Just as the 90s gave birth to some of the most popular and iconic artists of all time, the same goes for bands as well. The 90s was a gateway for many music genres, such as alternative rock/grunge, hip-hop, and, most importantly, R&B. Perhaps the best thing about R&B was that it attracted everyone due to its romantic, slow, love-infused melodies and beats, not to mention the lyrics. While other music genres such as alternative rock/grunge and hip-hop were mostly male-dominated, it was different in the case of R&B. Therefore, let us discuss the most popular R&B bands in the 90s that continue to grab our attention even today.
Jodeci is an American R&B quartet that includes JoJo, DeVante Swing, K-Ci, and Mr.Davlin. The group was formed in Charlotte in 1989. In 1991, Jodeci joined hands with Uptown Records and began working on its debut album ‘Forever My Lady.’ The album played a crucial role in helping them achieve mainstream success. The single ‘Come and Talk to Me’ topped at Billboard Hot 100 along with the album’s titular track. Then in 1993, the group’s popularity and commercial success continued with the release of ‘Diary of a Mad Band’ along with ‘The Show, the After Party, the Hotel.’
This album was basically an experiment conducted by the band in terms of introducing various musical styles, which were not influenced by traditional R&B. Furthermore, Jodeci would integrate hip hop into their music as well, which led them to be featured with hip-hop artists. Each album released by the band during the 90s was certified Platinum and helped redefine the genre.
Bell BivDeVoe, also is known as BBD, is an American music group that consisted of Ricky Bell Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe. The band gained commercial success and broke into mainstream by releasing their debut album ‘Poison.’ Not only was this album helped the band achieve huge popularity, but it was a multi-platinum selling album as well. The 90s was a period when the new jack swing movement was taking place.
This movement combined elements of traditional soul and R&B with hip-hop. This combination was something new at the time, and therefore, it was evident that it would particularly attract hip-hop fans. Two singles from the album ‘Poison’ and ‘Do Me’ reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. The band released three more albums, but none of them was able to achieve the same success as their debut. Even though the band had released only four albums in 27 years, it has managed to tour and perform live continuously.
Originating from New York City, SWV (Sisters with voices) featured Cheryl Gamble, Leanne Lyons, and Tamara Johnson as band members. Originally, the band was formed in 1988 as a gospel group, and it went on to become one of the most successful R&B groups of the 90s. The band was able to release a series of hits such as ‘Right Here,’ ‘I’m So Into You,’ and ‘Weak’ etc. Before the group disbanded in 1998, it was able to sell more than 19 million albums worldwide and 35 million records worldwide.
However, in 2005, the band reunited, but it could not recover the diminishing popularity. The primary reason behind disbanding was that the members wished to follow solo careers, but it did not work out.
Founded in 1993, Blackstreet is an American R&B group introduced by record producers Thomas R. Taliaferro, Teddy Riley, and Chauncey Hannibal. The group began its career by releasing their first single ‘Baby Be Mine’ in 1993 and then the debut album. The debut album followed the same title as of the band and featured singles like ‘Booti Call,’ ‘Before I Let You Go’ and ‘Joy.’ Both ‘Booti Call’ and ‘Before I Let You Go’ were top 40 hits. ‘Before I Let You Go’ climbed amongst the top 10. In 1996, the band released its sophomore album ‘Another Level,’ which was a breakthrough success due to the single ‘No Diggity’ with Dr.Dre.
The single was a No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1996. The year 1998 was a big won for the band as it won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with vocals. Eventually, ‘Another Level’ went four times Platinum in the United States and peaked No.3 at the Billboard chart. The group disbanded several times before reforming and continued working with prominent artists like Ja Rule, Janet Jackson, and Eve. In 2019, it was reported that Blackstreet was amongst many artists whose materials were destroyed in the universal 2008 fire.
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, 112 is an American R&B group that consisted of artists formerly included in Bad Boy Records. In 2002, the group signed to the Def Soul roster. The group had achieved success in the late 90s and early 2000s with hits such as ‘Only You,’ ‘Anywhere,’ and ‘Peaches & Cream,’ which was a Grammy Award-nominated single. Furthermore, the group won a Grammy award in 1997 for the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
The time period between 2007 and 2009 included controversy, hiatus, and solo projects. The group disbanded for a while because the members wished to pursue solo careers. Soon, the band came together and started working on its album. Today, the band sits as a group that displayed splendid music styles and offered tracks that were ahead of their time. Even though the band was not able to come up with a hit album or a single after reforming, it was performed live in 2015 at the BET Awards to highlight the fact that it was still relevant.
Destiny’s Child was probably the most popular R&B American girl group of the 90s. Its final line-up comprises of Kelly Rowland, Beyonce Knowles, and Michelle Williams. Termed as the most powerful group of its era, the group was formed in 1990 in Houston as Girl’s Tyme. Initially, the group consisted of Rowland, LeToyaLuckett, Knowles, and LaTavia Roberson, who was signed to Columbia Records in 1997 as Destiny’s Child. The group took flight upon releasing their best-selling debut album ‘The Writing on the Wall.’ The album consisted of hit singles such as ‘Bills, Bills, Bills,’ and ‘Say My Name.’
Although the band was at the peak of its career, internal conflicts and legal turmoil plagued the band, leading to cracks amongst in relationships. Destiny’ Child released their third album ‘Survivor’ in 2001, and a year later, the group decided to part ways to pursue solo careers. Two years later, the group, which was now a trio reunited for its fourth and final album.
To date, Destiny’s Child has been able to sell more than sixty million records worldwide. Furthermore, it is ranked as one of the greatest musical trios of all time. In total, the group had been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards with winning twice for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and once for Best R&B song.
Xscape is an American female R&B vocal quartet from Atlanta, Georgia. It was formed in 1992 by KandiBurrus, Tameka Cottle, Tamika Scott, LaTocha Scott, and Tamera Coggins-Wynn. Coggins-Wynn left the group the following year, and the group became a quartet. After being signed to So SoDef label, the group released its debut album ‘HumminCominat’Cha’ in 1993.
The album features two of the band’s biggest hits, ‘Just Kickin It’ and ‘Understanding.’ In 1994, the album was certified Platinum. Furthermore, Xscape had sold more than 30 million records worldwide. Then, the album released its second album, ‘Off the Hook’ in 1995, which also became certified Platinum in 1995. The lead singles ‘Who Can I Run To’ and ‘Feels So Good’ were certified Gold in the United States. Their third and final album ‘Traces of My Lipstick’ was released in 1998. The lead single ‘The Arms of the One Who Loves You’ was certified Gold in 1998 while the album was certified Platinum in 1999. After a year, the band disbanded to pursue solo careers before reuniting in 2017.
As the group had disbanded, it was evident that a hiatus would overcome, which prevented the band from reforming for five years. Upon reforming, the band released its fourth album ‘Unchained.’ However, it was not released due to a lack of promotion offered by the record label. As a result, the band’s plan to make a comeback failed. Then in 2017, the group came together to perform at the 2017 BET Awards. Their first performance in over 18 years. The year 2018 saw the group releasing their EP titled ‘Here for it,’ which failed to achieve commercial success.
With so much happening in the music world today, it is hard to keep track of the bands and artists that once helped shape the most popular music genres. Even though the majority of bands broke the chain and went onto pursue solo careers, but it does not change the fact that they once had the world crazy about them. This article was intended to recall and remember the most famous R&B bands of the 90s, and we hope to have done justice to it.