The original #MusicSermon Thread
I fell down a rabbit hole of 90s videos, and it inspired me to present…WE DANCED HARD AS F*CK IN THE 90s: A REVIEW
This started with a friend posting a clip of Mary J Blige’s “Real Love” video in honor of What’s the 411’s 25th anniversary. Knee pads, ball caps with ponytails, and Big Lez behind the moves.
Big Lez (Leslie Segar) is also the dancing silhouette in the iconic 90s Living Single intro. Apparently there’s been a rumor that it was Erika Alexander, and I just don’t even know how…
And yeah, now there are kids who still get their dance on for tick tock and the ‘gram, etc. But this was LIFE, forreal. Let’s take this infamous, now 30-year old House Party scene, for example.
This could have been a documentary. You HAD to have routines ready to go.
This is what you did: after school/weekends you went to your friend’s house, you made up a routine, and you did it at school dances, parties & the talent show, and you wore coordinating ‘fits. Teddy Riley’s second group, Wreckx n Effects, had a hit with Rump Shaker, but this video is ’90s party 101 to me.
Before we were all distracted by sparkly bottles moving through the crowd, and when we used to take polaroids in front of a backdrop instead of posting to the ‘gram, you ain’t just post up at a table or the bar. You had that good silk, lycra & rayon on to MOVE. Even Nino Brown.
You were able to directly follow Waymon’s Tisdale’s glow up in Strictly Business directly through his clothes and his willingness to get on the dance floor in the club, bc Natalie wasn’t giving any rhythm to squares who couldn’t get it in, obvi. (Halle couldn’t even really da…nvm)
Speaking of Uptown (which released Strictly Business and introduced Jodeci and Mary via the soundtrack), if you wanna talk abut New Jack energy, we can just park right here.
Uptown was the party label. By design.
And leading the brand:
Heavy, Trouble T Roy, and G Whiz (and Eddie F(ine)) were giving you ‘fits, moves and BPMs with your hip-hop.
While we’re on Heavy and Rosie, just to drive the point home of how interwoven dance was into every aspect of the culture: With all the stars that have come out of In Living Color, and the Fly Girls (choreographed by Rosie) are still either the 1st or 2nd thing you think of.
Back to Uptown; it wasn’t just Heavy carrying the dance banner. The label was, after all, the home of the creator of New Jack Swing himself. Shout out to the *real life* uptown dance crews in this video, including the Gucci Girls.
…and even with his very first signee as an Uptown A&R, young Puffy was Allllll in the video….Dancin’…
(With Redhead Kingpin. Backgrounds by a fresh outta NC Jodeci)
We didn’t just get it in to the obvious dance songs, though. We danced to EVERYTHING. “I Got it Made” is boom bap. Feels like a head-nodder more than anything, right? Nope…we dancin’.
(This was also a lunchroom table banger)
(Man, I was in love with his beautiful self)
Rappers usually either HAD dancers, or DID dance, or both.
Especially if you were trying to maintain a significant fan base of women.
A couple took it a step further like Chubb Rock and threw some greeks in the mix.
We’ve previously had a #MusicSermon exploring the ’90s as the last real decade of male R&B groups. And you couldn’t just be out here singin’… you had to have some choreo.
I always, always hold Troop up as the standard for hard dancin’ to mid-tempos. These dudes had formations & all.
They were so committed!!
(Also, remember the word “souped”? LOL. Good times)
In the early ’90s there was also a heavy club and dance music influence on R&B, which further contributed to us getting in a full workout when we went out. (Or, in the living room, either one). Shout out to Lez, again, and young Laurie Ann.
Because we grew up jumping off high stuff and cutting flips in the yard.
Even if the artists themselves weren’t going to give full out high energy moves, they were gonna give you something. En Vogue always had an 8-count. And back to the club influence: there was often a partially dressed man in the background striking dance poses.
…and that man was usually Djimon Hounsou….
but moving on.
We do have to acknowledge Poison as the currently recognized ’90s hard dancing anthem (although I hope I’ve made the point that it wasn’t a stand-alone moment). Str8 Ahead, BBD’s dancers, get credit for this. This was their audition routine to dance for the group.
Y’all don’t understand how much freshman in high school Naima wanted to be one of these girls when I grew up. Hell, STILL. I thought they were the flyest, dopest….
The New Edition crew and all affiliates are nothing if not dance related. I talk about Don’t Be Cruel-era Bobby a lot, but even in the early ’90s Bobby was still burning up the stage.
Hi Lez – again. And Fatima.
He had to add more dancers than just Heart & Soul because he couldn’t (and wasn’t going to try to) go as hard as he used to, but Bobby was still gonna make sure there was a routine, even if he was jumping in and out of it.
And Johnny was dancing for his whole entire life in “Rub You the Right Way.” Bless him.
When you think of Boyz II Men now, the last thing you probably think of is an 8-count, but they couldn’t drop a song like MotownPhilly, under the tutelage and name-affiliation of Mike Bivens, BBD ad New Edition, and not dance.
My best friend and I had a routine to Biv 10/East Coast Family little brothers ABC’s Playground that I still know 85% of, right now… which I can say with certainty because I did it a few weeks ago.
Shout out to Starter jackets, though. Are those comin’ back yet?
‘Ok, so now that the Gen X’ers have possibly strained something reading this thread, and the younger folks understand why our bodies were crazy when we were younger (consistent built in cardio), and why our joints hurt NOW…
There’s only one way to close…
Clown on Hammer all you want to…. Hammer was one of the best shows you could ever go to in your life. And you went to GET. IT. IN.
I saw Hammer like 3 times. Left tired and sweaty every time. Danced the whole damn time every time.
So shout out to every Gen Xer with bad knees but outstanding knees….and zero evidence. We had an incredible run.
Wanna relive your glory days and/or challenge somebody to a dance off and/or just have a party (or clean your house) real quick? I got you.