A look at the best of what Rhythm and Blues had to offer in the 1990’s. From the classic sounds of the decade to the modern day hits, we’ll explore it all.
Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when “urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat” was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and triumph.
R&B in the Early ’90s
The early ’90s were a great time for rhythm and blues music. There were a lot of great artists making great music. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best of what the genre had to offer in the early ’90s.
The Birth of New Jack Swing
In the early ’90s, a new sound was born that would come to dominate the R&B landscape for years to come. This sound was known as New Jack Swing, and it blended together the best of hip-hop, R&B, and pop to create a totally new and irresistible sound. The man responsible for this new sound was producer Teddy Riley, who worked with artists like Bobby Brown and Guy to create some of the most iconic New Jack Swing hits of the decade. If you’re a fan of ’90s R&B, then you definitely need to check out some of the best New Jack Swing hits of the decade.
The Rise of Hip Hop
The early ’90s saw the rise of a new genre of music: hip hop. Hip hop artists sampled elements of Funk, Soul, and disco to create a new sound that was both fresh and familiar. The popularity of hip hop spread quickly, and soon it was one of the most popular genres in the country. R&B artists began to experiment with hip hop elements in their own music, creating a new sound that merged the best of both genres.
Some of the most successful R&B/hip hop fusion songs of the early ’90s include “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot, “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-n-Effect, and “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd. These songs combined the catchy melodies and harmonies of R&B with the hard-hitting beats and edgy lyrics of hip hop, creating a sound that was irresistible to both fans of R&B and hip hop.
The success of these fusion songs paved the way for more experimental music in the ’90s, as artists continued to push the boundaries of what was possible in popular music.
The Golden Age of R&B
The 1990’s was a decade of change for the music industry. A new generation of artists emerged from the ashes of the 80’s, bringing with them a new sound and a new attitude. These artists would come to dominate the charts throughout the decade, and their music would come to be known as the best of Rhythm and Blues.
The Dominance of Boyz II Men
By the early 1990’s, it was clear that R&B music was in a new golden age. This was largely due to the massive success of Boyz II Men. The group’s first album, “Cooleyhighharmony,” was released in 1991 and featured the hit single “Motownphilly.” The album was a smash success, selling over nine million copies in the United States.
Boyz II Men followed up this success with their second album, “II,” which was released in 1994. The album featured the hits “I’ll Make Love to You” and “On Bended Knee.” These songs dominated the airwaves and helped Boyz II Men become one of the best-selling R&B groups of all time.
The group continued to enjoy success in the late 1990’s with their third album, “Evolution,” which featured the hit singles “4 Seasons of Loneliness” and “A Song for Mama.” By this point, Boyz II Men had solidified their place as one of the most successful R&B groups of all time.
The Rise of Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey’s self-titled debut album was released in 1990 and
propelled her to superstardom. The album showcased her incredible
vocal range and introduced the world to her unique style of R&B.
The album spawned a number of hits, including “Vision of Love,”
“Love Takes Time,” and “Someday.” Carey quickly became a global
phenomenon, selling millions of albums and appearing on magazine
covers around the world. She cemented her status as a pop icon with
her follow-up album, Emotions, which was released in 1991.
Emotions featured the hits “Can’t Let Go” and “Make It Happen,” and
established Carey as one of the most successful artists of the early
1990s. Her third album, Music Box, was released in 1993 and featured
the smash hit “Dreamlover.” The album solidified her position as one
of the biggest names in music.
The Late ’90s and the New Millennium
A new breed of Rhythm and Blues artists emerged during the late ’90s and the new millennium. These artists brought a new sound and style to the genre that was heavily influenced by Hip Hop and contemporary R&B. Some of the best Rhythm and Blues artists of the 90’s include Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, and Erykah Badu.
The Return of R&B
In the late ‘90s, a new wave of R&B acts emerged, led by such artists as Mariah Carey, TLC, Monica, Usher, and Lauryn Hill. These artists brought a new level of success to an R&B genre that had been in decline since the early ‘80s. Thanks to the popularity of these artists and others, the late ‘90s saw a resurgence in R&B’s popularity.
The New Faces of R&B
A number of established R&B acts released new albums during the late ’90s, but the freshest and most exciting sounds in rhythm and blues came from a new generation of artists. Not since the heyday of Motown had so many talented young singers come along at the same time, and they helped revitalize R&B during a period when rap was increasingly dominating the pop landscape.
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