40 Classic R&B Dance tracks of the 90s

Being a teen R&B head of the 90s it seemed like a no-brainer to eventually do a write-up on the top 40 R&B floor fillers of the 1990s. But with so many great tracks coming out of that era and through the various manifestations of R&B during that time, it certainly was a challenge. With help from a few of the crew at Party DJ Hire, we settled on these 40 gems. From New Jack Swing favourites to cross-over hip hop fusions, we have it all covered here. 40 – I’m In luv – Joe (1993) From his 1993 debut, Joe Thomas burst onto the scene with this piano and thumping bass driven banger. Not just known for his slow jams, Joe could easily fill a dance floor back then and now. “Ooo, good god almighty, The way you work that body!” 39 – Mr Wendal – Arrested Development (1992) Arrested Development’s 1992 album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of.. spawned three massive hits for this group from Atlanta – People Everyday, Tennessee and Mr Wendal. The track not only can still move people on the dance floor but also pull at the heartstrings in a socially conscious sort of way. 38 – Pony – Ginuwine (1996) This is one track to really get the blood flowing, in many ways! This track still gets played whether it is at an R&B club or a house party in suburbia. Sexually charged would be an understatement and with the accompanying film clip it is no wonder why Ginuwine become such a huge sex symbol in R&B circles. 37 – Only You – 112 featuring Notorious BIG & Mase (1996) This was 112’s first real floor filler but not the first. If you didn’t sing at least the first two or three lines of this song when it dropped in a club then there was something clearly wrong with you. With a timeless verse from Biggie and a pretty decent one from newcomer Mase, this track was just as smooth and it was street. 36 – Too Close – Next (1997) This trio from Minnesota made a huge impact with this track which is beloved by couples and single cats to this day. Although they sang this song three times at a gig I attended some time ago, this track is still one that I among many hold dear. 35 – I’m So Into You – SWV (1992) Also known as Sisters With Voices, these three ladies were one of the most successful groups of the 90s. This single was crafted right in the middle of the New Jack Swing era and swayed between hip hop head-nodder and mid-tempo groove. Either way, we’re into it even though it is a little sad. “Friends ask how could I give myself, To one who belongs to someone else.” 34 – That’s The Way Love Goes – Janet Jackson (1993) Janet had already made a name for herself pre-1990 but this track set the stage for what would be a very prosperous decade. Off her monster album Janet, this sexy track rode a sweet Jam & Lewis beat with class and sensuality that Janet became well known for. 33 – Now That We Found Love – Heavy D & The Boys (1991) Is it hip hop or R&B? Who knows, who cares! Heavy D was one to dabble in various musical forms and this track saw him in top form. With vocals from Guy‘s Aaron Hall, Now That We Found Love took the original O’ Jays version and gave it a real 90s edge. 32 – Motownphilly – Boyz to Men (1991) In the USA, this was Boyz II Men’s first single, an expression of their Motown influence and Philadelphia roots. Not just known for their a cappella and slow jams, Boyz to Men have dropped huge club tracks including this New Jack Swing classic from their 1991 debut Cooleyhighharmony. 31 – No Diggity – Blackstreet (1996) When the title of a song becomes a part of a culture’s common vernacular, you know you have made something special. Teddy Riley and crew team up here with another heavyweight of the time Dr Dre to drop this classic piano-driven tune. 30 – Finally – CeCe Peniston (1991) Not known as a consistent hit make CeCe did make sure her name was etched in 90s history thanks to this song. Peaking at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1992, Finally also gained major traction in the UK and appeared on several popular dance music compilations to boot. 29 – I Like The Way – Hi-Five (1991) Released in early 1991, and co-written and helmed by Teddy Riley, I Like The Way spent one week at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. With Tony Thompson’s sweet vocals and a lovely swaying beat, this is without a doubt our favourite Hi-Five track. 28 – Shy Guy – Diana King (1995) Brought into even more prominence thanks to appearing on the Bad Boys movie soundtrack, Shy Guy is a perfect example of an R&B and Reggae fusion. This tune is a nice change of pace for those sick of hearing about women wanting Alpha male types in songs. “But I don’t want somebody, Who’s loving everybody I need a shy guy, He’s the kinda guy, who’ll only be mine” 27 – The Floor – Johnny Gill (1993) Known more for his crooning, this track made Johhny Gill a dance floor favourite. A serious superstar after going solo from New Edition, this infectious banger could drag anyone onto said floor. 26 – You Should Be Mine – Brian McKnight featuring Mase (1997) Probably Brian’s most popular dance floor filler, this tasty slice of R&B also helped us warm to the Bad Boy newbie Mase. Off his breakthrough album Anytime this track with fun stabbing horns elevated Brian to a whole new level. 25 – She’s Got That Vibe – R. Kelly and Public Announcement (1992) Whenever that first ‘VIBE’ stretches out across a dance floor you know the crowd is going to chime in with the next few. Back when R. Kelly was just slightly odd this track featured on the album Born Into The 90s with Public Announcement and it certainly set the pace for what was an incredible decade for sure. 24 – Hey Mr DJ – Zhané (1993) Released in 1993 via Motown this is the perfect song for a dance floor (and this site). In 1994 the track was certified gold in Australia thanks in part to Naughty By Nature’s Kay Gee and his velvety production skills. 23 – You’re Making Me High – Toni Braxton (1996) This is another wonderful mid-tempo gem courtesy of Grammy Award-winning producer Babyface and Bryce Wilson. The track became Toni Braxton’s first number-one single on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. 22 – Back & Forth – Aaliyah (1994) Aaliyah started off her music career courtesy of this R. Kelly written and produced 1994 hit. Aaliyah’s singing style was totally unique and this track which appeared on her debut studio album Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number is the perfect example of this. 21 – Black or White – Michael Jackson (1991) You could throw a bunch of tracks from this album on this list but the one track that certainly reached most people was Black & White. A track that touched on racial unity while dragging people toward the dance floor this track’s sound was equally as impressive as the colourful and fun video clip. 20 – Fantasy – Mariah Carey featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1995) This hip hop inspired banger marked the moment when Mariah started to push closer toward the urban music genre and who better to help get her there than Ol’ Dirty Bastard. “Mmm, baby, I’m so into you, Darling, if you only knew All the things that flow through my mind.” 19 – Here We Go Again – Portrait (1992) Portrait’s debut single and quintessential New Jack Swing classic Here We Go Again, sampled Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall track I Can’t Help It, reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in early 1993. 18 – Live And Learn – Joe Public (1992) More socially conscious than most popular R&B tracks of the time, Live And Learn was also a dance floor filler that used a myriad of samples to create a playful and uplifting song. 17 – Rump Shaker – Wreckx-n-Effect (1992) No R&B party would be complete with a little rump-shaking. Rump Shaker featured production and guest vocals from Teddy Riley, brother of group member Markell Riley. Riley’s verse is notable for being written by his young protégé Pharrell Williams – whom you may have heard of. 16 – Love Like This – Faith Evans (1998) For several years in the late 90s, the reworked version of this song became the pinnacle of every DJs set. With Fatman Scoop’s unmistakable rhymes and Faith’s delicate vocals these two were a match made in R&B heaven. 15 – Georgy Porgy – Eric Benet featuring Faith Evans (1999) One of many great covers from Benet, this came from easily his best album A Day in The Life. On par with Love Don’t Love Me this funky jam put Benet on the lips of many R&B DJs and connoisseurs. 14 – This is How We Do It – Montell Jordan (1995) A track about letting go of the working week and embracing the weekend, no Friday night in a club would be the same without this bona fide classic. “So tip up your cup and throw your hands up. And let me hear the party say!” 13 – Don’t Walk Away – Jade (1992) Released in 1992 this track was one of the biggest singles of the year. In 2017, Billboard ranked the song at number 52 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time. Not too shabby ladies! “Baby, don’t misunderstand, I want you for my man I need a little time before I give you my love.” 12 – Humpin Around – Bobby Brown (1992) One of several popular party jams lifted from Bobby this L.A. Reid, Babyface and Daryl Simmons produced track made waves across the globe. Along with local prominence, the single reached number one in Australia, number five in Spain and Sweden, number two in New Zealand, and the top 10 in at least seven other countries. 11 – Baby – Brandy (1994) Following from the success of I Wanna Be Down, this mid-tempo groove had a super catchy chorus which helped it garner a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1996. 10 – Get On Up – Jodeci (1995) Produced by Mr. Dalvin, Get On Up is the only Jodeci single to date that was not produced or written by group figurehead DeVante Swing. This did not detract from the track’s infectiousness and is still bumped in clubs today. 9 – No Scrubs – TLC (1999) Following up from their huge album Crazy Sexy Cool, TLC came back with this huge ladies anthem thanks to production from She’kspere. You can still find Hen’s night attendees singing this song at venues across town and rightfully so. 8 – Do You Wanna Get Funky – C + C Music Factor (1994) Still fronted by charismatic original member Freedom Williams, C+ C Music Factory developed most of its following in the early to mid-90s. Also known for their Euro-dance influences this track certainly had more of a hip hop and R&B vibe which pleased quite a few devotees. 7 – How Deep Is Your Love – Dru Hill featuring Redman (1998) Along with their Sleeping In My Bed remix, this is without a doubt Dru Hill’s biggest dance tune. Featured on the album Enter the Dru and the Rush Hour soundtrack, Sisqo and crew delivered what is still their highest charting hit. 6 – Every Little Thing I Do – Soul For Real (1995) Also well-known for their single Candy Rain, this Heavy D and Tone & Poke helmed track drew much interest for this four-piece from New York. “Round and round I go, where I’ll stop only you’ll know. I guess it’s all in my mind.” 5 – Giving You The Benefit – Pebbles (1990) Yet another massive hit from the MCA Records stable, Giving You the Benefit was the epitome of late 80s early 90s R&B and reached number 1 on Billboard’s US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. 4 – Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison (1996) A song to help you get back in the game, this British one-hit wonder made Morrison a standard addition to any old school R&B night’s playlist. Heck the album was not half bad. 3 – Close To You – Maxi Priest (1990) English reggae singer Maxi Priest garnered some huge crossover success thanks to this 1990 track which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. Despite taking five albums to get there, we are still very thankful we got it in the end. 2 – It Feels Good – Tony! Toni! Toné! (1990) Raphael Saadiq and the boys from Tony Toni Tone, had a great knack for making feel-good music and this track was no different. 1 – Poison – Bell Biv DeVoe (1990) Thanks to a boost from their work as a part of New Edition, BBD burst onto the scene with their multi-platinum selling debut album Poison. After over 30 years in the business as a group this is still their most well-known hit. “She’ll drive you right out of your mind And steal your heart when you’re blind.” You can enjoy the playlist on Spotify below: If you really like to get down, listen to these EDM classics or disco tunes. Also check out our ultimate 90s dance songs playlist.
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