15 Best Male R&B Groups of the 90s You Will Love

Discover the Best Male R&B Groups of the 90s!

R&B music was at the height of its powers in the 1990s, and there are countless male groups that were enjoying the limelight.  But who are the best male R&B groups of the 90s, and what made them so special?  Well, let’s find out today, as I give you my list of the top R&B groups of this iconic decade that left a lasting legacy!

Best Male R&B Groups of the 90s

Let’s start with the iconic group Boyz II Men.

1) Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men are easily one of the quintessential top male R&B groups of the 90s. The quartet of lead vocalists had an uncommon ability to share the microphone and limelight. Other prominent groups always seemed to find a way to break up but this main quartet was able to find solidarity to become of of the best male groups of all time. 

The Philly natives, Nathan Morris and Wayna Morris (no relation), Shawn Stockman, and notable bass vocalist Michael McCary, set records for longevity on the billboard charts with consistent hit singles. Don’t forget to mention B2M when you’re talking about the best “boy bands” of the 90s. Their 64 million plus records sold are proof enough.

My Favorite Boyz II Men Song: “I’ll Make Love To You” – II, 1994. This song really showcases the individual and group talents that made Boys II Men so special.

2) Jodeci

What do you get when two duos of gospel-singing brothers join forces under the tutelage of Sean Combs? The result was The Bad Boys of R&B, Jodeci. This quartet’s heavy hip-hop-influence and unrefined music style was a shift from more traditional R&B groups like R&B. The group debuted in 1991 with their album, Forever My Lady. and enjoyed a five-year run of platinum albums before an almost decade-long hiatus. 

My favorite Jodeci song: “Cry For You” – Diary Of A Mad Band, 1993. 

3) Blackstreet

This was the decade where Hip-hop and R&B became almost synonymous. The two genres were grouped together on the charts during the 90s and much of this was due to groups like Blackstreet which blurred the line between the two distinct styles of music. 

Formed by Teddy Riley, who many credit with creating the New Jack Swing genre. Riley sought to step back in front of the mic after focusing the past years on his production career. Their hit song, No Diggity, was a crossover smash and was successful on R&B, Hip-Hop, and Pop charts.

My Favorite Blackstreet song: “Don’t Leave Me” – Another Level 1996. 

“No Diggity” might get most of the love but this is Blackstreet’s most authentic R&B track. 

4) Tony! Toni! Tone!

Tony! Toni! Tone! Is a trio that found a way to effortlessly merge musical styles of past and present. They managed to use traditional gospel and soul to evolve their own version of new jack swing. These artists were ahead of their time, releasing four successful albums between 1988 and 1996. Well ahead of the official acceptance of Neo-Soul as a genre, Tony! Toni! Tone! helped lay down the foundation for a coming transition of R&B.

My favorite Tony! Toni! Tone! song: “Let’s Get Down” – House of Music, 1996. This is one of those songs that makes you wish you were at the function along with the artists!.

5) K-Ci & Jo-Jo

The sibling duo K-Ci & JoJo, are two of the best voices in R&B music. Already on this list as one-half of the group influential group Jodeci. After three platinum Jodeci albums, the duo began branching out on their own with two successful albums to close out the decade along with hit features and placements on movie soundtracks. 

As a duo, the brothers leaned back into their gospel roots with soulful ballads much different than the Jodeci sound. While a popular group, they never saw the same level of success as their previous group. Their single “All My Life” was the only song of theirs to be a number-one hit single.

My favorite K-Ci & JoJo song: “All My Life” – Love Always, 1997. This is a stunning ballad. The brothers go toe to toe with vocal runs and harmonies that complement each other perfectly.

6) 112

While their most famous song, “Peaches & Cream,” was released after the new millennia, 112 had already proven themselves to be one of the best male r&b groups of the 90s with two previous albums featuring hit singles. This was another group groomed by Sean Combs, known as Puff Daddy at this point in the 90s. 112 was fully ingrained in the hip-hop world and rose to prominence many thanks to their collaborations with The Notorious B.I.G. and the rest of the Bad Boy family. 

My favorite 112 Song: “Cupid” – 112, 1996

Slim leads the group through this soulful love song for the ages. 

7) Dru Hill

Hailing from Baltimore Maryland, the Sisqo-led group took over at the end of the 90s decade. With Sisqo’s powerful vocals, ridiculous dragon themes, and the backing of high-school friendship, Dru Hill recorded several Top 40 hits. The group performed their own version of R&B ballads over hip-hop production. Their music was popular on billboard charts as well as being commonly featured in film and TV at the time. 

My favorite Dru Hill song: “In My Bed – So So Def Mix” – Dru Hill, 1996. 

The original version of this song is a slow and soulful R&B song. In the hands of Jermaine Dupri, this song gets an upbeat remix that helped get this song crossover to a broader audience.

8) Bell Biv Devoe

Another result of a boy band split, Bell Biv Devoe, spun off from New Edition which had established itself as one of the rising talents in music at the end of the 80s. Bobby Brown had already split from the group years earlier. Now Ricky Bell, Michael Bivens, and Ronnie DeVoe move forward with hip-hop heavy sounds that differed greatly from their previous New Edition sound. 

Stepping out of adolescence, the trio produced funky and sexual songs that didn’t quite reach the same popular appeal. They are most known for their hit single, “Poison” which has become a staple in a DJ’s arsenal to get people moving on the dance floor.

My favorite Bell Biv Devoe song: “Poison” – Poison, 1990. 

Can a group that has hits from a previous group, still be considered a “one-hit wonder”? Poison far outweighs the impact of any of BBDs other music.

9) Silk

Originally a quintet, this Atlanta group was discovered by Keith Sweat and is best known for sexy ballads like “Freak Me” and “Meeting In My Bedroom. The grouper released a well-acclaimed debut album, Lose Control, in 1992 which reached double platinum status. They had moderate success throughout the decade, winning the Soul Train Music Award for Album of the Year for Lose Control despite it being released two years prior.

My favorite Silk song: “Meeting in My Bedroom” – Tonight, 1999. – This is one of those songs we were way too young to understand but loved anyways.

10) Mint Condition

While New Jack Swing and hip-hop continued to deviate from R&B, Mint Condition stayed solid to its soul core. Deeply rooted in funk and jazz, Mint Condition performed ballads that held strong in a changing music environment. Their most notable hit, “Pretty Brown” eyes spent 34 weeks on the charts even crossing over to pop charts while reaching certified Gold RIAA status. Their soulful vocals were not enough to compete with the wave of hip-hop that took over at the end of the decade.

My favorite Mint Condition song is: “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)” – Meant To Be Mint, 1991. 

A classic R&B track and essential listening for anyone who claims to love the genre.

11) Next

Late to the 90s R&B party is Next who enjoyed a short 5-year run from 1997 to 2002. They competed with Dru Hill and Jagged Edge for fans of contemporary R&B filled with more adult themes and suggestive lyrics.

My favorite Next song: “Wifey” – Welcome II Nextasy, 2000. While this song technically came out in the 2000s it is worth noting for its content. Can you even imagine any current R&B singers making a song about getting “wifed up” like this?

12) Shai

This group can definitely be considered a “one-hit wonder”. Shai debuted with their album If I Ever Fall In Love. The title track has become one of the most important 90s R&B songs of all time. Despite the recognition of this track, Shai never produced another song that received any major recognition.

My favorite Shai song: “If I Ever Fall In Love” – If I Ever Fall In Love,1992.

The original acapella was something completely different than anything being played on major radio stations at the time. 

13) All-4-One

In previous decades, soul and funk music saw a diverse cast of characters come together to create timeless music. As time progressed in the 90s, R&B was seen almost exclusively as a genre of “Black music”. All-4-One defied those stereotypes with the diverse quartet featuring two Black men (Jamie Jones and Delious Kennedy), a white man (Tony Borowiak), and a Mexican-American (Alfred Nevarez). 

All-4-One was seeking the only thing that mattered to them, the best vocal mix possible. They were successful and produced ballads that stayed true to the soul and do-wop music that were raised on.

My favorite All-4-One song: “I Swear” – All-4-One, 1994

Another classic hit that far outshined any of the groups other tracks. Many of the groups on this list were able to find one spark they could turn into some form of success.

14) Color Me Badd

Color Me Badd was a diverse R&B group that fused their cultures into their music (whether intentionally or not). There was not much sugarcoating the prevalence of more suggestive themes and lyrics in the R&B music of the 90s. Color Me Badd hid no meaning with their hit single “I Wanna Sex You Up”.

My favorite Color Me Badd song: is “Wildflower” – Time and Chance, 1993. 

Color Me Badds cover of the famous Skylark song.

15) LSG

Talk about a supergroup! When R&B legends Keith Sweat, Gerald Levert, and Johnny Gill joined forces in 1997 they created a ripple effect in R&B/hip-hop that is still felt today through collaborative projects. Their debut album, LSG went platinum and the group only put out one other official project. 

Unfortunately, Gerald Levet passed away in 2006 causing the group to take a pause. Luckily his father, and legendary lead singer for The O’Jays, Eddie Levert, has replaced his late son in the group in 2013 as a part of an LSG reunion. The group still performs today.

My favorite LSG song: “My Body” – Levert.Sweat.Gill, 1997

Keith Sweat originally recorded this song for his own album and created this new rendition with the help of LSG members Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill.

Time to Exit Stage Left

So that’s it—these are 15 of the best male R&B groups of the 90s that helped catapult R&B music to the next level as the new millennium approached!  I know that even more groups from the 90s could have been mentioned (for example, groups like Guy or The Jets were excellent), I tried my best to keep this list limited to groups that were either formed in the 1990s, or had most of the success during the 1990s.  I hope you enjoyed it.

This article was written by Justinian and edited by Michael.

If you enjoyed the article, be sure to subscribe to my Devoted to Vinyl YouTube channel and Facebook page.

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