Various Artists

Radio Waves of the '90s: Urban Hits

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This is fun and it really shouldn't be. It's no big shocker that beginning in the late '80s to the early '90s, R&B was in a mad dash to become irrelevant and not all that soulful. The biggest surprise was that by the mid part of the decade, it rebounded slightly and Radio Waves: Urban Hits of the '90s unwittingly picks up on that. This compilation doesn't have many surprises, no rare gems, and is primarily the better songs that split ear drums and rumbled out of cars the most. The instant old-school and playful "I Got a Man" by Positive K probably works here the best. From the profitable and influential Uptown era comes Jodeci's overwrought take on Stevie Wonder's "Lately" and nothing else. As the R&B style relaxed a bit, the songs got better. Zhané's "Groove Thang," '90s comeback-era New Edition's "Hit Me Off," and Tony! Toni! Toné!'s "If I Had No Loot" are three of the stronger songs of the era. BLACKstreet's big hit "No Diggity" is as well and is included here although it was originally released on Atlantic. The rest of Urban Hits of the '90s, including Bobby Brown's "Humpin' Around," is strictly so-so and already dated stuff. This certainly isn't definitive but it does attain a sense of the decade.

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