While the 90’s were surely the heyday for female R&B groups, the next decade helped open the doors for female artists from all walks of life. The following female R&B groups of the 2000s helped the genre evolve to new heights.
Best Female R&B Group of the 2000s
Let’s begin this list by discussing a few groups that were so successful in the 1990s, they continued their reign all the way into the 2000s.
The combination of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes, and Rozonda “Chilli”, dubbed “TLC”, were early pioneers of the modern female hip-hop and R&B artist. Their funky sounds, tomboyish looks, and hop-hop roots helped the group quickly rise to international stardom. They have numerous top-10 billboard hits throughout the 90’s including: “Creep”, “Waterfalls”, and “No Scrubs”.
Their 1994 album, CrazySexyCool received diamond certification and with four multi-platinum albums, they are the best selling American girl group of all time with over 65 million records sold worldwide. Tragically, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopez passed away in a car crash in 2002 while filming a documentary in Honduras. The untimely death nearly forced the group to retire. However, the remaining two women ultimately chose to continue forward as a duo releasing two additional albums. Their impact can be heard and felt in today’s music from samples and remakes of their songs, to the fashion trends they helped inspire.
- My favorite TLC Song: “Creep” – Crazysexycool, 1994. This sometimes controversial track flips the script on the traditional story of a man stepping out on his woman. From the almost haunting horns in the background of the song to their lyrics, it pays as a warning to any man thinking of cheating on his woman.
The women of En Vogue are pioneers of modern R&B. The original 90’s R&B divas and their soulful harmonies have been captivating stages for over three decades now. This group helped usher R&B out of the traditional soulful sound of the 70’s and 80’s and helped add flavor and sex appeal to the genre. They continue to tour today with multiple former number one songs on the R&B charts and three number twos on the US charts. These
- My favorite En Vogue Song: “Whatta Man” – Runaway Love EP, 1993. This is the ultimate 90’s ladies collab. The flow of Salt-N-Pepa backed by the harmony of En Vogue is timeless.
The Las Vegas group, 702, made a splash in the 90’s with two successful albums featuring hit singles “Where My Girl’s At?” and “Get It Together.” Their classic and sultry R&B sound was redefined in the 2000’s and took on more hip-hop themes. Thanks to production from the likes of Pharrell and the Neptunes, 702 gracefully stepped into the new decade with their new take on R&B.
- My favorite 702 Song: “I Still Love You” – Star, 2003. A classic Neptunes beat. This was during a time when Pharrell produced over 40% of charting radio songs.
Changing faces followed the same vein as TLC, SWV, and a number of other 90’s R&B stars. Soulful vocals, hip-hop influences, and modern production helped the group to success in the 90’s. Like many others the next decade was not as kind to their music. They only managed one project in the new decade before the group went on a permanent hiatus.
- My favorite Changing Faces Song: “Come Over” – Visit Me, 2000. The sole single off of their 2000 project, Visit Me. This song is just plain sexy. In today’s world of internet dating, this song has aged like fine wine. Let’s stop all this texting and tweeting, can I come over?
This is the group that gave the world Beyonce—enough said, my friends. After multiple group variations, Destiny’s Child (Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle) went on to become one of the greatest musical trios of all time. Destiny’s Childs created powerful anthems for women embodying the themes of womanhood, independence, and empowerment. Their sound helped revolutionize R&B, further blending the genre with hip-hop, pop and at times rock & roll (Bootylicious samples Stevie Nicks song, “Edge of Seventeen”).
The trio of Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle, flawlessly harmonize their voices while each bringing their own unique flare to each song. These R&B icons are the idols for any modern woman singing R&B today.
- My favorite Destiny’s Child Song: “Say My Name” – The Writing’s On The Wall, 1999. While the song is recorded by the original four members, the equally successful video featured two new members, including final memeber Michelle Williams. Oddly enough, the next album Destiny’s Child would release would be “Survivor,” but according to Michelle, she is not a fan of the “Survivor” era of Destiny’s Child at all.
Born out of Diddy and MTV’s Making the Band, this short lived group served hits, looks, and drama. Danity Kane fused pop and R&B to deliver catchy singles that topped the charts. Unfortunately, internal issues, and an all around lack of cohesion between the members led to their downfall. They were wildly entertaining while they lasted.
- My favorite Danity Kane Song: “Damaged” – Welcome to the Dollhouse, 2008. Do, do you want to hear a heartfelt dance track? This one’s for you. Extra points for the Diddy outro.
These “3 Little Women” could never quite figure out the chemistry piece of being a “group”. However when they came together they recorded melodic hip-hop heavy R&B. The group eventually split for good with members of the group going on to continued success in music, acting, and television.
- My favorite 3LW Song: “Bout It” – Young Joc feat. 3LW, Step Up Soundtrack, 2006. This is a deep cut off of the original Step Up soundtrack. The ladies add harmonic chorus and pre-course with Jessica bringing it home on her bridge solo. Put this song on and channel your inner Channing Tatum.
While technically an urban contemporary gospel duo, the sisters behind Mary Mary infused elements of R&B, soul, and hip-hop into their music. Their debut single “Shackles” introduced the masses to a new version of worship music that would be here to stay.
- My favorite Mary Mary Song: “God in Me” feat. Kierra Sheard – Go Get It. 2000. Sign me up for whatever church plays this song!
Talk about a debut—the ladies of Blaque (Believing in Life and Achieving a Quest for Unity in everything) closed out the 90’s with a groundbreaking crossover collaboration and tour with boyband icons *NSYNC. The trio were proteges of TLC’s Lisa Left Eye Lopes and brought much of the same elements to their music. Of all the groups on this list, this trip leaned the most heavily into the themes of hip-hop.
- My favorite Blaque Song: “Bring It All To Me” feat. *NSYNC – Blaque, 1999. The original version off their debut album features none other than JC Chasez of *NSYNC. His lyrics make you wonder if he was the first choice for the feature.
This next group might be your younger sister’s favorite R&B group of the 2000’s. Casual listeners probably do not know that the group is actually based on a series of young adult books. Fueled by the Disney house of mouse, the popular movies, starring Raven-Symone, launched the Cheetah Girls onto the scene. It was a relaunch for members Adrianne Bailon and Kiely Williams, who first hit the scene as members of the girl group 3LW. This version of the group leaned more into pop to appease a younger audience than 3LW.
- My favorite Cheetah Girls Song: “Step Up”- The Cheetah Girls 2, 2006. This super up beat and edgy track is a great example of the Cheetah Girls versatility and ability to energize an audience.
The Pussycat Dolls
This might be the most controversial group on the list. Many argue if this group is really a contemporary R&B group or an urban inspired dance-pop group. Nonetheless, Regardless of your stance, there is no denying that the Pussycat Dolls were a female force to be reckoned with during the 2000’s. Led by Nicole Scherzinger, the Pussycat dolls and their numerous members gave us memorable songs, fashion, and moments.
The group blended R&B music with cabaret-style performances that set their audiences on fire! These performances helped bring them to prominence while their catchy songs like “Don’t Cha” and “Buttons” made them household names.
- My favorite Pussycat Dolls Song: “I Hate This Part” – Doll Domination, 2008. One of their more traditional R&B songs. The dolls tell their version of the break-up song.
Thanks to the internet boom, the early 2000’s were a time of international musical crossover. Music truly became a global game and identical twins, Nina Sky, stepped up to represent Puerto Rico via Queens with their own version of R&B. The twins unique sound came from their fusion of R&B and reggaeton. And the Queens pair’s shy-girls next door demeanor added to their appeal. Their smash hit “Move Ya Body” still makes people flock to dance floors in clubs across the world.
- My favorite Nina Sky Song: “Oye Mi Canto” – N.O.R.E Y la Familia, 2006. The twins’ angelic vocals bless this reggaeton anthem by fellow Boricua N.O.R.E..
Continuing the international R&B tour, with a trip to England and Floetry. Like the name suggests, their music consists of beautifully poetic lyrics that could bring listeners to tears. The duo has written for countless artists including Michael Jackson for which Marsha Ambrosius wrote, “Butterflies.” This group was an unofficial member of the “Soulquarians” an illustrious group of eclectic artists credited with birthing Neo-Soul.
- My favorite Floetry Song: “Say Yes” – Floetic, 2002. Ever seen one of those 2am commercials for the double-disk,top love songs collection? This would definitely be on one of those CD’s today. (Look it up kids!)
The second British group on the international R&B tour, The 411. These ladies did not see any of the same commercial success as their American counterparts. This group was clearly influenced by American R&B and hip-hop. Their name came from R&B legend Mary J Blige’s debut project, What’s the 411?, and their own debut album Between the Sheets took inspiration from the Isley Brothers. The group even covered “Weak” by SWV, doing their best to bring the R&B sound to the British Isles.
- My favorite The 411 Song: “On My Knees” feat. Ghostface Killa – Between the Sheets, 2004. Members of the Wu-Tang clan have been known to feature with R&B songstresses. One can only wonder how this collaboration with Ghostface came about.
Last stop on the international R&B tour: Germany. Black Buddafly was a German born, Senegalese group that managed to get discovered by Def Jam records. They unfortunately never managed to get an official album off the group but saw a number of singles reach regional popularity.
- My favorite Black Buddafly Song: “Bad Girl Remix” feat. Fabolous – Waist Deep Soundtrack, 2006. A remix to their single off of the Waist Deep soundtrack. Fabolous adds his signature flow to give the track a finishing touch.
Are You Getting Nostalgic Yet?
The 2000s saw the traditional sound and style of R&B expand across genres, countries, and cultures. The result was a number of musically and culturally diverse groups that continued to open the door for female artists around the globe. The female powerhouses topping today’s charts can all be directly tied to many of these top female R&B groups of the 2000s that we’ve discussed today.