their debut album. While most of us reading loved this single and enjoyed it, a lot of people always go to "Hey, Mr DJ" and "Groove Thang" when they discuss this duo, but I'm partial to this track slightly more so than those two. With a boom bap drum style production backed by a beautiful melody, the ladies deliver one of their most catchy tunes that falls right into the hip hop soul category that was so popular during the decade.

*702 featuring Missy Elliott- Steelo (1996)

-One of the most underrated girl groups from the 90's remains 702. They were talented women, who came after the initial wave of girl groups in R&B, so perhaps they got lost in the mix when talking the best of the best, but their debut single still gets play and appreciation in many circles. Missy is featured on this track and she fits well on the single, but the real driving force of the song is the catchy hook. The production is solid with a simple melody to accompany the vocals of the ladies, and when I look back on some of the best singles of the decade, this is near the top of my personal list.

*Gina Thompson featuring Missy Elliott- The Things That You Do (1996)

-You may notice that there are multiple tracks here to close the article out that feature Missy Elliott. That was actually just by chance, but it definitely should tell you how important she was to music during this era. Most people don't remember Gina Thompson and that's perfectly fine, but I bet you they remember this song. While the original version was solid, the Bad Boy Remix is the most remembered version of the song with a smooth beat backing Gina's slightly sultry vocals. Missy makes an appearance with a verse that might not have been necessary, but it definitely added to the track for radio purposes. This is an extremely infectious record, like the others listed. All classics.



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