Where were you in 1997? One thing is for sure, R&B was in a great place. From Toni Braxton dominating the Billboard Hot 100 with her smash hit “Un-Break My Heart” to Mariah Carey still impressing the world with her stellar vocals, there was a lot happening for the genre at the time.
As we look back on the year 1997, we can’t help but to reminisce about all the great albums that were released. While artists like Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and Usher were building their legacy, other artists including K-Ci & Jo Jo, Badu and Next were making their official debut.
Take a moment to check out albums that will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2017.
Erykah Badu — Baduizm[debut] Release Date: February 11 Record Label: Kedar Records Singles: “On & On,” “Next Lifetime” and “Other Side of the Game”
Legendary group En Vogue will treat fans to new music at their Electric Cafe on March 30. The trio lures us in more by unveiling the track list and beautiful cover artwork for their new album.
Speaking of their cover, the ladies of En Vogue serve ageless beauty as they stand fiercely in their sparkling outfits.
The group’s new album Electric Cafe will be released via eOne Entertainment. It features 11 tracks with riveting titles such as “Oceans Deep,” “So Serious,” “Blue Skies” and its title track. West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg will lend his hip-hop flavor to a song called “Have A Seat.”
“Rocket,” Cafe‘s lead single, is currently at No. 12 on urban adult contemporary radio, tallying 852 radio spins. The song was written by Ne-Yo and produced by Curtis “Sauce” Wilson.
Electric Cafe track listing
1. Blue Skies 2. Déjà vu 3. Rocket 4. Reach 4 Me 5. Electric Cafe 6. Life 7. Love The Way 8. Oceans Deep 9. Have A Seat feat. Snoop Dogg 10. I’m Good 11. So Serious
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Ray J has released his new single “Feeling Like Love,” which features rapper Kid Ink.
“It’s feeling like love, wouldn’t you agree? / Top down in the coupe, rolling through the D / We met up in the club, drunk as can be / But when it’s real love, can feel it real deep,” he sings over a breezy production.
The feel-good track is lifted from Ray J’s forthcoming album, Raydar, which is due this summer.
In other news, Ray J recently signed a multi-million dollar deal securing the launch of his electronics transportation brand Raycon.
There will never be another singer like Whitney Houston; she’s incomparable, she’s an icon, and she is the standard. On the sixth anniversary of her unfortunate passing, here at Rated R&B we’ve created a shortlist of reasons why we love the vocal legend herself. Check it out below:
Her Powerful Voice
How do you describe the indescribable? Whitney’s voice is the purest to have ever graced human ear. On top of her outstanding natural ability, her technique, precision, and control make her “The Voice.” Just like rapper Biggie Smalls has never had a bad verse, Whitney has never hit a bad note. There is a multitude of examples, but at Super Bowl XXV in 1991, she gave what is regarded as the best rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to have ever been done. It is here, without all of the vocal thrills and frills, that you can truly grasp how marvelous her voice was.
The Way Other Artists Loved and Respected Her
If you ask any female singer that came out in the last 25 years who some of their inspirations are, you can bet Whitney’s name will come out of their mouth. For most singers, especially black women, Whitney was a role model. She was a black girl from New Jersey whose passion was sharing her musical gift to the world and having fun while doing so. In the first clip below, Monica explains Whitney’s personal impact on her life (this part of the interview begins around 1:42.) Even after her death, Whitney continues to inspire and empower the women that have come after her in the music industry. In the second clip below, you can find one of the greatest tributes ever performed, courtesy of gospel powerhouse Yolanda Adams, who ends the video with a resounding “We love you, Nip.”
Her Stage Presence
Whitney’s personality was both charming and endearing, as we’ve all seen in her interviews, famous and infamous alike. That natural charm carries over into her live performances, as she literally comes alive in song. In interviews, she was always well-spoken, clear, and concise. When it comes time to sing, she let her hair down and had a great time with her audience — no matter the occasion. In the clip below, Whitney performs a 16-minute set of her greatest hits at the “Arista Records 25th Anniversary Celebration,” full of life, laughter, and love.
Her Artistic Versatility
Whitney is one of the best-selling female artists of all time, and one of the biggest icons the world will ever see. What often gets left out of her lengthy list of accomplishments is her artistic risks and versatility. Speaking on her discography alone, she has recorded music that spans all of its genres. Whether she delivers a pop cut like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” the Raphael Saddiq and Q-Tip-produced jam “Fine,” a universal duet with Enrique Iglesias (“Could I Have This Kiss Forever”), or a powerhouse ballad like “The Greatest Love of All,” Whitney was the jack of all trades. Not only did she master it, she believed in her ability, and she succeeded beyond measure.That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as her artistry made its way into film beginning with 1992’s box office smash hit The Bodyguard.
Below is one of her scenes from the cult classic Waiting to Exhale. Pay attention to her body language, the way she emotes in her voiceover, all the way down to the flickers of disapproval in her eyes. Whitney was, and will always be a class act.
What is your favorite Whitney moment? Share with us in the comment section below!