Sugar girl, you sexy thing…
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for 90s R&B. I’m talking Montell Jordan, Toni Braxton, Groove Theory, Next, Boyz II Men, you get the picture.
But for all of the catchy songs that the above artists released in the 90s, none of them had the success that Blackstreet achieved in 1996 with Another Level.
Everyone on the planet knows No Diggity. The lyrics are ingrained in the hearts and minds of late 20- and 30-somethings everywhere. The song currently has over 72MM plays on Spotify. We all went to college with someone who “knows the rap.” I think I’ve covered it in every band I’ve ever been in. Fun fact: No Diggity borrows its sound from soul great Bill Withers’ song Grandma’s Hands:
But beyond No Diggity, Another Level is an excellent album. These guys filled the void while the world anxiously awaited for Boyz II Men’s follow up to II (and after the really deep guy hurt his back and couldn’t perform anymore). I saw Boyz II Men as a trio at the Orange County Fairgrounds around this time and it just wasn’t the same. (A little group called Destiny’s Child opened that show — with 4 members — along with Next of Too Close fame.)
If I could look back at my call history from 1996, I’d find nightly calls to K104-FM to request “Don’t Leave Me Girl” for my crush. But my favorite “gem” on this album is probably Fix — which was taken to the next level in a collaboration with ODB and Slash from Guns N’ Roses:
It’s a cold Tuesday in January, 2016. Warm up with some smooth harmonies and Another Level. No diggity, no doubt. Unh.
Suitable for: background music while calling your crush on a land line and pray her dad doesn’t pick up
Appropriate payback device: The radio in your bedroom