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Updated by DJ Rob on Aug 27, 2022
Headline for The 101 Greatest Songs by Male R&B Groups from the Last True Era of R&B (1990-2001)
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The 101 Greatest Songs by Male R&B Groups from the Last True Era of R&B (1990-2001)

Djrobblog is celebrating the last true era of male R&B groups: 1990 - 2001. In doing so, I've come up with a ranking of the 101 Best Songs by Male R&B Groups during those years. I've combed through hundreds of songs recorded or released by over 70 different male R&B duos or groups during the genre's last great era, and came up with a ranking of what I considered to be the best ones. I used a combination of factors, including chart performances, perceived song quality, influence, and endurance...along with a large dose of personal opinion.

No two people could ever come up with identical lists of this nature, and I know readers will disagree with the order or inclusion of some of these songs, or the omission of others. So please feel free to vote the songs up or down or provide comments telling me how you'd rank them.

With that, here are what I consider the Top 101 Songs By Male R&B Groups Between 1990 and 2001 - the last great era of R&B!


101. "I L.O.V.E. U" - Take 6

The best way to begin any countdown is with a song spreading inspirational messages about love, and so this one begins with a vocal a capella group best known for its blend of spirituality and uplift. Take 6 is one of the few acts to have albums that scored simultaneously on the R&B, pop, jazz and gospel charts. The album that generated this top-20 R&B single in 1990 was no exception.

100. "My Heart Is Failing Me" - Riff

This 1991 hit's lyrics give about a half dozen reasons why the singer is feeling so broken - all centered around the fact that his love has left him. Yet the main refrain is "I wonder why I feel like my heart is failing me." Really? Is there any wonder?

99. "Innocent" - Whispers

The legendary soul group The Whispers were no strangers to the top ten of Billboard's R&B singles charts. They had fifteen top-tens throughout their career, including four in the '70s, eight in the '80s and three in the '90s. "Innocent" was the first of those '90s hits, reaching #3 in the spring of 1990. Check out what they sounded like during the new jack swing era in the video above.

98. "Where Do You U Want Me To Put It?" - Solo

This R&B vocal group from Brooklyn were signed to Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis' Perspective record label in the mid 1990s. The song had an old-school '70s soul vibe, and the lyrics - despite the provocative title - were relatively subtle, as the band never really had to spell out what "it" was. We all knew, lest we had to ask.

97. "She's Got That Vibe" - R. Kelly & Public Announcement

"Viiiiiiibe, Viiiiiiibe, Viiiiiibe!" How many of us remember where we were when we first heard those words wailing over a generic new jack beat in 1992. It was R. Kelly and his band the Public Announcement's first hit. Little did we know then that it would launch the career of the '90s biggest R&B solo artist - and one of the most controversial.

96. "So Alone" - Men At Large

These two Gerald Levert protégés hailed from his hometown of Cleveland, OH. Their names were David Tolliver and Jason Champion. The lyrics were seriously sad, but one funny line stood out for me in the second verse: "what I wouldn't give to have you cussing me out." Now, that's loneliness at its worst.

95. "It's Over Now" - 112

This song from Bad Boy's finest group topped the R&B chart in 2001, becoming one of the last three #1 songs by an R&B group. The other two are coming up later in this countdown.

94. "Let's Get Down" - Tony! Toni! Toné!

Triple-Tony took it old-school (again!) with this funky '70s-throwback ode to dancing and partying. It featured DJ Quik handling the rap duties, which kept it '90s-relevant. Unfortunately, the Tonys - one of the last vestiges of a band with true musicians - couldn't keep it going after singer Rafael Saadiq left the group shortly after this song was a hit.

93. "Why You Get Funky On Me" - Today

From the classic black comedy 'House Party' came this new jack swing gem from one of Motown Records last successful soul acts, Today. Frederick "Big Bub" Drakefored and company pumped up this jam for moviegoers nationwide in 1990.

92. "Beauty" - Dru Hill

Dru Hill, out of Baltimore, was inescapable in the late 1990s, with several songs that will be coming up later on this list. This "beauty" of a ballad was their last entry of the decade, coming at the tail-end of 1999. They'd have a few more low-charting singles in the 2000s before the hits stopped coming altogether.

91. "Iesha" - Another Bad Creation

"ABC" was the name of a famous Motown single from the Jackson 5 in 1970. Some 20 years later, it was also the acronym for another kiddie Motown group who found success with songs like "Playground" and this first hit, which was co-written by New Edition's Michael Bivens.

90. "Hit Me Off" - New Edition

After the two years that the members of New Edition had between 1989 and 1991, where four different incarnations of them charted nearly two dozen top-ten R&B hits, half of which topped the chart (and many of which charted top-40 pop as well), their reunion effort was primed to be huge in 1996. The song and video for "Hit Me Off" didn't disappoint. All six members got a key lead part - the likely result of Ronnie, Ricky and Mike proving they could hang with the best of 'em (Bobby, Ralph and Johnny).

89. "Just Me and You" - Tony! Toni! Toné!

Here's yet another offering from the Tonys. Remember that streak of 11 (out of 13) top-ten hits I mentioned earlier? Well, this tune was one of those that didn't make it, stopping at #27 in 1991. It hailed from the 'Boyz In The Hood' soundtrack.

88. "I Can't Wait Another Minute" - Hi-Five

The vocal group Hi-Five hailed from Waco, TX and had three huge crossover R&B/pop hits from 1991-92, including this mid-tempo ballad, which topped the R&B chart and reached the top ten on the pop list in '91. It was the follow-up to their first hit, which topped both charts and is coming up later in this countdown.

87. "Peaches & Cream" - 112

The group 112 were the good boys of Sean "Puffy" Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment empire, but this song skated on the edge with some very tantalizing lyrics crooned by several of the group's members. The video demonstrated just how sexy a wet slice of peach can really be when placed in the right hands. The video (above) also included a snippet of another single from their critically acclaimed Part III album, "Dance With Me," which just missed this 101 Greatest List.

86. "What About Us?" - Jodeci

This may be the most popular soul band to come out of Charlotte, NC. You'll believe me by the time you scroll through this whole list, in which Jodeci is very well represented. This is the first of their songs here, a 1994 R&B burner from their classic album, 'Diary of a Mad Band.'

85. "A Friend" - The Winans ft. Aaron Hall

Gospel acts like Kirk Franklin, Sounds of Blackness, BeBe & Cece Winans and others made dents in the R&B charts during the 1990s and early 2000s, but one all-male group that significantly represented was the Winans brothers, who teamed up with two members of Guy in 1990 for separate R&B crossover hits: "It's Time" featuring Teddy Riley, and this beautiful song featuring Aaron Hall.

84. "(Lay Your Head On My) Pillow" - Tony! Toni! Toné!

This mid-tempo jam from 1994 was the follow-up to "Anniversary" (coming up later) and continued a hit streak for the trio out of Oakland, CA. It was their eleventh top-10 R&B single in 13 tries from 1988-94. No other group had as many during those years. The streak would come to an end soon afterwards, as only one more of their singles reached that echelon of the chart.

83. "Comforter" - Shai

The group Shai, from Washington, DC, broke with three out-of-the-box smash singles in 1993, including this ultra-slow tune - the title track to their debut album - which reached the top ten on Billboard's pop chart.

82. "Choose" - Color Me Badd

Color Me Badd had some big pop hits in their all-too-short career. Some of those did equally as well on the R&B chart, and they'll be coming later on this list. "Choose" - a Jam & Lewis-produced single from 1994 - was a relatively low-charting hit by comparison, but it's a great tune nonetheless... and highly underrated I might add.

81. "Joy" - BLACKstreet

This heartfelt ode to joy was brought to us in 1995 by the same group that gave us "Booti Call" the year before and "No Diggity" the year after. Indeed, BLACKstreet's versatility helped them land several songs on this list, three more of which are coming up later.

80. "Thank You" - Boyz II Men

This gracious third single from the Philly band's second album had the unenviable task of following two huge #1 singles, "I'll Make Love To You" and "On Bended Knee." It failed to duplicate their success, but it still did respectably well, reaching the top-25 on both the R&B and pop charts.

79. "Get On Up" - Jodeci

Jodeci could bring you bedroom burners one minute, then turn around and surprise you with a party anthem like "Get On Up." Okay - admittedly - that didn't happen often. They'll be more remembered for the steamier bedroom fare than songs like this one. Still it was damned good and had us moving our a**ss in the spring/summer of '96!

78. "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" - Boyz II Men

The movie for which their debut album, CooleyHighHarmony, was named featured the original version of "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" by G. C. Cameron. The boys from Philly covered it in acapella form and watched it become a top five pop and #1 R&B smash in early 1992.

77. "Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ)" - R. Kelly & Public Announcement

R. Kelly & the Public Announcement were actually a group, although Kelly was the clear leader and received named billing. Before he went completely solo, this was the band's second chart-topper - after "Honey Love," which appears higher on this list.

  • DJ Rob


    Hi, I'm DJ Rob, owner and author of the music blogsite I live in Chicago, IL and have been doing the blogsite since January 2015. It features articles about music news, history and trivia - both old and new. The features I enjoy doing the most are my djroblists. I've done dozens of lists ranking everything from blue-eyed soul singers to Prince's greatest songs. I only recently started converting them to listly to increase interaction with my readers. Take some time to enjoy them and let me know what you think! And check out when you can!

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