50+ Best R&B Singers of the 90s (Ultimate List)

No matter what era you explore in music, R&B singers have always been a staple. And the 90s were no exception. This was the decade that witnessed some of the most prolific and talented R&B singers of all time.

Be it with their powerful ballads or groovy tunes, they have left a legacy that is hard to match and forget. So, to pay homage to the greats, here we list our top 50+ R&B singers of the 90s.

Top Best R&B Singers of the 90s

While there are many greats to choose from, here are some of the top singers that we think are the cream of the crop.

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Mary J. Blige
  3. Mariah Carey 
  4. Boyz II Men 
  5. TLC 
  6. Aaliyah
  7. Usher 
  8. Babyface
  9. Monica
  10. Toni Braxton

90s Female R&B Singers

Unlike other genres, R&B in the 90s was dominated by female singers. Led by the likes of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, and Janet Jackson, these ladies ruled the charts and paved the way for modern female R&B singers who continue to make waves in the industry today. Without them, what we are listening to now would be vastly different. And for that, we are forever grateful.

  • Faith Evans
  • Adina Howard
  • Kelly Price
  • Lauryn Hill
  • Deborah Cox
  • Shanice
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Lalah Hathaway
  • Adriana Evans
  • Erykah Badu

90s Male R&B Singers

At the same time, the 90s was also a great period for male R&B singers. From the renowned Boyz II Men and Usher to Dru Hill, and Babyface, these men were truly the kings of their own craft.

Boyz II Men, for example, held the record for most consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with their iconic ballad “End of The Road”. And Usher became a star after his 1997 hit “You Make Me Wanna…”. Of course, these are just two of the countless greats that emerged during this decade. Here are some of the other great names on our list:

  • Charlie Wilson
  • Dru Hill
  • Seal
  • Prince
  • Sean Combs
  • DeVante Swing
  • Johnny Mathis
  • BeBe Winans
  • Horace Brown
  • Damion Hall

White R&B Singers of the 90s

Not all R&B singers of the 90s fit into the traditional “black” category. There were also a few talented white R&B singers that made their mark during this era. Among them were Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, and Lisa Stansfield.

All three of them achieved huge success with their music and have been cited by many as influential to the R&B genre. Here are some other but equally talented white R&B singers from the 90s:

  • Rick Astley
  • Bobby Caldwell
  • Michael McDonald
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Hall & Oates
  • Teena Marie
  • Celine Dion
  • Backstreet Boys

90s R&B Singers One Hit Wonders

Every decade has its fair share of one-hit wonders and the 90s was no different. But it is worth noting that these singers had a significant impact on R&B during this period, even if their fame did not last beyond one song.

And though it can be argued that one-hit wonders are nothing but a footnote in music history, their contribution to the genre should never go unrecognized. Here are some of the most iconic one-hit wonders from the 90s that we think are worth a mention:

  • KMD (song – Peachfuzz)
  • Mark Morrison (song – Return of the Mack)
  • Adina Howard (song – Freak Like Me)
  • Baha Men (song – Who Let the Dogs Out)
  • Keith Washington (song – Kissing You)
  • Az Yet (song – Last Night)
  • Mokenstef (song – He’s Mine)
  • Somethin’ for the People (song – My Love Is the Shhh!)
  • Subway (song – This Lil’ Game We Play)
  • Raab (song – Foreplay)

90s R&B Singers that Died

Unfortunately, the 90s also saw several of its beloved R&B stars pass away too soon. While their music lives on, there are many fans who remember these singers fondly and miss them dearly.

Aaliyah is one such singer that comes to mind when thinking about 90s R&B singers who passed away. The 22-year-old singer’s tragic death in 2001 left many stunned as she had already achieved massive success with her albums Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number and One in A Million. But her influence can still be felt today through numerous tribute songs from artists like Drake and Jhene Aiko.

Other iconic R&B singers who passed away in the 90s include:

  • Aaliyah
  • Lisa Lopes
  • Michael Jackson
  • Whitney Houston
  • Tony Thompson
  • Vesta Williams
  • Sean Levert
  • Traci Braxton
  • Bernard Wright
  • Jesse Powell

Early, Mid, and Late R&B Singers of the 90s

The early 90s saw the rise of greats like Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, and TLC who helped define the sound of R&B during this era. Mid-decade saw the emergence of Mary J Blige as one of the leading female vocalists in R&B, while other acts such as Usher provided some serious dance floor bangers. By the end of the decade, acts such as Destiny’s Child, Dru Hill, Brandy, and Monica rose to fame with their individual styles that helped shape modern-day R&B. With so much talent at hand, it’s no wonder why this decade is often referred to as a golden age for R&B music.

Early 90s R&B Singers

  • Vanessa Williams
  • Lisa Fischer
  • Shanice
  • Chantay Savage
  • Big Bub

Mid 90s R&B Singers

  • Yvette Michele
  • Trisha Covington
  • Horace Brown
  • Regina Belle
  • BlackGirl

Late 90s R&B Singers

  • Mya
  • Nicole Wray
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Destiny’s Child
  • Brandy

Gay R&B Singers of the 90s

While the LGBT community has always been present in the world of music, it was not until the 90s that queer artists started to gain mainstream recognition.

These singers were supported not only by their LGBT peers but also by the wider music industry, who saw these talented artists as trendsetters and trailblazers. This was an important turning point that allowed creative freedom for queer people which had never before been witnessed on this mainstream scale.

And as audiences became more open and welcoming, these artists truly paved the way for diverse and accepting communities in today’s music scene. So, to celebrate their achievements, here are some of the queer R&B singers who made an impact in the 90s:

  • George Michael
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Tevin Campbell
  • Billy Porter

Wrapping Up

All in all, the 90s saw a wide range of R&B singers who impacted the industry in different ways. From those who have passed away to those who are still making music today, each one of these artists has carved out their own niche in the world of R&B. And as we look back at this golden era for R&B, let’s remember these great singers who made all of this possible.