Once upon a time in the 90’s, the landscape of Rhythm and Blues was inundated with groups both male and female in pairs, trios, and quartets. Many came and went, however one quartet of male voices managed to be a stealth force to be desired throughout the entire decade.
BLACKstreet was formed in 1991. The third chapter for hitmaker Teddy Riley, who had already pioneered the New Jack Swing movement as well as success with his initial group, GUY; his latest ensemble was full of Brothers with Voices comprised of Chauncey Hannibal, Levi Little, and Dave Hollister) who belted over Riley-produced melodies that would shake airwaves and cross music charts.
Aside from their own catalog of four albums, BLACKstreet would become the go-to voices for a unforgettable collaborations. Let’s look back at their finest features!
Janet featuring BLACKstreet – I Get Lonely Remix (1997)
When Janet Jackson released the remix to her already flawless “I GET LONELY”, the addition of BLACKstreet became the collaboration we never knew we deserved. An overlay of Riley’s beatboxing placed Chauncey Hannibal’s distinguishable timbre at the forefront, in sweet synergy with Janet’s delicate and timeless tale of isolation granting us further access beyond the velvet rope.
Foxy Brown – Get You Home featuring BLACKstreet (1996)
What do you get when you combine Foxy Brown’s gritty flow written by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter with the harmony of BLACKstreet over a Trackmasters-produced Eugene Wilde sample? “Get Me Home” is a perfect storm of Hip Hop, Soul and vulnerability as the Brooklyn MC revealed a softer side for the first single from her debut album, Ill Na Na.
Queen Pen – All My Love featuring Eric Williams of BLACKstreet (1998)
Returning the compliment to the rapstress that laced BLACKstreet’s crossover hit “No Diggity”, Queen Pen’s flow on “All My Love” rides the infectious sample of Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much’. On loan is Teddy Riley on production and Eric Williams, who does vocal justice to the throwback hook which guides the ghetto love song written by Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.
Jay-Z – The City Is Mine featuring BLACKstreet (1998)
It’s a safe assumption that BLACKstreet is one of Jay-Z’s favorite groups. From frequent collaboration whether behind the pen or on his on tracks, S. Carter would call on the man band for the debut single of his sophomore album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. The lyricist’s most forgettable set aimed and missed to elevate Jay Z to commercial success via this sample of Glenn Frey and Jack Tempchin’s Miami Vice anthem, “You Belong To The City”. Although it didn’t have the immediate impact intended, the lyrical predictions proved to be a blueprint for the Brooklyn MC’s approaching domination.
Take Me There – BLACKstreet featuring Mya, Mase and Blinky Blink (1998)
When Nickelodeon’s Rugrats went from the small screen to their first big screen adventure, they needed a song just as big and colorful to lead the film’s soundtrack. Paired with Mya’s tender vocals and siblings Mase and Blinky Blink’s volleying bars, BLACKstreet brought Hip Hop Soul to The Rugrats Movie with a refreshing interpololation of the show’s original theme bop.