You know, the '90s gets a little screwed when it comes to nostalgia, which is perhaps a bit unfair. Sure, the '80s gave us Scrunchies and ALF, and we got to show off our Lisa Lisa cassette with pride.
But in the '90s, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was born, which gave us Carlton and his sweet-ass dance moves. And then there was never-ending saga of Kelly Kapowski and Zack Morris's high-school romance. Even '90s music was pretty sweet; it's just that nobody really remembers because the '80s still steals all the glory.
Luckily, we're here to remedy that with the ten best songs we miss from the '90s. Sorry, Wreckx N Effect didn't make this one, but go on ahead and shake that rump like a rumpshaker if you must. We won't tell.
10. "Your Woman," White Town One-man-bands rarely work, at least in the mainstream. But the exception to that rule in the '90s was White Town. White Town, aka Jyoti Prakash Mishra. He wrote and performed this catchy little tune about...well, we're not sure. Something about never being your woman, and then a catchy beat.
Truth is, we have no clue what all the gender-bending allusions are really about. Jyoti White Town even attempted to explain the song's backstory, saying it was recorded from multiple perspectives, and then something about a two-timing, fake-arsed Marxist, which only made things more confusing.
So maybe he was a bit weird, just like his one-man-band song. But it was still the fuckin' jam.
9. "Here Comes the Hotstepper," Ini Kamoze Hotstepper Ini Kamoze was the lyrical gangster in this awesome reggae jam with the catchy "na na na na na" chorus. Kamoze borrowed that line from the song "Land of a Thousand Dances" by Cannibal & the Headhunters, which they borrowed from Chris Kenner's original. (Wilson Pickett deserves a mention too, of course.)
Kamoze also sampled a ton of other songs -- "The Champ" by The Mohawks and Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di," for example -- but still managed to throw them all together in his own style, which made "Hotstepper" one of the sweetest '90s jams around.
8. "Hey Mr DJ," Zhane "Hey Mr DJ" was Zhane's debut single, and has been labeled one of the greatest dance songs of the '90s for good reason. Try to keep your head from bobbling along while Zhane sings about movin' and groovin'. It's pretty impossible to keep still with that infectious beat.
7. "Fu-Gee-La," Fugees #RIP Fugees. Can't Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean just kiss and make up already? Please and thanks if one of you can make that happen, because the world needs more songs like this. Ms. Lauryn is great, even solo, but nothing can compare to the intensity of the Fugees. That is all.
6. "Rosa Parks," OutKast This was one of the best songs to come out of the '90s. Everything about OutKast back then was legit, and even though the music video is questionable, with the whole green-screen effects as a backdrop, we still love to drag out this song because it's dope. OutKast made the club get crunk, yes they did.
5. "Don't Let Go," En Vogue We'd like to a dig up a ton of En Vogue songs from their '90s grave, but none are more worthy of resurrection than this one. The video was equally awesome, since it had the four ladies harmonizing to a shit-ton of dramatics courtesy of Mekhi Phifer, who played the ultimate four-timing player. Anything that requires Mehki Phifer to quadruple his screen time is all right with us, and by throwing in En Vogue you really cannot go wrong.
Unfortunately, the success of this song was the beginning of the end for the group. The original members never did quite get it together -- they did try swapping out here and there -- but nothing worked the way that foursome did. But at least they did us a solid by releasing "Don't Let Go" before jumping ship.
List continues on the next page.
4. "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)," Missy Elliott Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott had already written some massive songs for other artists -- Aaliyah and SWV, for starters -- but then she blew us away with this little number. So Basically Missy was already a badass, but a quiet one who wrote and produced songs with Timbaland for other artists, and then one day threw together a unique lyrical style and some crazy rubber suits. The results were supa dupa fly -- man, this chick knew how to work it.
3. "Nothing Compares 2U," Sinead O'Connor Everything about this song became massive, from O'Connor's shaved head to that spastic, obsessed manner she rocks in the song and video. But as huge as her Pope rants and semi-creepy obsession songs were, the whole thing kind of fizzled out. We don't hear this song all that often anymore, but we definitely have days when it would be just the whiny, angry antidote we're looking for.
2. "Return of the Mack," Mark Morrison Released by English star Mark Morrison in the mid-'90s, this song could rival any current R&B hit. Yeah, we said it. We're still waiting for that return of the mack, though -- come on, Morrison.
1. "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover," Sophie B. Hawkins Poor Sophie B nearly missed the '90s MTV train -- they deemed the video for this song way too erotic for television, and banned it from play on the network -- but "Damn" still found its way into cassette players everywhere. Sophie B did her thing with no shame, pushin' envelopes and blushin' cheeks on her way to the top, and for that we salute her.
Like what you read? Or think you can do better? We'd love for you to join our team.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.