Even though the 80s were a landmark time for R&B groups, the 90s were an even more interesting period. This decade saw the rise of various groups that revitalized and defined the genre. Between the harmonies of Boyz II Men and the versatility of Xscape, 90s R&B is often regarded as a pinnacle of the genre. Several groups became widely impactful due to their aesthetics and mass appeal to fans. However, of the bulk of R&B groups that soared in the 90s, these seven were indomitable.
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Boyz II Men
When it comes to R&B powerhouses, look no further than Boyz II Men. The group initially got their big break at the start of the '90s, thanks to their singles "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday," and "Mowtownphilly." However, at the peak of their career in the mid-90s, they were untouchable. In fact, they have spent a cumulative of 50 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. Now a trio, Boyz II Men's lineup includes Nathan Morris, Wanyá Morris, and Shawn Stockman.
Another iconic quartet that dominated the 90s R&B scene was Jodeci. Made up of two pairs of brothers, the men of Jodeci realized that their talents were well suited to each other. What resulted was one of the most musically diverse groups of the 90s. They also had a steady streak of platinum-certified R&B albums during the 90s, beginning with their debut, Forever My Lady.
T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli made up TLC, the best-selling American girl group in the world. Their unique blend of hip-hop and R&B, paired with their tomboyish aesthetic set them apart from their contemporaries. The group was formed in 1990 but it was not until the release of their Diamond-certified second album, CrazySexyCool in 1994 that they were catapulted to stardom. Their third album, Fanmail was released in 1999 and assisted in cementing their spot in R&B history.
Dru Hill dabbled in various genres of music, drawing inspiration from groups that came before them. Their number one hits, "How Deep Is Your Love," and "In My Bed" are some of their best-known works. Their first two albums, Dru Hill, and Enter The Dru gained them four American Music Awards nominations, and two Soul Train Music Awards wins. Dru Hill has become widely known for aiding the rise of contemporary R&B in the 90s.
Sisters With Voices lived up to their name, armed with their harmonic and melodious voices. This quickly made them one of the best R&B groups of the 90s. Cheryl Gamble, Tamara George, and Leanne Lyons started their group as a gospel trio, but soon pivoted to R&B. Some of their standout hits include "Weak," "I'm So Into You," and "You're the One." Moreover, they are among the best-selling girl groups of all time, with more than 25 million records sold.
Xscape was one of the first groups signed on to So So Def, the record label owned by Hip Hop juggernaut Jermaine Dupri. They had a unique, ear-grabbing style, and their gospel infusion was notable. Furthermore, their debut album, Hummin' Comin' At Cha, delivered the hits that gained them mainstream success. Their next two albums were also commercial successes, and the group sold over 9 million records globally.
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Although they reached even greater heights by the 2000s, Destiny's Child is still an immovable presence in the 90s R&B scene. Singles like "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Say My Name," and several multi-platinum albums are a testament to their early success. Even though the trio of Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michele is the most popular, LaTavia Roberson and Letoya Luckett greatly contributed to the rise of Destiny's Child. Their sophomore album, The Writing's on the Wall, was certified 8x platinum as far back as 2001.
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