The 1990s were a great time in music; as evidenced by the barrage of 90s nostalgia that’s been popping up everywhere from primetime sitcoms to music videos lately. But it was an especially great time for female artists, as women in virtually every facet of popular music grabbed superstardom with both hands and achieved both commercial success and critical acclaim. In hip-hop, rappers like Da Brat, Queen Latifah and Lil Kim tore down a lot of rap’s misogynistic one-sidedness to inject some much-needed balance into the musical discourse; in rock, singer-songwriters like Alanis Morissette and PJ Harvey became spokeswomen for a generation fed up with testosterone and sexism that fueled the rock mythos.
And in R&B, a wave of female artists were deconstructing and redeveloping the genre in new and exciting ways; melding various styles, aesthetics and eras to create a diverse and ever-expanding range of artistry; from the uptempo grooves of New Jack Swing, to lush urban contemporary ballads, to the smooth-but-edgy bounce of hip-hop soul.
So to close out Women’s History Month, The Boombox is celebrating those artists the best way we know how…
…with another list.
We salute the 50 Greatest Female R&B Artists of the 90s.