During the late '80s and early parts of the '90s, R&B was dominated by the new jack swing era, with artists such as Janet Jackson, New Edition and Boyz II Men being some of the subgenre's most successful acts. Those were good times up until a young chick from Yonkers rose up to the ranks to change the game. With combat boots, baggy jeans and a baseball cap, Mary J. Blige brought a rougher, grittier look than any other R&B artist at the time, causing her to stand out.
Diddy -- who was only 19 back at the time -- executive produced her first album, What's the 411? and made sure her sound reflected soulful vocals with a hip-hop edge. "You Remind Me" her first single, eventually reached the top spot on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Charts, solidifying a shift in R&B for good. When her debut LP was finally released July 28, 1992, it topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts and also landed at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
That magic Mary J. created 20 years ago ushered in something new for R&B -- edgier, hip-hop-influenced beats replaced the funky, poppy sounds of the early new jack swing days. R&B acts that followed such as Destiny's Child, Aaliyah and Usher borrowed the sound in their music as well. Two decades later, this style still remains. The BoomBox compiled a list of 20 R&B songs post-What's The 411? that sample beats and lyrics from hip-hop, similar to the way the Queen of Hip-Hop soul did back in '92.
1. Montell Jordan, "This Is How We Do It" (February 1995)
This classic party song by Los Angeles native Montell Jordan was the first single off his debut album by the same name. The upbeat jam became an international hit and peaked at No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard