The Golden Year: Top 5 R&B Songs of 1998

Picture this, you’re going to school listening to music on your CD player, President Bill Clinton is serving his second term, and wearing Tommy Hilfiger tube tops are in trend. Yep, the year is 1998.

Twenty years ago, the golden year of R&B would change the genre without a doubt. Artists who debuted that year would go on to become legends and classic albums were released.

R&B dominated the culture and made its mark on the charts. 1998 was the year when R&B would become mainstream. The foundation for one of today’s biggest genres was laid. Some of our favorite artists in 2018 were influenced by the artists 20 years ago. It’s safe to say R&B would not be what it is today if 1998 wasn’t so poppin’. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to see which popular songs were on the charts two decades ago.

  1. “No, No, No Part 1”- Destiny’s Child

LaTavia, LeToya, Beyonce, and Kelly were the original members of R&B super group, Destiny’s Child. In 1998, their single “No No No Part 1” was released. The ladies sang about wanting their boo to tell them that they’re interested in them instead of denying it.

 Photo Credit: eonline

Photo Credit: eonline

The debut song for the group reached at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The record’s success led to “No No No Part 2” featuring musician and producer Wyclef Jean.

Standout Lyrics: “Boy I know you want me, I can see it in your eyes. But you keep on frontin’ won’t you say what’s on your mind.”

2. All My Life- K-Ci & JoJo

Once the piano keys started and you heard “baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby” you knew it was time to slow dance. K-Ci & JoJo, former members of Jodeci, branched out and formed their own group.


 Credit: Blavity

Credit: Blavity

In early 1998, “All My Life” was released and the single topped the US Billboard charts for three consecutive weeks. The single did extremely well because it conveyed the universal message of finding and cherishing the love of your life. Twenty years later, the song is a staple for weddings and anniversaries.

Standout Lyrics: “And all my life. I prayed for someone like you. And I thank God that I, that I finally found you.”

3. I Get Lonely- Janet Jackson

This era of Janet Jackson was iconic. From her red hair to her music being more soulful R&B than pop, Janet was everythinggggg. “The Velvet Rope,” Janet’s sixth studio album featured the song “I Get Lonely.” On the track, Janet sings about missing her significant other and wanting him to be where she is. The song was catchy, exuded sex appeal, and made women express their pain for missing their boyfriends.

 Photo Credit: IMDB

Photo Credit: IMDB

The music video for “I Get Lonely” showed Janet wearing a suit and hat while dancing with her group of ladies. The dancing break down was a huge moment in music because Janet ripped open her shirt and exposed her bra. She opened the door for many female R&B artists like herself to be sexy and confident in their music videos. “I Get Lonely” became Janet’s eighteenth consecutive Top 10 hit on the Billboard charts.

Standout Lyrics: “I get so lonely, can’t let just anybody hold me. You are the one that lives in me, my dear. Want no one but you.”

4. The Boy Is Mine- Brandy & Monica

Ok, here’s a very important question for you, “Are you team Monica or team Brandy?” Their duet “The Boy Is Mine” had girls all around the world picking sides on who should get the man the two were fighting over. The year 1998 was an amazing year for both R&B powerhouses as their careers were taking off rapidly.

 Photo Credit: YouTube

Photo Credit: YouTube

The release of “The Boy Is Mine” catapulted both stars to mega fame overnight. “The Boy Is Mine” became the best-selling song of the year in the US, selling 2.6 million copies. It spent 13 weeks on the top of the Billboard Hot 100. “The Boy Is Mine” won the Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. The music video made the song bigger as we saw Brandy and Monica fighting over love interest, actor Mekhi Phifer. At the end of the music video, the guy ended up without any of the ladies as he was playing both of them. Once they realized, they banded together to play him. Brandy and Monica showed us that friendships and girl power matter more than a guy.

Standout Lyrics: “You need to give it up, had about enough. It’s not hard to see, the boy is mine.”

5. The First Night- Monica

The groovy single from Monica made a statement: she doesn’t go to the bedroom on the first night although it’s tempting. She made it ok for young ladies like herself to voice their opinions and make it clear when they don’t want to do something. The record was produced by So So Def founder Jermaine Dupri and sampled Diana Ross’ 1976 song “Love Hangover.” “The First Night” spent five weeks on the top of the Billboard charts, making it one of Monica’s biggest hits. Go Mo!

 Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Standout Lyrics: “I should make a move but I won’t. I know you probably thinkin’ something is wrong. Knowing if I do that it won’t be right. I don’t getg down on the first night.”

What 1998 song was your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

MusicShantal Marshall