DAR Music: 9 Classic R&B Albums From 1992

By @TrueGodImmortal

We have discussed 90's R&B so much over the years on this site and I have to admit that I might have been wrong. I crowned 1996 and 1998 as the two best years of the decade for the genre and I admit that I might have actually been wrong. Perhaps I was overlooking something. Perhaps I was overlooking 1992. Maybe the lack of a Jodeci, D'Angelo, Maxwell, Dru Hill, and Boyz II Men release made me react so hastily. Well, whatever the case, I might have been wrong. I sat and listened back to projects from the decade and decided that this year was excellent and quite possibly the best year in modern R&B history. With that being said, let us take a look at 9 albums that make 1992 such a legendary year in R&B music.

*Sade- Love Deluxe

-So, we have spoken before about how Sade is one of the greatest artists of all time. Her music has made her a legend and her catalog is one of the most flawless out there. When she arrived at her 4th album in 1992, no one knew what to expect. Fresh off of a small hiatus after her 1988 release, Sade would return with perhaps the greatest work of her career, the smooth sounds of jazzy R&B mixed in with some quiet storm soul on Love Deluxe. Along with her sensual yet beautiful album cover, Sade delivers so many classics and gems from "No Ordinary Love" to "Feel No Pain" to "I Couldn't Love You More" to "Kiss Of Life" to "Cherish The Day", and pretty much the entire album. The album would be a huge highlight on the year and one of the best sellers, and it recently just turned 26 last week.

*Mary J. Blige- What's The 411

-A pioneering album in the genre, What's The 411 is the magnum opus in Mary's career IMO. Her sophomore album is also a classic, but this album is just special. Alongside the production from Devante Swing, Dave Hall, Tony Dofat, and more, Mary provides some of her strongest vocals and music, blessing the world with classics like "Real Love", "You Remind Me", "Reminisce", "My Love", and "Sweet Thing", all on the same album. That opening three song run of "Reminisce", "Real Love", and "You Remind Me" might be the greatest three song run in R&B female history on any album. The project would solidify Mary as a star and be certified triple platinum, becoming one of the biggest releases of the year by far.

*Silk- Lose Control

-I was debating between putting this album or the Shai album on here, so I just decided to go with both. Both albums give you that R&B group vibe you were looking for on two different spectrums. Silk felt like the more smooth of the two groups, with their music falling almost into the same category as the legendary Jodeci while Shai had more of a down home style to their music that resembled Boyz II Men. It was all slow jam based and R&B based, but you could hear a clear difference. Silk was discovered by Keith Sweat and he is a pivotal piece of this album in numerous ways, as his influence can be heard. This debut album from the group brings us classics like the title track, the sex anthem "Freak Me", the single "Happy Days" with Keith Sweat, and the collab with the Levert brothers on "Don't Keep Me Waiting". This album is a true R&B platinum classic.

*Jade- Jade To The Max

-You know, for some reason, as a kid, I had a crush on this trio. Looking back now, it might have just been my really really young mind just liking women who could sing, but regardless, young True appreciated Jade. In reflection, their debut album might have played a role in my affinity for them. This album would go platinum and be a hit for the group, as it spawned the iconic 90's R&B gem "Don't Walk Away", along with other singles like "One Woman" and "I Wanna Love You". Jade made their mark felt with this debut and it is a shame that they were never able to replicate this success again, but in 1992, they had things on point.

*Boomerang Soundtrack

-The greatest soundtrack in R&B history. While this year had the Bodyguard and Mo' Money soundtrack, which were both excellent, this soundtrack blows everything out of the water. The official soundtrack for the greatest black romantic comedy ever would have to be great to match the legend of the film and it does just that. With prominent contributions from Babyface, Toni Braxton, P.M. Dawn, Keith Washington, Boyz II Men, Shanice, and Johnmy Gill, this soundtrack gives us gem after gem after gem. My favorite songs here are the Babyface penned and produced classic that Johnny Gill made into his own with "There U Go", the Kenny Vaughan and Art Of Love gem "Feels Like Heaven", the iconic Toni Braxton arrival song on "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" (also written and produced by Babyface), and of course the Toni and Babyface New Jack Swing duet "Give U My Heart". The soundtrack would be successful as well, going triple platinium and exceeding the usual sales for soundtracks at the time. This might be my favorite project of the whole year.

*Shai- If I Ever Fall In Love

-I spoke briefly about this group when mentioning Silk, just showcasing the stark differences between the two groups. However, Shai had a style that was perfect for them and on their debut album, they would leave a classic moment on the genre and do so without an actual production. The original a capella version of the title track is their biggest and most popular song and rightfully so. It is rich with harmony and showcases raw vocal talent. They had smooth instrumentals on the album and some excellent gems as well, as "Comforter" is my actual favorite song from them, and other tracks like "Sexual", "Changes", "Lord I've Come", and "Baby I'm Yours" also showcase what they do best. The album would go triple platinum and set Shai on a path that should have led them to legendary status, but instead they could never replicate this album's success. Still, this is a classic.

*Bobby Brown- Bobby

-So, classic might be a stretch for this album, at least in the sense of what Bobby did on his last album before this one. Whatever the case is however, this album is a great listen and while it isn't Don't Be Cruel Part 2, as a standalone release, it is excellent. The album dives more into the personal world of who Bobby really was, the changes he went through and everything in between. Bobby had much more creative input on this album than his previous releases and it shows throughout. The album would feature production from his usual collaborators in Babyface and Teddy Riley, which resulted in a number of highlights on this project from "Humpin Around" to "Get Away" to "Two Can Play That Game" to "Good Enough" to the Whitney duet "Something In Common". Bobby succeeds with his third solo album and ends up making a mark on 1992 almost to the level that he did in 1988 with Don't Be Cruel. Almost.

*SWV- Its About Time

-If you ask me, the best 90's R&B ladies group is SWV. Their music just hit on a different level than the other groups and this is their best work by far. This album might be one of the greatest in the genre period and it is definitely the best debut album for a R&B female group IMO. This album, which just turned 26 last week, has so many gems, from their instant classic single "Weak" to one of my personal favorites "Anything" to the Human Nature remix of "Right Here" to "I'm So Into You" to the sensual "Downtown", and so much more. The group manages to deliver the whole album through and there isn't one song you want to skip here. The album is certified triple platinum and remains the highest selling album of the group's career and rightfully so. This is a classic by far.

*TLC- Ooohhhhh... On The TLC Tip

-I am not entirely sure who had the idea to make TLC into the tomboy group that they started out as, but it worked well. This debut album is handled by a number of producers and writers, from Babyface to Dallas Austin to Marley Marl to Jermaine Dupri, and they all manage to contribute a number of great tracks throughout the album. There are a number of highlights here, from the first debut single "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" to my favorite "Baby-Baby-Baby" to the hit single "What About Your Friends" to "Bad By Myself", and more. This album would go on to be certified 4X platinum, making it a massive success. TLC would become one of the biggest groups in music history and 1992 would be the year they officially made their arrival.



  1. Other noted and likable mentions of the same year ought to include:

    En Vogue - FUNKY DIVAS
    Al B. Sure! - SEXY VERSUS
    Arrested Development - 3 YEARS, 5 MONTHS...)

    After 7 - TAKIN' MY TIME
    Stephanie Mills - SOMETHING REAL
    Chuckii Booker - NIICE N' WILD

  2. I wish more writers of this sort of substance would take the time you did to investigate and compose so well. I am exceptionally awed with your vision and knowledge. new rnb music


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