City of Lies Review

Brad Furman’s City of Lies, originally scheduled for 2018, was delayed and the reason why depends on what you read. It could be because the LAPD didn’t want it to come out based on their bad behavior with the case it involves. Or it could be due to recent bad behavior of its own leading man. City of Lies itself isn’t a bad movie. It just doesn’t doesn’t add a whole lot to a well covered story told in other mediums.

The film recounts the still unsolved homicide investigation of The Notorious B.I.G. thru the lens of Detective Russell Poole (Johnny Depp) and journalist Jack (Forest Whitaker). When the murder occurred in the spring of 1997 in Los Angeles, this was in the aftermath of the 1992 riots and the O.J. Simpson trial. It was also, of course, mere months following the killing of another rap superstar Tupac Shakur.

Based on Randall Sullivan’s book LAbyrinth, the picture puts forth the theory that LAPD officers were deeply involved in the plot to take out Brooklyn’s legendary rapper in conjunction with Death Row Records and its founder Suge Knight. Yet with the aforementioned events in Southern California, Detective Poole’s efforts to expose the corruption was buried.

For those with an interest in this nearly 25-year-old unsolved mystery, none of this is new information. It’s been told in various documentaries and novels. The two lead characters collaborate some 18 years after Biggie’s death. Poole’s earlier investigation (seen in flashbacks) has led to the downfall of his career and family life. Jack’s previous journalistic writings on the case posited mostly discounted speculation that Biggie ordered Tupac’s fateful ride on Las Vegas Boulevard. He’s preparing a 20 year retrospective of the murders and Poole’s hypotheses are increasing in their validity (despite the LAPD’s continued obstruction).

Depp and Whitaker are two actors who can chew scenery. Both of their performances here are more on the subtle side and they’re both solid. City of Lies, unfortunately too often, is a subdued record of an urgent subject. Late in the proceedings, there’s a scene where Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace plays herself. It’s quite well-done and is a brief and powerful reminder of her unending search for answers. Had the individuals involved not been named Biggie and Tupac and Suge Knight, the pic would mostly feel no different than a typical episode of a police procedural. Ms. Wallace’s late appearance keeps us mindful of the real cost involved with justice delayed.

**1/2 (out of four)

Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 1997: A Look Back

Today, we continue on with the summer songs were filling our ears two decades ago. Last week, I brought you the top 10 seasonal ditties of 1987. If you missed that post, you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/07/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1987-a-look-back/

As I’ve done with these posts previously, I’m personally rating each of them on a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer fire). I’m also answering the important question as to whether each track is located in my Apple Music catalog.

Before we delve into the top 10, I must say that when I looked up Billboard’s chart I expected to see Will Smith’s “Men in Black”, the theme song to 1997’s highest grossing picture. Surprisingly, it was nowhere to be found but in case you wanted to put on your nostalgia goggles and watch the Fresh Prince groovin’ with an alien, here you are:

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the songs that were constantly playing on our radios and CD players 20 years ago:

10. “Look Into My Eyes” by Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony

While I expected Mr. Smith’s movie hit to be in this list, I had plain forgotten about Cleveland rap group Bone’s track that appeared on the Batman and Robin soundtrack. I guess the movie itself isn’t the only forgettable thing about the fourth Caped Crusader flick. While Bone has had some classics (“Tha Crossroads”, “1st of tha Month”), this isn’t one of them.

My Rating: 5 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

9. “Do You Know (What It Takes)” by Robyn

Swedish pop star Robyn scored her first of two top 10 singles stateside with this uptempo dance hit (her second was “Show Me Love”). The fact that I had to look it up to remind myself of it means it’s a bit of a throwaway, but my head was nodding along to it and it’s got a little Britney Spears vibe pre-Britney. This makes sense because it was co-produced by Max Martin, who went on to make massive hits for Britney, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and many many others.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase

The second single from Biggie’s Life After Death album (released just weeks after his murder), “Mo Money” is a Puff Daddy confection that samples the Diana Ross classic “I’m Coming Out”. It would have sounded perfectly at home on Puff’s hit album from that summer, but it hits a high note when Christopher Wallace’s fierce rap closes it out.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Say You’ll Be There” by Spice Girls

For those who didn’t live through the Spice revolution, the British girl group were a massive sensation and this is on the higher end of their pop hits. They even went the movie route six months after this topped the charts with Spice World, which performed well worldwide despite mostly scathing reviews.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

6. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind

This cut from San Francisco rockers Third Eye Blind was inescapable two decades ago. It may be a perfectly sounding pop concoction, but it’s actually about crystal meth addiction. Woo hoo! Truthfully, I found this song rather grating back then and still do. It was featured prominently in American Pie two summers later.

My Rating: 5

It Is On My Apple Music? No

5. “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison

British hip hop artist Morrison had his one hit wonder with this anthem and it’s a darn catchy one that still resonates today. It was even recently featured in a Burger King commercial!

My Rating: 9

It Is On My Apple Music?: Yes

4. “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” by Backstreet Boys

Also produced by the aforementioned Max Martin, this is Backstreet’s first chart topper in the United States. Is it their best? No, that easily belongs to “I Want It That Way”, but it’s a good pop tune.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

3. “MMMBop” by Hanson

The Oklahoma brothers had an absolute smash with the ubiquitous “MMMBop”. It received critical raves as well. I’ll fully admit this a song I would turn off today, but I liked it too back in the day.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

2. “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks

This female empowerment track by Oregon songstress Brooks was inescapable as well. It doesn’t touch top tier Alanis as far as I’m concerned, but it’s easy to belt out the chorus. It would be prominently featured three years later in the Mel Gibson rom com What Women Want.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

1. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112

Puff Daddy’s tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. with an assist from his widow and Bad Boy label mates 112 was an absolute juggernaut that spent 11 weeks at #1. Sampling The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”, it was a powerful track coming so soon after Biggie’s demise. Truth be told, it’s also rather mawkish and doesn’t hold up nearly as well today but I sure dug it then.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

And there you have it, folks! I’ll be bringing you the 2007 list very soon…

Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 1995: A Look Back

Yesterday on the blog – I took you through an 80s nostalgia trip giving you Billboard’s Top 10 Summer Songs of 1985.

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/07/07/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1985-a-look-back/

This evening, it’s time to turn that nostalgic dial to the 1990s as I recount the ten biggest summer hits from 20 years ago. As I did with the previous post, I’ll offer my rating of said summer hit on a scale of 1 (disaster) to 10 (epic summer jam) and answer the all important question: is it on my iTunes?

Let’s take a trip down mid 90s lane, shall we?

10. “Run-Around” by Blues Traveler

Truth be told, I’m not a huge Blues Traveler fan, but John Popper can sure rock the harmonica. I prefer “Hook” to this track – but their breakthrough hit is undeniably catchy.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My iTunes? No

9. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Nicki French

This dance remake version of Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 mega hit was a track I pretty much forgot about. It’s perfectly serviceable but it certainly doesn’t match the far superior original.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My iTunes? No

8. “I Can Love You Like That” by All-4-One

The R&B foursome is best known for “I Swear”, but this ballad hit it big as well. In hindsight, it doesn’t approach the quality of the aforementioned hit but it’s decent.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

7. “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” by Bryan Adams

He was in the top ten in 1985 with “Heaven” and Canadian singer Adams appears again with this ballad from the Don Juan DeMarco soundtrack. It wasn’t quite the smash hit that his Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves inspired “Everything I Do” was four summer earlier, but it’s a very solid ballad.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

6. “Boombastic” by Shaggy

This reggae infused jam gave Shaggy his first international hit and it’s a memorable one.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My iTunes? Yes (finally!)

5. “Water Runs Dry” by Boyz II Men

The group had already had massive hits off their II album such as “I’ll Make Love to You” and “On Bended Knee”. This is another infectious power ballad from the singers that ruled that genre in the mid 90s.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

4. “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal

From the Batman Forever soundtrack (the summer’s biggest hit) came Seal’s powerful signature tune.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No (but it should be)

3. “One More Chance” by The Notorious B.I.G.

With a vocal assist from his wife Faith Evans on the chorus, this is a classic mashup of hip hop and R&B that stands as one of Biggie’s triumphs.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

2. “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)” by Monica

The young singer’s first single is still her bestselling solo track and it’s a Dallas Austin produced dandy.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No (but it will be)

1. “Waterfalls” by TLC

Considered the group’s signature tune, “Waterfalls” ruled the summer airwaves 20 years with its harmonies climaxing with the late Left Eye’s rap verse. I would honestly rank a couple of other TLC songs higher than this for personal preference, but it’s not difficult to see why this became so huge.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

And there you have it, folks! The summer songs of 20 years ago. I’ll have my post up recounting the season’s hits of 2005 up tomorrow. Until then…

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 10-1

Well we started from the bottom, but now we’re here – at the top ten of my personal favorite hip hop singles of the 1990s decade! It’s been a lot of fun recounting the fabulous hits of the decade that saw hip hop move from what some thought was a fad to a phenomenon that is here to stay. If you missed any of my previous eight posts covering numbers 90-11, you can find ’em here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/23/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-90-81/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/24/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-80-71/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/25/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-70-61/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/26/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-60-51/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/27/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-50-41/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/28/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-40-31/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/30/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-30-21/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/31/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-20-11/

And now – the Top Ten!!

10. “My Name Is” by Eminem (1999)

Slim Shady burst onto the hip hop scene with his first amazing single with production work from Dr. Dre. He would dominate the following decade, but this is where it all started.

9. “Jump Around” by House of Pain (1992)

With production by DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill, Everlast and company had a smash hit with this party starter.

8. “O.P.P.” by Naughty by Nature (1991)

We still may not know what it really stands for, but Naughty by Nature gave us their true classic with their first single off their self-titled debut album.

7. “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube (1993)

Mr. Cube had a classic with this lyrically brilliant cut about a typical day in the life of a rapper.

6. “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

The debut single from his iconic Ready to Die debut album, “Juicy” announced the presence of a rap god that we lost too soon.

5. “California Love” by 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman (1996)

Much like Biggie, we also lost the unforgettable 2Pac soon. “California Love” was the smash hit first single off All Eyez on Me with production from Dre and a terrific Road Warrior inspired music video.

4. “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J (1991)

He’d been here for years with some in the rap community doubting him, but LL Cool J gave us this hard hitting and magnificent cut that serves as his signature track.

3. “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” by Geto Boys (1991)

The highest charting single from this innovative Houston rap group, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” is flat out brilliant.

2. “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need To Get By (Razor Sharp Mix)” by Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige (1995)

A remix of a track off his Tical album, Wu-Tang member Method Man teamed with Mary J. Blige and producer RZA to come up with an unforgettable take on the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell 1968 hit.

1. “‘Nuthin but a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (1992)

The 1990s decade was in many ways dominated by Death Row and Dr. Dre. This first single off The Chronic (the album of the 1990s in hip hop) with Dre and Snoop trading rhymes earns its rightful place atop the best singles.

And there you have it, friends! My work is done here. Hopefully, at the least, this list gave you some iTunes fodder or reminded you just how great certain tracks were back in the day. Until next time…

 

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 20-11

The Top 20 has arrived in my personal Top 90 hip hop singles of the great 1990s decade! Please feel free to peruse my other entries by scrolling through the blog or clicking the Music tab to review numbers 90-21. We’ll get to the Top 10 tomorrow (!), but here are the fabulous tracks comprising nos. 20-11:

20. “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs n Harmony (1996)

The Cleveland rap group’s tribute to their founder, Eazy-E, was a soulful summer anthem of 1996.

19. “Now That We Found Love” by Heavy D and the Boyz  featuring Aaron Hall (1991)

This Teddy Riley produced dance hit marked a career highlight from the late Heavy D… and his Boyz.

18. “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest (1992)

The brilliant hip hop group had their best known track with this banger that featured an amazing verse from one Busta Rhymes.

17. “Regulate” by Warren G. featuring Nate Dogg (1994)

Fantastically sampling Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin'”, Warren G and Nate Dogg burst onto the west coast scene with this classic from the Above the Rim soundtrack.

16. “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1997)

The first single off 1997’s Life After Death found Biggie rapping over a sample from Herb Alpert’s groovy “Rise”.

15. “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” by Busta Rhymes (1997)

Mr. Rhymes has given us plenty of terrific rap tunes, but this first single of his When Disaster Strikes album is his finest hour.

14. “Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z (1998)

Shawn Carter is one of the few MC’s alive who could take a sample from Annie and make it relevant to his music. And did he ever!

13. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” by Missy Elliot (1997)

Our first taste of the incredible collaboration between Missy and producer Timbaland, this is an impossibly infectious groove from the best female rapper we’ve likely ever seen.

12. “So What’cha Want” by the Beastie Boys (1992)

So many unforgettable tracks, yet the Boys second single from their Check Your Head project is perfect.

11. “What’s My Name?” by Snoop Dogg (1993)

Mix Dre’s production with Snoop’s natural flow and this first single from his debut smash Doggystyle has everything you’d want.

Top Ten tomorrow, friends! Until then…

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 30-21

We’re into the Top 30 of my personal top 90 hip hop singles of the 90s decades! If you’ve missed any of the entries covering numbers 90-31, you can peruse them by clicking the Music tab on the blog or simply scrolling through.

Let’s bring it:

30. “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1995)

One of Biggie’s signature tunes from his Ready to Die debut album, this gave the brilliant rapper his most prominent nickname.

29. “Bring the Pain” by Method Man (1994)

One of the stars of Wu-Tang Clan, this was Meth’s first single from his acclaimed Tical album.

28. “Insane in the Brain” by Cypress Hill (1993)

Cops come and try to snatch Cypress Hill’s crops (likely marijuana) in the group’s best known hit.

27. “Fu-Gee-La” by Fugees (1996)

The lead single from Wyclef, Lauryn, and Pras’s landmark album The Score.

26. “The Choice Is Yours” by Black Sheep (1991)

Engine engine… number 9… Black Sheep had an amazingly catchy smash with this release.

25. “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground (1990)

Digital Underground released their signature tune that memorably described lead rapper Shock G’s proclivity to do things at Burger King that didn’t involve typical menu ordering.

24. “Triumph” by Wu-Tang Clan (1997)

The RZA led hip hop super group showcased the talents of all its rappers on the first single off their Wu-Tang Forever album.

23. “Rosa Parks” by Outkast (1998)

The lead single off Aquemini offered one of the most commercial and catchy tracks from Andre 3000 and Big Boi.

22. “Can’t Truss It” by Public Enemy (1991)

Many PE fanatics might rank other songs higher, but this has always remained my personal favorite track from the iconic group.

21. “Deep Cover” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (1992)

The world got its first taste of the Dre/Snoop combo in this title song from a 1992 Laurence Fishburne crime thriller. Rap would never be the same.

And that’ll do it for now! We’ll enter the top 20 tomorrow…

 

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 40-31

We’ve reached the top 40 of my personal favorite 90 hip hop singles of the 1990s decade! If you missed my posts covering numbers 90-41, you can scroll through the blog or click the music tab to find them (and feel free to look back at my series on top 90 1990s R&B tracks while you’re at it)…

Let’s get rolling:

40. “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” by DMX (1998)

DMX had a signature hit from his debut album with this hard hitting anthem.

39. “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” by Digable Planets (1992)

This Grammy winning, jazz fused track gave Digable Planets a mainstream smash.

38. “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio (1995)

By far the greatest hip hop song that featured Michelle Pfeiffer in its video, Coolio scored his biggest success with this track from the Dangerous Minds soundtrack.

37. “Shook Ones (Part II)” by Mobb Deep (1994)

The lead single from the duo’s The Infamous album is a career highlight. The beat was later used in the climactic rap battle scene in Eminem’s 8 Mile movie.

36. “One More Chance” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1995)

The Biggie hit actually knocked Michael Jackson from the #1 singles chart. It features both Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige on backing vocals.

35. “I Get Around” by 2Pac (1993)

‘Pac had a playa’s anthem for the ages with assists from Shock G and Money-B from Digital Underground.

34. “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol Dirty Bastard (1995)

ODB had his greatest track with this entry from his debut solo album. Years later, it would play over the opening credits to Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up.

33. “Tennessee” by Arrested Development (1992)

The eclectic hip hop group had a classic here which crossed over to massive mainstream airplay.

32. “Elevators (Me & You)” by Outkast (1996)

Probably the best rap duo of all time, this is the Atlanta’s group’s first single off their second LP ATLiens.

31. “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dogg (1994)

The Dogg’s second single from Doggystyle informed the universe that his mind was on his money and… you know the rest.

We’ll have a break in the action and resume my top 3rd of the list later this week. Until then!

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 50-41

This evening on the blog, we’re breaking into the Top 50 of my personal favorite 90 singles of the 90s decade. If you missed my first four entries of this blog series, simply go to the Music tab category and use your incredible scrolling abilities to track them down.

Let’s get to it!

50. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by the Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase (1997)

The second single from Biggie’s posthumous Life After Death project, this is one of the brilliant rapper’s most mainstream tracks with its sample of Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” and its assists from Puff and Mase.

49. “Shoop” by Salt-n-Pepa (1993)

One of the most infectious singles from the greatest rap girl group in history.

48. “N.Y. State of Mind” by Nas (1994)

With its propulsive DJ Premier beat, this is a highlight of Nas’s terrific debut album Illmatic.

47. “New Jack Hustler” by Ice-T (1991)

Ice-T hit a home run with his single off the New Jack City soundtrack, which he also costarred in.

46. “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice (1991)

So… yeah… if you don’t this should be on the list – I will ask: do you know all the lyrics? Thought so.

45. “C.R.E.A.M.” by Wu-Tang Clan (1994)

This pioneering and very large hip hop group had one of their best with this single from their Enter the 36 Chambers debut album.

44. “Award Tour” by A Tribe Called Quest (1993)

One of the most innovative rap groups ever, this is Tribe’s first single off their Midnight Marauders album.

43. “I Got 5 On It” by Luniz (1995)

A green anthem for the ages, Luniz staked their place in rap history with this jam.

42. “All About the Benjamins (remix)” by Puff Daddy featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Lil Kim (1997)

The creme de la creme of Bad Boy got together on this banger from Puff’s debut solo album.

41. “Still Not a Player” by Big Pun featuring Joe (1998)

The late Pun has his signature hit with this party starter featuring R&B singer Joe.

And that’ll do it for now! We’ll enter the Top 40 tomorrow.

 

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 60-51

Today we roll into part 4 of my personal top 90 hip hop singles of the 1990s. If you missed the first three parts covering numbers 90-61, you can check them out here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/23/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-90-81/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/24/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-80-71/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/25/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-70-61/

Alright, onto the next ones!

60. “Dre Day” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (1993)

The second single off Dre’s brilliant Chronic album also featured a very memorable video dissing former NWA partner Eazy-E.

59. “Money, Power, Respect” by The Lox featuring DMX and Lil Kim (1998)

This Bad Boy label group had their signature tune with this banger with assists from DMX and Lil Kim.

58. “Gimme Some More” by Busta Rhymes (1998)

Mr. Rhymes can usually be counted on for great beats (this one samples the Psycho theme) and imaginative videos. This one has both and then some.

57. “Passin’ Me By” by The Pharcyde (1993)

This rap foursome hit #1 on the charts with this groove.

56. “Warning” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

One of Biggie’s most hard hitting and creative tracks from his debut Ready to Die album.

55. “1st of tha Month” by Bone Thugs n Harmony (1995)

The Cleveland group had one of their giant singles with this unforgettable ode to welfare checks.

54. “Natural Born Killaz” by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube (1994)

Dre and Cube reunited for the first time since NWA for this fantastic song from the Murder Was the Case soundtrack.

53. “Ditty” by Paperboy (1993)

It may have been his only big hit, but Paperboy delivered a wonderful one with this catchy tune… or ditty, if you will.

52. “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (1991)

The second best song with the name “Good Vibrations”, it’s still awesome and it’s definitely Marky’s finest hour at the mic. He would go onto a storied movie career. The Funky Bunch did not.

51. “Cell Therapy” by Goodie Mob (1995)

This Atlanta based group (which includes Cee-Lo) created a masterpiece here. This is Mob’s only single that cracked the top 40.

And that’ll do it for now, friends! We’ll get into the top 50 tomorrow…

Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 20-11

We have reached the Top 20 of my personal Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s, with the Top Ten coming tomorrow! For those wishing to peruse my previous entries, scroll through the homepage of the blog or click the Music tab to easily find them.

Let’s get it going!

20. “Back & Forth” by Aaliyah (1994)

The debut single from the late singer’s first album was written and produced by R. Kelly and remains one of her classics, staying at #1 for three weeks.

19. “Bump n’ Grind” by R. Kelly (1994)

This is the sultry track that turned Mr. Kelly into a superstar and it spent 12 weeks atop the R&B charts.

18. “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey (1996)

From her Daydream album, this Jermaine Dupri produced track marks Mariah’s highest hit on my list.

17. “Humpin’ Around” by Bobby Brown (1992)

Bobby’s lead single off his Bobby album is a New Jack Swing classic from mega producers L.A.&Babyface.

16. “Only You” by 112 (1996)

This absolute banger includes rap verses from the great Notorious B.I.G. and Mase.

15. “If Your Girl Only Knew” by Aaliyah (1996)

The first single of her One in a Million album, this was the first time we heard the magic of Timbaland’s production with her voice.

14. “Right Here (Human Nature)” by SWV (1992)

Teddy Riley produced this fantastic track that incorporates Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” with the girl group’s vocals. A masterpiece.

13. “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” by Maxwell

The soulful classic was the debut single from Maxwell’s acclaimed Urban Hang Suite album.

12. “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan (1995)

This one still kills if it comes on the club and Montell’s signature tune spent seven weeks at #1.

11. “That’s the Way Loves Goes” by Janet Jackson (1993)

Ms. Jackson’s first single off her janet album is her most memorable track of the 1990s, where she put out many terrific hits.

Alright folks! Tomorrow: the Top Ten!