Boyz ll Men: The Best Male Vocal Group of the 90s and it’s Not Debatable

Boyz ll Men (l to r) Shawn Stockman, Nathan Morris, Wayna Morris, and Michael McCary photographed at the 1995 Grammy Awards by Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

In the midst of notable guy group, New Edition’s success, another talented and impeccably vocaled team of musicians, who were inspired, begin gearing up to start their own prosperous careers. This group, originally known as Unique Attraction, was Boyz ll Men.

Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman, Wayna Morris, and former members Marc Nelson and Michael McCory, originated in Philly, where they started a journey that would give us some of the greatest, emotionally gravitated, and beautifully written ballads and acapella joints, that have ever graced R&B music.

But it seems the recognition for what these men have done for music, sometimes goes almost short of being appreciated. And that’s almost impossible to accept, when records such as the iconic theme song to the late 90s and early 2000’s graduation, “End of the Road,” from their debut album “CooleyHighHarmony” exists, and even covers to other major hits, like NE’s “Can You Stand the Rain.”

With chart-topping hits securing their spot for over 14 weeks, selling over 25 albums records in the U.S., breaking numerous Billboard records, and being named the fourth most successful group of the 90s, it’s only right we roll out some of the most memorable records Boyz ll Men have created, that righteously earned them their title.

“It’s Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” Cooleyhighharmony (1991)

 

As the second single released from their first project, “Cooleyhighharmony,” and a cover of G.C. Cameron’s 1975 original from the film “Cooley High,” this emotional ballad tugged at heartstrings, as it symbolized how moving on is hard to do, and dealing with the aftermath of a loss.

The film’s legacy and concept is what inspired the group to name their debut album, “Cooleyhighharmony,” and took the once upon a record to mainstream success. It debuted at number two on Billboard’s Hot 100, and no.1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles.

“End of the Road” Cooleyhighharmony (1991)

 

If you don’t know this song word for word, even down to Michael’s deep-voiced monologue at the end, then are you really apart of the R&B elite?

“End of the Road,” was the ode to a love that wasn’t meant to be given up on. The thing is, you could relate this timeless record to pretty much any situation, where you longed for a special moment in time, to last forever.

The rhythmic and smooth, soul belts and harmonies of this song, have been played and sang through pop culture numerous times, since its release almost 30 years ago. It was the group’s first-ever no.1 single, which sat on the Billboard charts for 13 consecutive weeks, and earned two Grammys for “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals,” and “Best R&B Song.”

“I’ll Make Love to You” ll (1994)

 

No stranger to producing some of the boyz biggest hits during their career, Babyface helped the group create this sensual, but beautiful love song, that would without a doubt, be placed on our 90s playlists to this day.

I loved the simplicity of 90s music videos and visuals, and Boyz ll Men, always did a great job of executing that, while making you feel the music through their lyrics and voices, whereas the video was just a bonus. Nonetheless, the storylines were perfect for what the content of the record meant, and we gotta give a big up to the camera lighting.

“I’ll Make Love to You,” held the no.1 spot for 14 weeks straight, the only Boyz ll Men record to do so thus far, until just two weeks later, another gem showed up, and showed out.

“One Sweet Day” ft. Mariah Carey from Mariah Carey’s Daydream LP

 

And that gem was none other than, “One Sweet Day,” accompanied by one of the greatest vocalists of our time, singing beauty, Mariah Carey.

“One Sweet Day,” was the no.1 song in the country for 16 weeks, a record that has yet to be broken, and is the most commercially successful single of both Carey’s and Boyz ll Men’ career to date.

In remembrance of a close friend of Carey’s, David Cole, who had died of spinal meningitis caused by AIDS, the record was written for him, and for anyone else in the world who had recently lost someone, near and dear to their hearts.

To have these two extraordinarily talented musicians on one song, who shared similarities in what was being sung about, it was more about the success or critic reviews, it was about telling a story through music and having it personally reach others, in the most genuine way possible.

“A Song for Mama” Evolution (1997)

 

I don’t know about you guys, but this is my Mother’s Day anthem, and an anthem in general, that doesn’t need a specific holiday or occasion to be played, because it’s that sentimental and a universal gesture.

You may have heard this tune at the beginning of the 1997 film “Soul Food,” a small part, but very dominant in its meaning, and how it felt to love our mothers like Big Mama, how much we cherish their love for us, and all the hard work they’ve put in throughout our lives.

“A Song for Mama,” was the epitome of the power a woman holds over her family. And who better to bring this personal “thank you” to life, than Boyz ll Men, literally, what their mothers helped them become.

Mama you’re the queen of my heart. Your love is like tears from the stars. Mama I just want you to know, lovin’ you is like food to my soul.”

“Can You Stand the Rain” (Cover) Evolution (1997)

 

What better way to show appreciation to who inspired you to pursue what you love in the first place, than putting it in a song…again.

This acapella version of New Edition’s “Can You Stand the Rain,” is how Boyz ll Men received their big break, after sneaking backstage at one of the group’s shows, to sing their version to member, Michael Bivins.

Who would’ve known 8 years later, it would be on the best guy group of the 90s, no.1 and 2x platinum, third studio album. Levels.

Diamond Jones

Jr. Editor Lifestlye/Entertainment Department

Diamond Jones, 21, is a St.Louis native, born on the west side of Detroit. She is currently a junior, studying Journalism, with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Her writing reaches to audiences everywhere, directing it toward the empowerement and excellence of black people and their accomplishments. She has written for The Daily Egyptian, LoveThisTrackTV, Georgia State’s The Signal and the National Association of Black Journalists, which she is a dedicated member of. She hopes to continue to inspire those through her words and make those who feel underrepresented, see their light.