COVER STORY | There’s no greater magic than women who come together to create a powerful track. Often placed in competition with one another by the industry, ladies united in the name of Girl Power to support, strengthen and shine together. Zumble looks at some of 90’s most iconic and soulful female collaborations.
Brandy featuring MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and Queen Latifah – I Wanna Be Down (Remix)
What a difference a remix makes. The sweet debut by R&B sweetheart, Brandy creates a platform for the era’s reigning female lyricists to flex their dexterity on the funky laid-back track. Opposites prove to attract as this version stands apart as one of Hip Hop & R&B’s greatest collaborations and a true ladies anthem.
Total featuring Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and Da Brat – No One Else Remix
Only the ladies of Total could unite Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown together for this gritty love letter that was recycled into a declaration of self-worth and strength. Although the rivals have a hidden track circulating around the internet, “No One Else” was the only full collaboration that has seen the light of day. Da Brat completes the black girl cypher for an unforgettable intersection of R&B and Hip Hop.
Mary J. Blige featuring Lil’ Kim – I Can Love You
The Queen of Hip Hop Soul meets the Queen of Hardcore Rap on this Darkchild-produced smash. “Who you lovin’, who you wanna be huggin?” There is truly no competition when Mary J. Blige and Lil Kim confront a man who is wasting time with a lesser lover.
Brandy, Tamia, Glady Knight, Chaka Khan – Missing You
Like the film that inspired it, four unique vocal personalities were paired for this heartfelt ballad that united generations. Appearing on the Set It Off Soundtrack, the ensemble earned a Grammy-nomination
Whatta Man featuring En Vogue – Whatta Man
The ladies of S-N-P joined forces with the funky divas to serve this hot and buttered feast for the ears. Salt, Pepa and a 16-bar debut by DJ Spinderella knock each verse out of the park while Terry, Maxine, Dawn and Cindy lend their flawless vocals to the chorus that keeps us hyped nearly 30 years later. The platinum-certified collaboration proved to be Very Necessary, even nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
Whitney Houston featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price – Heartbreak Hotel
Whitney’s 1998 album, My Love Is Your Love, celebrated the spirit of discernment and the perseverance of a woman through the stages of love. When Houston called upon soul muses Evans and Price for the album’s lead single, we knew that there would be some singing going down! Even though it is the last letter the ungrateful lover would receive, farewell has never sounded so good.
Lil Kim featuring Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Angie Martinez, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes – Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)
Girls just want to have fun and 1996’s top female MCs were having a celebration on this feel-good remix to one of her debut album’s most explicit entries. The bad girls club has nothing on this posse who revel in a world where women are free to be as bossy, sexy and gangsta as they want to be.
Nicole featuring Missy Elliott – Make It Hot
Missy had a number of protégés in the 90’s but something hit different about 17-year old Nicole Wray. Enhanced by Misdemeanor’s tightest 16 bars, the singer had what we all wanted with vocals and harmonies far beyond her years.
Brandy & Monica – The Boy Is Mine
With 13 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, this duet stopped the world as the dueling divas settled matters in the recording booth with victorious results. 23 years later, this Darkchild-produced classic still sparks debate whether the boy truly belongs to Brandy or Monica.
Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey – When You Believe
Music’s greatest divas teamed up to deliver this definitive duet and to put any rivalry rumors to rest. Recorded for “The Prince of Egypt” soundtrack, the song of inspirational lifted fans to new altitudes and was awarded the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1999 – no explanations necessary.