It’s hard to believe the ‘90s — one of the most influential eras on modern pop culture — is nearly two decades old. When it came to music, music was all over the map. Grunge, gangsta rap, New Jack Swing, bubble gum pop, pop punk all had a moment to shine. While there were a number of hit-makers, there were plenty of forgotten blips on the radar, especially in the competitive world of R&B groups. Sure, we all remember Boyz II Men and Jodeci but what about Color Me Badd, Dru Hill, or Silk?
Put your rewind caps on — it’s time to revisit the forgotten world of ‘90s all-male R&B groups. (And don’t forget to relive all the hits of your favorite ‘90s R&B girl groups.)
Who: A quartet from Atlanta, 112 was Bad Boy Records’ crooners often appearing on their label mates’ hit records, including the Grammy winning song, “I’ll Be Missing You.”
Notable Hit: “Only You”
Who: After 7 is comprised of Babyface’s two brothers, Melvin and Kevon Edmonds, and Keith Mitchell. The group scored a number of hits early in the decade.
Notable Hit: “Can’t Stop”
Who: Best known for their cover of “I Swear,” All-4-One was seen as an answer to Boyz II Men. They churned out a number of hits (“She’s Got Skillz,” “So Much In Love”) until label disputes forced them to leave Atlantic Records.
Notable Hit: “I Swear”
Another Bad Creation
Who: Sometimes known as ABC, the group popped in 1991 before breaking up in 1993.
Notable Hit: “Iesha”
Bell Biv DeVoe
Who: A branch off of New Edition, BBD was created by Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe. The group was most notable for helping to pioneer the New Jack Swing sound of the early ‘90s.
Notable Hit: “Poison”
Who: Founded by Teddy Riley, Blackstreet came out of the ashes of Guy. The group had a string of hits in the late ‘90s, including “No Diggity,” “Girlfriend/Boyfriend,” and “Take Me There.” By 1999, the group was ruined by internal turmoil.
Notable Hit: “No Diggity”
Color Me Badd
Who: The group hit it big with their debut album in 1991, scoring five hits on the U.S. charts. However, the group failed to match the success of their first outing. Most recently, the group reunited at the BET Awards.
Notable Hit: “I Wanna Sex You Up”
Who: This contemporary R&B group only had one hit, “Gangsta Lean,” which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993.
Notable Hit: “Gangsta Lean”
Who: Before Sisqo went solo he was the blonde lead singer of the R&B quartet. The band scored success with a string of minor hits but stalled after Sisqo and James Green both released solo albums.
Notable Hit: “How Deep Is Your Love”
Who: Formed in the late ‘80s, Guy was one of the few bands to span across the two decades. After their initial breakup, Teddy Riley went on to form Blackstreet, which faired better in the ‘90s.
Notable Hit: “Teddy’s Jam”
Who: Founded by twin brothers, Keven and Solomon Conner, the trio released three albums throughout the ‘90s. Their biggest hit, “Knockin’ Da Boots,” came off their debut album and eventually became their signature song.
Notable Hit: “Knockin’ Da Boots”
Who: The Texas-based quintet first hit it big in the early ‘90s thanks to the #1 hit, “I Like the Way (The Kissing Game).” The group disbanded in 1994 after three back-to-back albums.
Notable Hit: “I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)”
Who: Hailing from Los Angeles, the group eventually changed their name to IMx when the boys got older. However, when they were still Immature, they popped on the charts and on screen with roles on A Different World, All That and Family Matters.
Notable Hit: “Never Lie”
Who: Another group to feature twins aka The Casey Boys, the group got their start in ’97. But it wasn’t until 2000 that the group had its first hit with “Let’s Get Married.”
Notable Hit: “Let’s Get Married”
Who: Best known for their single, “Live and Learn,” which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, the group was instrumental in forming the New Jack Swing sound. The group extended their career as songwriters, penning tracks for Keith Sweat and Tyrese.
Notable Hit: “Live and Learn”
Who: The R&B group changed things up by blending neo soul, jazz, funk and R&B. They landed a few minor hits before fading into the background but the group is still producing albums today.
Notable Hit: “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)”
Who: Part of Arista’s era of hit records, Next popped in the late ‘90s. Their hit, “Too Close” landed on top the charts was named the best song of 1998 by Billboard. The group followed up with two more albums before members started leaving to pursue solo endeavors.
Notable Hit: “Too Close”
Who: Paired with R. Kelly, the Chicago-based group scored a few hits thanks to the singer’s writing power. Their success waned when they didn’t feature Kelly on their records.
Notable Hit: “Body Bumpin’ (Yippie-Yi-Yo)”
Who: This soul quartet scored big with “If I Ever Fall in Love” but failed to match the song’s success throughout their career.
Notable Hit: “If I Ever Fall in Love”
Who: Discovered by Keith Sweat, Silk had a string of hits early in their career. Singer Gary Jenkins left the group in the ‘00s to pursue an acting career and the group continued to push out albums in his absence.
Notable Hit: “Freak Me”
Who: A trio from New York City, the group paired up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to produce their debut album. The album produced two minor hits before the band slowly faded into the background
Notable Hit: “Where Do U Want Me to Put it”
The Product G&B
Who: Practically a one-hit wonder, the group owes all their success to Santana, who featured them on his mega-hit, Supernatural. The duo sang the vocals on the Grammy winning song, “Maria Maria.”
Notable Hit: “Maria Maria”
The Rude Boys
Who: A quartet from Cleveland, OH, The Rude Boys became a minor sensation thanks to their second single, “Written All Over Your Face.”
Notable Hit: “Written All Over Your Face”
Tony Toni Tone
Who: This trio embodied the New Jack Swing sound that became addictive in the early ‘90s. The group produced a string of bit hits that included “If I Had Not Loot,” “Feels Good,” and “Whatever You Want.” The group eventually went separate ways with Raphael Saadiq finding success as a solo artist and with other side projects.
Notable Hit: “If I Had No Loot”
Who: Finding success at the beginning of the decade, Troop had five top 10 R&B singles and was featured on the New Jack City soundtrack. The group experienced most of their success through covers of The Jackson 5 and The Deele.
Notable Hit: “All I Do Is Think of You”
Who: Another Teddy Riley act, the group formed in ’88. Their biggest hit and most notable song, “Rump Shaker” came in 1992. The song also happened to be one of Pharrell Williams’ first hits.
Notable Hit: “Rump Shaker”