Zhané – “Groove Thang”
Their debut album had joints and it was just so feel-good! Released as the second single from their debut album, Pronounced Jah-Nay, in 1994, the record was produced by DJ Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature, who sampled “Haven’t You Heard” by Patrice Rushen. The single reached No. 1 on the Billboard Dance/Club chart, No. 2 on the Hot R&B Singles chart, and peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Brandy – “Baby”
Brandy instantly become America’s sweetheart with the release of her self-titled debut album. Released as the LP’s second single, “Baby,” is one of the era’s most standout records and an all-time classic from the iconic singers career. From Keith Crouch’s production to the vocal chants and suburb runs Brandy instantly solidified her position. The record spent four weeks on top of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and reached No. 4 on the Hot 100.
Mariah Carey – “Fantasy (Remix)”
Before she became the diva that everyone knows now, Mariah Carey was just a sweet curly haired girl with an infectious smile. While her fan base was filled with those who shared love for Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and other R&B queens, MC made the transition into the Urban R&B/Hip-Hop arena with the help of Sean (then Puff Daddy) Combs and the Bad Boy Records camp. Initially found on her fifth studio album, Daydream, “Fantasy” served as the lead single and with the help of Puffy and Bad Boy, the remix – which featured the late O.D.B. – shot to the top of the charts. Heavily sampling Tom Tom Club’s 1981 track “Genius of Love,” the remix became Mariah’s ninth No. 1 single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart and the first by a female artist to debut atop the chart.
Montell Jordan – “This Is How We Do It”
It might not be Friday night, but trust us, Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” is the definite party starter! Keeping with the era of the New Jack Swing movement, Montell’s debut single was the reason why the weekend’s meant so much to even the jobless. Sampling Slick Rick’s popular 1989 single, “Children’s Story,” Montell’s enhanced version sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks straight and gave the 6’8″ singer the fame that he was searching for.
Adina Howard – “Freak Like Me”
Before there was Rihanna and Beyoncé 2.0, there was Adina Howard – the original freak of R&B. Jumping onto the scene in 1995 with her debut album, Do You Wanna Ride?, Adina gave everyone just that. Laced with aggressively provocative lyrics, “Freak Like Me” was the beginning of raunchy yet catchy lyrics in the singers catalog of singles. Peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the RIAA platinum single would serve as the most memorable and popular track by Adina to date.
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