Back when I used to play bars and clubs, I would play a ton of 90s R&B to open the night; in my opinion, no other genre of music set the perfect atmosphere, mood and tone for a good party like some great uptempo 90s R&B. As it turns out, with a little bit of research and proper programming, it’s also a great genre to feature during a wedding reception’s Cocktail Hour.
A Word Of Advice: Pay attention to the subject matter. With Rhythm & Blues, especially the 90s variety, there are tons of sexual undertones (obvious and not so obvious) and plenty of songs about heartbreak. Ultimately, it’s your wedding reception, but keep the demographics of your guests in mind as you program your sets. I tried my best to keep this cocktail playlist friendly for all.
So, without further ado, here’s my volume one of my 90s R&B playlist, with a full 90 minute Spotify playlist available at the end:
Color Me Badd – “All 4 Love”
As usual, I like to kick my cocktail mixes off with a nice upbeat tune, which this C.M.B. song fits the bill perfectly.
Hi-Five – “I Like The Way”
Michael Jackson – “Remember The Time”
Because, it’s not a valid 90s R&B cocktail playlist if it doesn’t have one MJ song on it.
R. Kelly – “She’s Got That Vibe”
Also not a valid playlist if it doesn’t have one R. Kelly song on it.
Zhané – “Hey Mr. DJ”
Shanice – “I Love Your Smile”
If the opening of this song doesn’t get you at least smile – let alone sing-a-long! – then I don’t know what will.
Tara Kemp – “Hold You Tight”
SWV – “Right Here (Human Nature Remix)”
Of all the songs on this list, this one might be my favorite.
Mariah Carey – “Honey”
Save “Fantasy” for the dance floor, play this one for your Cocktail Hour. And yes, I’m saving “Always Be Your Baby” for Volume Two.
Mary J. Blige – “Real Love”
D’Angelo – “Cruisin'”
I like this cover by D’Angelo, who experienced the peak of his career in the 90s.
Tamia – “So Into You”
Yes, this is the song Fabolous sampled for the hook for his 2003 hit “Into You”, however it was only for the radio version. The album version had Ashanti singing the hook. #FunFact
Brian McKnight – “Crazy Love'”
Brian McKnight has a great voice, and I like this cover of Van Morrison’s “Crazy in Love”.
Monica – “Angel of Mine”
This is one of those “tweener” songs where I feel it might work for your dinner set, too. So, let’s play it in the middle of the cocktail hour, as the last song of our mini “down-tempo set”.
Toni Braxton – “You’re Makin’ Me High”
Time to build that energy back up for the final portion of the Cocktail Hour and in anticipation of the Grand Entrance.
Aaliyah – “Back & Forth”
Faith Evans – “Love Like This”
Tony! Toni! Toné! – “Feels Good”
It’s definitely a song that works on the dance floor, for the groups that love the early 90s. These days, however, I don’t find myself including it in my dance floor sets as often as I would like. So, nothing wrong with including it on the 90s R&B Cocktail Hour Playlist; remember, it all comes down to setting the right tone and atmosphere for what’s to come.
Boyz II Men – “Motownphilly”
On this list for the same reason as “Feels Good”.
Ghost Town DJs – “My Boo (Hitman’s Club Mix)”
It had a brief dance floor comeback with the viral “Running Man Dance”, but now it’s back on my cocktail list.
INOJ – “Time After Time”
It just blends perfectly with “My Boo”.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my 90s R&B Wedding Cocktail Hour Playlist. Please leave them in the comments below.