The 90s was a special time for R&B and hip hop music. Pop music finally accepted the genres and many R&B groups broke through onto the commercial charts.
The sound of the time was unique and is often duplicated in today’s hit songs. But in the 1990s these black male singing groups originated the sound and captivated the world.
Here’s a list of our 13 favorite black male singing groups of the 90s.
1. Boyz II Men
Let’s start the list with arguably the most famous group. Boyz II Men are a vocal harmony R&B group from Philadelphia, PA. The founding members included Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman, and Michael McCary.
The group exploded onto the scene with their first album, Cooleyhighharmony, in 1991. Produced by Michael Bivens, the tracks on the album featured a mix of soul, romantic R&B, and new jack swing tracks. The album went on to critical and commercial success and won a Grammy Award.
Their follow-up album was also a smashing success and secured Boyz II Men as one of the most popular bands of the 90s.
Unique to R&B at the time, each singer provided lead vocals on each track. This gave Boyz II Men their unique sound.
In 1989, members Devante Swing, Mr. Dalvin, K-Ci, and JoJo formed Jodeci. The quartet found success in 1991 after signing to Uptown Records.
At Uptown Records, up-and-coming A&R, Sean Combs, managed the group. Combs later went on to worldwide success as Puff Daddys and owner of Bad Boy Records. Combs was integral to forming Jodeci’s hip-hop aesthetic.
Their first album received critical and commercial success. Forever My Lady featured two hit singles and won three Billboard Music Awards in 1992.
Jodeci went on to record two more albums during the 90s before they went on a long hiatus. In 2015, Timbaland produced Jodeci’s comeback album, The Past, the Present, the Future.
Formed in Atlanta, GA, 112 rose to success in the late 90s. Original members Daron Jones, Michael Keith, and Reginald Finley sang together throughout middle and high school. By 1993, the group started performing at local talent shows where they met Sean Combs of Bad Boy Records and Faith Evans.
In 1996, 112 released their debut self-titled album on Bad Boy Records. Produced by Combs, the album featured the signature Bad Boy Records sound. It also featured appearances by Notorious B.I.G, Mase, and Faith Evans ensuring its success.
They are a follow-up album, Room 112, which also saw success and featured hits like Only You.
112 is still producing music and is currently working with Def Jam records.
4. Bell Biv Devoe
As part of New Edition, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe found massive success throughout the 1980s. Once the band split, Bell, Biv, and Devoe went on to form their singing group. Bell Biv Devoe began in the 1990s and pioneered the new jack swing sound of the era.
New Jack Swing was a mix of hip hop, R&B music, soul, and pop music. Most of the songs were highly danceable and featured at discos and dance clubs in the 90s. This new sound inspired other artists of the time including Janet Jackson, Tony Tony Tone!, Keith Sweat, and more.
Bell Biv Devoe’s first album, Poison, was a huge success and featured hit singles Do Me and Poison. After Poison, the trio went on to produce three more studio albums.
Today Bell Biv Devoe is still on tour and packing dancefloors around the world.
While hailing from New York, Blackstreet adopted a West Coast Gangster Rap style to their music. Formed in 1991 by Chauncey “Black” Hannibal and Teddy “Street’ Riley, the group found success in 1995 with the release of their self-titled album, Blackstreet.
No Diggity was their biggest hit which reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 31 weeks on the chart. The tracks featured a cameo appearance by Dr. Dre and Queen Pen adding to its popularity. It also granted Blackstreet the Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
Blackstreet took a break in 2003 while each member went on to solo careers. In 2015, Blackstreet reunited and continues to tour.
6. Another Bad Creation
Along with Bell Biv Devoe and Boyz II Men, Another Bad Creation (ABC) was part of the East Coast Family during the 1990s. Founded in Atlanta, GA, the group consisted of teens Romelle “RoRo” Chapman, Chris Sellers, David Shelton, Demetrius Pugh, and Marliss Pugh.
Produced by Michael Bivins, ABC’s first album, Coolin’ at the Playground Ya Know!, found limited success and reached #7 on the Billboard 200. It featured their hit Playground and had a unique mix of new jack swing and hip hop tracks.
During the 90s, ABC found success on TV and film as well. They also appeared in In Living Color in 1991 and made a film appearance in The Meteor Man in 1993.
7. Dru Hill
From Baltimore, Dru Hill began their career performing at The Fudgery, a local fudge factory in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Since those humble beginnings, the group scored seven top 40 hits and is still touring the world.
Founded by Mark “Sisqo” Andrews, Tamir “Nokio” Ruffin, Larry “Jazz” Anthony, and James “Woody” Green, the group found success after signing for Island Records. Here they record two studio albums, Dru Hill, and Enter the Dru.
By the late 90s, the group separated to work on solo projects. Sisqo went on to massive success with his single Thong Song which reached the top ten charts in The US, UK< the Netherlands, and Denmark.
The group reunited in 2002 to record a third album, Dru World Order.
H-Town started their careers in 1990 when Keven “Dino” Conner, Solomon “Shazam” Conner, and Darryl “G.I.” Jackson began singing together. The members grew up and went to school together in Houston.
While they recorded an album in 1991, the group did not find success until reaching out to Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew. Eventually, they signed to Campbell’s album and released their first album, Fever for Da Flavor in 1993.
Their single, Knockin’ Da Boots, became H-Town’s biggest hit and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 1000 in 1993. After their first release, H-Town went on to release three more albums in the 90s and continued producing music into the 2000s.
Formed in the early 90s, Next found success with their groovy hit Too Close in 1997.
The band originally featured members Robert “R.L” Huggar, Raphael “Tweety” Brown, and Terry “T-Low” Brown. They were signed to Arista Records in 1997 by KayGee of Naughty By Nature.
Their debut album, Rated Next, was a moderate success. The group found commercial success with their single, Too Close, released in 1997 on their Rated Next album. The single went on to win eight Billboard awards in 1998.
The band went on to release one more album, The Next Episode, in 2002 that saw minimal success. Next spent most of the 2000s on hiatus but released a single in 2018.
10. Tony! Toni! Tone!
Tony! Toni! Tone! is an R&B group comprised of Dwayne Wiggins, Raphael Saadiq, and Timothy Christian Riley. They debuted in 1988 with their album, Who?
It wasn’t until 1993 that the band would see commercial success. Sons of Soul went double platinum This album featured a mix of new jack swing, R&B, and dancefloor-friendly tunes.
Tony! Toni! Tone!’s found success in film and TV during the 1990s. You could hear their hit songs in hits like Boyz n the Hood, House Party, and Poetic Justice.
Unfortunately, after their album, House of Music, Tony! Toni! Tone! decided to call it to quit.
Guy was founded by Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, and Timmy Gatling in 1987. Damion Hall eventually replaced Timmy Gatling before Guy recorded their first album.
Their self-titled album was a big success and certified 2X platinum by the RIAA in 1998. The band found continued success into the 1990s. With a feature on the Do the Right Thing Soundtrack, their single My Fantasy peaked at #1 on the US R&B charts in 1989.
Guy kept this success going with several singles reaching the top 10 on the R&B charts during the 90s. They also appeared in the film New Jack City as performers in 1991.
Unfortunately, the group disbanded due to creative differences in the early 90s. Teddy Riley would later go on to form the group Blackstreet and find similar success in the late 90s.
Shai found instant success with their first single in 1992. If I Ever Fall in Love peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the R&B charts.
From Washington D.C. the four members of Shai met while attending Howard University. They went on to sign with Gasoline Alley and record their first album, …If I Ever Fall in Love, in 1992.
Comprised of members Darnell Van Rensalier, Garfield A. Bright, Carl Martin, and Marc Gay, the quartet found limited success after their first release. Since 1992, Shai released eight studio albums but none had the same success as their debut hit.
The group reconnected in 2018 for their last studio album, Musically Yours. Shai is still touring and producing music today.
13. Joe Public
Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Joe Public is a New Jack Swing group that had hits in the 1990s.
In 1989, band members Kevin Scott, Jake Carter, Dwight “Mr. Dew” Wyatt, and Joe “J.R.” Sayles, formed the band. From here, they signed to Columbia Records. Shortly after, Joe Public released their biggest hit, Live and Learn, which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Joe Public showed up on TV often during the 90s. They had appearances on the Arsenio Hall Show and were the first R&B group to perform on MTV’s Unplugged series along with Boyz II Men and Shanice.
While only releasing two albums, the group continued to work throughout the 90s and wrote songs for Keith Sweat and Tyrese.
Top Black Male Singing Groups of the 90s, Final Thoughts
I hope you enjoyed reading through the list. It was a joy to research and listen to all these songs from the 90s.
These black male singers revolutionized R&B during the 90s and brought it back to the forefront of pop radio and MTV. If you miss the 90s, I strongly suggest heading over to Spotify or YouTube and adding these black male groups to your playlists.
Do you prefer the groove and vibe of the 1960s? You can check out our favorite black male singing groups of the 60s.