by Alana Seldon
June 6, 2022
With June officially underway, TV One is celebrating all things Black music!
From the club to the cookout, to the pulpit – OUR journey is in OUR music. Throughout #BlackMusicMonth, we are diving all the way in and taking you along the way. As we REPRESENT that musical journey, join us as we reflect on the songs that lift us up…and hold us down!
We’re kicking things off with a genre that has birthed some of the most feel-good tracks of all time.
Our favorite R&B artists and groups created those timeless hits that were: alarm clocks on early weekend mornings when momma said it was time to straighten up the house, and our notice that the grill was lit and the family barbecue is about to be a whole vibe!
Here are 10 classic R&B hits that doubled as a BOP for the next generation when they were sampled in their respective years.
1. Human Nature – Michael Jackson
This 1982 ballad from Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album, Thriller, was sampled by quite a few artists over the years. Produced by the iconic Quincy Jones, “Human Nature” climbed to number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart – an accomplishment that wasn’t uncommon for the King of Pop.
Two of the most popular records that sampled “Human Nature” were from legendary 90s group SWV and Chris Brown, a name that has been thrown around for years as a protege of MJ.
Right Here – SWV
She Ain’t You Chris – Chris Brown
2. Juicy Fruit – Mtume
Grammy Award-winning musician, James Mtume was widely known for his 1983 No.1 R&B chart-topper, “Juicy Fruit.” The record, which has been sampled many times across music, almost sounds better as time goes on. This classic is responsible for Biggie Smalls’ Hip-Hop classic, “Juicy” and Keyshia Cole’s anthem for the ladies, “Let it Go.”
Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G.
The Notorious B.I.G. sampled the record on his debut-album “Ready to Die,” in 1994. The single also soared quickly, peaking at No. 1 on the Hot Rap Singles chart.
Let It Go – Keyshia Cole
Released in June of 2007, “Let it Go” was truly a song of the summer! With rappers Missy Elliott and Lil’ Kim joining her on the track, Keyshia Cole delivered a record that will still get a choir going in the middle of the club.
3. Touch Me Tease Me – Case feat. Mary J. Blige & Foxy Brown
It’s just something about that 90s R&B vibe! This Case, Mary J. Blige and Foxy Brown collab in ’96 was everything we needed. This song will get the ladies moving until the end of time! A hot sample of the record is King Combs’ “Love You Better” featuring Chris Brown. The 24-year-old son of Sean “Diddy” Combs has consistently released music that returns the vibe of the 90s.
Love You Better – King Combs feat. Chris Brown
4. If You Love Me – Brownstone
The nostalgia that comes up when this track is played – whew, just takes us right back to when we first heard it! “If You Love Me” was released in 1994 and is from BrownStone’s debut album From the Bottom.
Say It – Tory Lanez
Canadian rapper Tory Lanez, who is known for sampling hit records and turning them into catchy, new-age classics, dropped his new version “Say It,” in the summer of 2015.
5. Between the Sheets – The Isley Brothers
The sound of seduction is something the Isley’s have proved they know best! “Between the Sheets,” released in 1983, is hands-down one of the most famous R&B bedroom songs. THE slow jam of all slow jams! In 1994, The Notorious B.I.G. released his first studio album Ready to Die with a sample of the record entitled “Big Poppa,” which soared. The track remains legendary in Hip-Hop and celebrated by other genres in 2022.
Big Poppa – The Notorious B.I.G.
In 1994, The Notorious B.I.G. released his first studio album Ready to Die with a sample of the record entitled “Big Poppa,” which soared. The track remains legendary in Hip-Hop and also widely celebrated in 2022.
6. Stay With Me – DeBarge
One thing the DeBarges will do is music, okay!? The family R&B group who gave us a string of major national hits in the ’80s, released “Stay With Me” on their popular 1983 album, In a Special Way.
Foolish – Ashanti
Ashanti’s debut single “Foolish” from her self-titled debut album took the world by storm in 2002. The song reached No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains her most successful solo record to date. And let’s just say – this is a HIT for the ladies!
7. Rain – SWV
“Sometimes it’s soft as a misty rain……” Yep, this one is definitely a timeless record! R&B vocal trio SWV released “Rain” on their Release Some Tension album in 1997. One of our favorite samples of the record is Chingy’s “Pullin’ Me Back” featuring Tyrese in 2006. The song was a top 10 single for Chingy on the Billboard Hot 100 and a No.1 single on the R&B chart.
Pullin’ Me Back – Chingy feat. Tyrese
8. My Boo – Ghost Town DJs
Anytime this iconic party record drops, it feels just like it could be the summer of ’96 again… talk about timeless! After landing at No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 two decades ago, the #runningmanchallenge took off on social media in 2016, giving the record a resurgence to the charts. Ciara’s “Body Party” for her self-titled fifth studio album in 2013 sampled “My Boo” with a sexy twist. The single was certified Gold!
Body Party – Ciara
9. Real Love – Mary J. Blige
Listen, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul can do no wrong! Since her debut studio album, What’s the 411? in 1992, Mary J. Blige claimed her place as an icon in music. And, with legendary records like “Real Love,” her value and impact on the culture will never change. Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids” feat. Earl Sweatshirt in 2013 is among many songs that have sampled the timeless record.
Super Rich Kids – Frank Ocean feat. Earl Sweatshirt
10. Tonight Is the Night – Betty Wright
With breakout hit singles like “Tonight is the Night” and “Clean Up Woman,” Ms. Betty Wright rose to fame in the ’70s. Betty always put on for women with her powerful lyrics and soulful voice. This record, which she introduces as personal poem about “a young girl making love for the very first time,” is a certified classic.
I Wanna Sex You Up – Color Me Badd
In 1991, Color Me Badd released their debut single “I Wanna Sex You Up,” which was used on the New Jack City soundtrack. It became a smash R&B hit thirty years ago, and remains a bop to this day!
Did you know that all of these songs were sampled by the hits above? Let us know and also tell us what your all-time favorite sample is!