Our top 10 Meshell Ndegeocello songs list presents the music of a German-American artist famed for her fundamental input in the neo-soul movement. Born in 1968, Meshell Ndegeocello traces her love for music to her saxophonist dad. However, she would sculpt a different path, establishing herself as a prominent singer and bassist, making her a rare species in the neo soul music scene. Flying to the US allowed Meshell Ndegeocello to sharpen her musical skills by interacting with several bands, including Rare Essence, Prophecy, and Little Bennie. With passion in her heart and musical skills to showcase to the world, she headed for trials for the bassist position in the reputable American rock band Living Colour. Sadly, she was not selected for the bassist role. Bassist Doug Wimbish, famously known as a session musician with The Rolling Stones, Annie Lennox, Depeche Mode, and a member of Tackhead was eventually hired by Living Colour.
Meshell Ndegeocello proved that there was more that she could do other than become a bassist. Her decision to start her solo career led her become one of the initial artists to sign a contract with Maverick Records. Meshell Ndegeocello is majorly remembered by many, thanks to the efficacious 1994 duet with singer-songwriter John Mellencamp on “Wild Night.” The song was a cover to Van Morrison’s opening hit of his album Tupelo Honey (1971). During the same year, Meshell Ndegeocello collaborated with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock on “Nocturnal Sunshine.”
Her success story would be cemented by her awe-inspiring cover of 1972 Bill Withers hit “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?” Meshell Ndegeocello’s love for instruments never died, having her feature on the bass in Madonna’s hit “I’d Rather Be Your Lover.” Later, she would feature on the vocals in “Never Miss the Water” by Chaka Khan. Meshell Ndegeocello’s music has also been used in several popular films.
While still pursuing her solo music career, Meshell Ndegeocello was featured in songs by other artists. Some of them include Scritti Politti, Basement Jaxx, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and the folk-rock duo Indigo Girls. Her passion for the bass guitar continued having her play the song “So Unsexy” by Alanis Morissette, “Saint of Me” by The Rolling Stones, and “African Diamond” by Zap Mama. To date, Meshell Ndegeocello has been active in the music industry, priding herself with twelve studio albums. Her music blends soul, funk, rock, reggae, and hip-hop elements. Recently, Meshell Ndegeocello won her first Grammy Award with the song “Better Than I Imagined” by Robert Glasper, where she was featured alongside H.E.R.
#10 – Leviticus: Faggot
Opening our top 10 Meshell Ndegeocello songs is the vociferous hit “Leviticus: Faggot.” The song is featured on her sophomore studio album Peace Beyond Passion (1996). “Leviticus: Faggot” finds Meshell Ndegeocello singing about how she feels the religion treats gays, women, and minorities. The song is inspired by her sexuality. In the song, Meshell describes a man who has faced rejection from his mother since he is gay. It is to be remembered that Meshell Ndegeocello had converted to Islam. However, she detached from the religion, terming it to be more of mind control than a tranquil haven.
#9 – Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?
“Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?” is a song originally penned by the singer Bill Withers and Stan McKenny for the album Still Bill (1972). Meshell Ndegeocello is one of the many artists who released a cover to this song. Her cover version is featured in her sophomore studio album Peace Beyond Passion (1996). The album received a Grammy Award nomination for the Best R&B Album in 1997 but lost to Words (1996) by Tony Rich. Other artists to have covered the song include Valerie Carter, Creative Source, and the group Gladys Knight & The Pips. Meshell Ndegeocello’s version proves to be the best among the covers, having it top the US Dance Chart.
#8 – Comet, Come to Me ft. Shara Worden
Spiced up with some sleek dub reggae rhythms is the title track to Meshell’s eleventh studio album Comet, Come to Me (2014). The song features one of the most moving vocal arrangements. Thanks to the nice blend of Meshell Ndegeocello and Shara Worden’s awe-inspiring vocals that a seamless harmony is achieved. The song allows true musicianship to dine with emotion-filled artistry on the same table.
#7 – Earth
“Earth” is an upbeat ballad featured on Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape (2002). The song was pivotal to the album’s nomination on the 2003 Grammy Awards for the Best Contemporary R&B Album. A remix touch on the song by British singer and DJ Ben Watt saw the song become more popular. It rose to number fourteen on the Billboard Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales Chart.
#6 – Soul Searchin’ (I Wanna Know If It’s Mine)
Number six on our top 10 Meshell Ndegeocello songs list is the hit “Soul Searchin’ (I Wanna Know If It’s Mine).” The hit is one of the songs featured on the 1995 drama film Higher Learning. Listening to this song makes you realize how influential Meshell Ndegeocello was as a neo-soul artist. However, many feel like she should have received better recognition.
#5 – Waterfalls
Ventriloquism (2018) saw Meshell Ndegeocello take on big ballads by legendary artists like Tina Turner and Janet Jackson. The whole album could not be any better, having its ooze perfect melodies and vocals from one song to the other. “Waterfalls” is one of the flawlessly executed covers in the album Ventriloquism (2018). Originally, the song was released by TLC on CrazySexyCool (1994). It immediately became the group’s signature ballad. Meshell Ndegeocello sprayed uniqueness in her cover version, adding spice to the 2018 cover album. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Progressive R&B Album category. However, the album lost to The Carters’ Everything Is Love (2018).
“Beautiful” is a melodic song from Meshell Ndegeocello’s third album Bitter (1999). Like most songs in the album, “Beautiful” allows Meshell Ndegeocello to showcase her prowess on the electric bass. The song explores the ambitious theme of love in a soft and relaxed tune guided by Meshell Ndegeocello’s awe-inspiring vocals.
Earth, Wind & Fire has remained one of the most reputable bands in the R&B music scene since 1969. Interpretations: Celebrating the Music of Earth, Wind, and Fire (2007) was released as a tribute to the band. The album featured legendary artists such as Chaka Khan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ledisi, Dwele, Musiq Soulchild, and The Randy Watson Experience. Meshell Ndegeocello released the cover to Earth, Wind & Fire’s hit “Fantasy.” The song saw Meshell Ndegeocello nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category. However, she lost the award to “Daydreamin” by Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott.
#2- Fool of Me
“Fool of Me” is a musical gem from Meshell Ndegeocello’s album Bitter (1999). The song became popular after being featured on the popular film Love & Basketball. “Fool of Me” visualizes how everything was perfect in a relationship only to have the lady feel like she was hoodwinked into believing in love by the guy. Say Lou Lou featured Chet Faker in releasing a song under the same title (but different lyrics) in the album Julian (2013).
#1- If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)
Number one on our top 10 Meshell Ndegeocello songs list is the hit “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night).” The song was featured in her debut album, Phantom Lullabies (1993). This neo-soul ballad finds Meshell Ndegeocello stamping her presence as a singer and bassist no one should discount. The song alludes to a time Meshell was seeing a guy only to realize that he was seeing someone else. If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night) was nominated for two Grammy Awards in the Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance categories. However, it lost to “I’ll Make Love to You” by Babyface and “Breathe Again” by Toni Braxton. The song peaked at number seventy-three on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
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