Our Top 10 Blackstreet Songs List takes a look at a popular r&b group from the 90s. The group formed in 1991. The original members of the group are Teddy Riley, Dave Hollister, Chauncey Hannibal and Levi Little. As most r&b fans know, Teddy Riley got his start with the group Guy. When Guy broke up, Teddy Riley and Chauncey Hannibal formed Blackstreet. They were a group that was known for blending r&b and hip-hop music. They have won a Grammy Award for their hit single “No Diggity.” Their hits include “Joy,” “Before I Let Go,” “Booti Call.” “No Diggity,” “Don’t Leave Me.” “Never Gonna Let You Go,” “Take Me There” as well as other hits.
Blackstreet released their self-titled album in 1994. It peaked at number seven on the r&b charts and number 52 on Billboard 200. It features the singles “Baby Be Mine,” “Booti Call,” “Before I Let You Go,” “U Blow My Mind,” “Joy” and “Tonight’s the Night.” The album sold over one million copies.
The pressure was on for Blackstreet to have another hit album. The group faced member changes when Dave Hollister and Levi Little left the group. Mark Middleton and Eric Williams replaced them. They were able to live up to the pressure when they released Another Level. The album came out in 1996. It peaked at number three on the r&b charts and number three on Billboard 200. This was quite a feat for the group. It features the singles “No Diggity,” “Don’t Leave Me” and “Fix.” The album sold over four million copies. This is the group’s best selling album.
The group went through a member change again when Mark Middleton left the group. He was replaced with Terrell Phillips. Finally was released in 1999. The album peaked at number nine on Billboard 200. It features the singles “Take Me There,” “Girlfriend/Boyfriend,” “Think About You” and “In a Rush.” The album didn’t live up to the success of Another Level.
The group went through a member change again when Terrell Phillips left. He left to pursue a gospel career. He was replaced with former member Mark Middleton. Former member Dave Hollister returned to the group to perform a song with them. It features the singles “Deep” and “Wizzy Wow.”
Blackstreet went through a lot of group changes, but they didn’t lose sight of the goal. They wanted to make good music, which they did. They competed with other groups like New Edition, Boyz II Men, Silk, as well as other r&b groups. They managed to make a name for themselves in the music industry. This Top 10 Blackstreet Songs list will feature their best songs. Which song do you think will be number one? The answer may surprise you.
# 10 – Girlfriend/Boyfriend ft. Janet Jackson, Ja Rule and Eve
The first song on our Top 10 Blackstreet Songs list is “Girlfriend/Boyfriend” from the Finally album. The song has an r&b and hip-hop beat. The innovative song is a story about a relationship. The song is told in two parts. It gives you a chance to hear about their relationship from both points of view. The music has a futuristic sound. It sounds as if there’s a video game playing in the music. It has a lot of energy and is very danceable.
The melody is similar to Janet Jackson’s “All For You.” Teddy Riley and Janet Jackson had a connection because he worked with her brother Michael Jackson in the past. Blackstreet also sang with Janet Jackson on the remix to her hit song “I Get Lonely.” It made sense that they would collaborate on a track as well. Here is some trivia about the song. The Spice Girls were originally supposed to be featured in the song. Janet Jackson makes reference to “spice” in the lyrics. Is that a nod to the Spice Girls and how they weren’t in the song anymore? Teddy Riley does a great job with his vocals. He sounds cool and has a lot of swag. It was nice to actually hear Teddy Riley’s voice in the track. He doesn’t use his signature vocoder, which was a nice change.
Janet Jackson does a good job as well, but she is a little hard to understand. You definitely need to read the lyrics in order to understand what she is saying. Her harmonies are on point as usual. Ja Rule and Eve are also featured in the song. They bring their usual cool vibes to the song. Their rhyming skills are on point. This song is very underrated, but it deserves a listen.
# 9 – Take Me There ft. Mya, Mase and Blinky Blink
The next song on our Top 10 Blackstreet Songs list is “Take Me There” from the Rugrats Soundtrack and Finally album. The song has an r&b, pop and rap beat. It is a fun song that was made for the movie Rugrats. This is a kid’s anthem. Even though the song is geared towards kids, adults can enjoy it as well. It gives younger children a chance to enjoy an r&b song. It also gives adults a chance to relive their childhood. The music contains interpolations of the TV show Rugrats.
It also features a sample of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” The sample of the song helps make the music stand out. It gives the song a throwback flavor. It combines old school and new school music. The song is very dance friendly. You can get quite a workout dancing to this high energetic beat. Teddy Riley wanted to write a song that would appeal to kids. He wanted a different audience, which is why he wanted Mya and Mase in the song. Mya sounds angelic. She has a high soprano voice. She sings with breathiness in her voice, which fits with the beat.
Chauncey Hannibal sings in the song. He sounds really good in this track. He easily steals the song with his soulful vocals. He even holds notes and performs runs. You can easily forget that he is singing a song for kids. Mase and Blinky Blink bring the hip-hop to the song.
# 8 – (Money Can’t) Buy Me Love
The lush song is from the Another Level album. This song has an r&b and soul beat. This is a cover of the Beatles hit song “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Blackstreet did a soulful version of the song. Since this is a remake, it’s time for the questions. Should Blackstreet have covered a song so closely linked to the Beatles? Did they make the song their own? The answer to the first question is probably not. This is one of the Beatles’ biggest hit songs and is closely linked to the group. The answer to the second question is yes. Blackstreet did make this song their own.
They changed up the style of the song. The Beatles’ version is a faster pop song while Blackstreet’s version is an r&b ballad. Blackstreet also add harmonies to the song that aren’t in the original. Anyone who is a Beatles fan may prefer their version of the song, but Blackstreet managed to do a great job with their version. The music is soft and melodic. It is a perfect blend of r&b music. Chauncey Hannibal sings the lead on this track. He does an excellent job with his vocals. He sounds sincere as he declares how money can’t buy him love.
You can get lost listening to his vocals. This song shows just how good of a singer he is. The rest of the group does a tremendous job with the harmonies and the background. This song gets overshadowed because of the success of “No Diggity.” It is truly a gem that is definitely worth listening to.
# 7 – Never Gonna Let You Go
This heartfelt song is another track from the Another Level album. The song has an r&b and soul beat. This emotional song is about not wanting to let go of the woman he loves. This song is relatable to anyone who has ever been in love and doesn’t want to let the person go. Some of the lyrics may come off possessive when he says the woman belongs to him and he’s never going to let her go, but he manages to make it sound romantic. The music is the perfect definition of r&b music.
The drums drive the beat. It has an old school r&b vibe to it. The melody is similar to “Can You Still Love Me” by the Ohio Players. Mark Middleton and Chauncey Hannibal take the lead on this beautiful ballad. Mark Middleton is an incredible vocalist. He sounds similar to Kevon Edmonds from After 7. If you close your eyes and listen to the vocals, you could swear it was Kevon Edmonds singing this track. His vocals go up and down like a roller coaster throughout the song. He really goes to heights unknown when he sings in his upper register.
He does amazing runs and holds notes in the song. This song shows how talented Mark Middleton is. Chauncey Hannibal appears in the song. He sounds great as well. He sings this in a lower octave. He’s not in the song that long, but he does make an impact. Their voices compliment each other very well. This is another song that gets overshadowed by “No Diggity.” The only complaint about the song is the ending. It has a very abrupt ending that you may not see coming. Other than the ending, this song is flawless.
# 6 – No Diggity ft. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen
This suggestive song is from the Another Level album. The song has an r&b and hip-hop beat. The metaphoric song is about sex. The song is about a woman who is considered a player who has several sexual partners. The title of the song is an urban term. “No Diggity” also means no doubt in case you were wondering what the title means. This is Blackstreet’s biggest hit single. It has crossover appeal. It regained popularity when it appeared in the movie Pitch Perfect. It introduced the song to a new audience and gave the song pop appeal. You may be wondering why this song didn’t make the top of the list since it’s their biggest hit. This is an indicator on how good their songs are that their biggest hit wasn’t number one on our list.
Here is some trivia about the song. The song was meant for Teddy Riley’s former group Guy, but Aaron Hall didn’t want to sing the song. When Aaron didn’t want to sing it, he gave it to Blackstreet. They also didn’t want to record the song. They made Teddy Riley sing the first verse of the song in case it didn’t work out. The song went on to be a huge hit so it was a good thing they decided to record the track. The song features a sample of Bill Withers’ song “Grandma’s Hands.” The music has a slick confidence that lets you know it was going to be a smash hit. It is excellent for the club. It is also perfect for chilling out. Teddy Riley’s vocals are excellent. He doesn’t use his signature vocoder much in this track. It’s great to hear his actual vocals in the song.
The other members of Blackstreet appear in the song. Their harmonies are through the roof. They all sing in time with the infectious beat. Dr. Dre does the first rap verse. He is in a class by himself. Queen Pen was the perfect choice for a song like this. She delivers hard-hitting rap verses. She dominates her portion of the song.
# 5 – Before I Let You Go
The next song on our Top 10 Blackstreet Songs list is “Before I Let You Go” from their self-titled album. The song has an r&b beat. The tender song is about a man who doesn’t want to lose the love of his life. The woman isn’t in love with him anymore, but he wants her to give him a kiss goodbye. This is something people can relate to if they have been in relationships that are about to end. The somber music is excellent for the theme of the song. It sounds like old school r&b music.
This is baby-making music despite it being about a relationship ending. This song features the original members of Blackstreet. Dave Hollister sings the lead on this alluring song. His gospel roots shine through in this song. He sounds believable as he declares his love for his woman. He stays in character throughout the song. He sings in time with all of the beat changes. He performs little runs throughout the track. He even holds notes that are great on the ear. He sounds like his cousin K-Ci Hailey from Jodeci. Blackstreet harmonize very well in the background.
Their harmonies shine really well towards the end of the song. The ending is not to be missed. This is one of their earlier hit singles and it’s easy to see why it was a hit. The song is flawless. It has all of the right ingredients for a successful single from the singing to the production.
# 4- Joy
The touching song is another single from their self-titled album. The song has an r&b beat. The sweet song is about the love of a parent to a child. It is easy to assume that the song is a love song based on the lyrics. What’s special about this song is the fact that men don’t usually sing songs to their kids. There should be more songs on the radio that feature fathers expressing their love for their children. Some fathers get a bad rep for not being there for their children.
This song proves that some fathers do love their children. Here is some trivia about the song. Michael Jackson co-wrote this song. This song was supposed to be on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album. Michael Jackson’s loss was Blackstreet gain since the song went on to be an r&b hit. The music sounds like a slowed down version of the Jacksons’ “Show You The Way to Go.” The music has orchestra swells. It features the acoustic guitar, piano, violins and cellos.
The music is a different sound for the group. It is a stray from their r&b and hip-hop sound. This is another track that features the original members of Blackstreet. Levi Little sings the majority of the song. He sounds similar to Michael Jackson. Speaking of Michael Jackson, if you listen closely, it sounds as if Michael Jackson is in the background. The rest of the group does a great job supporting Levi Little in the background. Their harmonies are excellent. Everything about this song is perfect.
# 3 – Don’t Leave Me
This heartbreaking song is from the Another Level album. The song has an r&b and soul beat. The gorgeous song is about a man trying to keep his girlfriend from leaving him. This song is relatable to anyone who has been through a break up. Break ups are hard to go through so this song hits home for anyone who doesn’t want the person they love to leave them. The song features two samples. One of the samples is DeBarge’s “A Dream.” The other is Tupac’s “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.”
The samples work for this song. It doesn’t get the recognition it deserves because it’s on the same album as “No Diggity.” This track has great crossover appeal because fans of r&b and hip-hop can enjoy it. The music has a timeless beat that will never get old. The song features all of the members of the group. Eric Williams starts the song. His vocals are velvety. His baritone vocals blend well with the music. Chauncey Hannibal sings the next verse. His vocals are silky smooth. Mark Middleton’s vocals are phenomenal. He takes you to church once he starts performing his runs.
He belts throughout his vocals. Teddy Riley’s signature vocoder is featured in the track. It blends well with the music. Blackstreet could write a book on how to harmonize well because they always do. This song is one of the best songs on the album. It may not have been as big of a hit as “No Diggity” but is not to be slept on. It was a number one r&b hit for a reason.
# 2 – Bygones
This forgiving song is from the Level II album. The song has an r&b and soul beat. This is a compassionate song about forgiveness. It could be about a relationship, but it is likely about the group. This song reunites the group with Dave Hollister. Blackstreet broke up bitterly due to personal issues. This jam is a reunion for the group. It can also be relatable to anyone who is seeking forgiveness.
The lyrics have a great message about leaving things in the past. This is what Blackstreet did when they reunited for this track. The music is soft and rhythmic. It features an acoustic guitar and violin. It also has finger snaps. This song is a departure from their other tracks because it’s not about a romance. It is about forgiveness. The vocals are exquisite. They all do a great job with their vocals. They all have their chance to shine throughout the song. Mark Middleton and Dave Hollister steal the song. They both belt in their parts. They both take you to church.
Mark Middleton sounds like Kevon Edmonds while Dave Hollister sounds like K-Ci Hailey. It was a mistake on Blackstreet’s part not to release this gem as a single. This song is one of the best songs on the album and should have been released as a single. The nostalgia of Dave Hollister being back might have resonated with fans of the original Blackstreet.
# 1 – Happy Song (Tonite)
The number one song on our Top 10 Blackstreet Songs list is “Happy Song (Tonite)” from the Another Level album. The song has an r&b beat. The feel-good song is about having a good time and not stressing out. The theme of the song is similar to Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall.” They even include lyrics similar to “Off The Wall.” The music is upbeat and has a cool vibe. There is no way to sit still through this song. You will be up on the dance floor the second the song starts.
The banging drumbeat really sells the music. It also has a mix of old school r&b to give it flavor. Mark Middleton takes the lead on this track. Words can’t express how great of a job he does in the lead. He starts the song off softly and then vocally explodes. He hits incredible high notes after the bridge that are worth checking out. His runs are out of this world. The chorus of the song is infectious and will stay in your head long after the song is over. The group’s harmonies are fantastic. The group does a phenomenal job supporting Mark Middleton in the background.
This song may not have made it as a single, but it is definitely worthy of being number one on our list. You will want to put this song on repeat so you can hear it over and over again. The song is that good that you will want to continue listening to it.
Top 10 Blackstreet Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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