Back when I used to play bars and nightclubs, I would play a ton of 90s R&B to start off the night. In my opinion, no other genre of music set a better atmosphere, mood, and/or 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 the Cocktail Hour at a wedding reception.
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 your guests in mind as you program your 90s R&B Cocktail Hour playlist. I tried my best to keep this cocktail playlist friendly for guests of all ages.
Tony’s 90s R&B Cocktail Hour Drink of Choice: When I think of 90s R&B, I think of smooth beats and rhythms. Therefore, I am looking for a smooth cocktail; so, let’s go with a nice Gin & Juice. Enjoy my selections, and as always, the full Spotify playlist is available at the end!
The 90s R&B Cocktail Hour Playlist, Volume One
Color Me Badd – “All 4 Love” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
As usual, I like to kick my cocktail mixes off with a nice upbeat song, and this C.M.B. song works perfectly.
Hi-Five – “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
Michael Jackson – “Remember The Time” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
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” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
Also not a valid playlist if it doesn’t have one R. Kelly song on it.
Zhané – “Hey Mr. DJ” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
Shanice – “I Love Your Smile” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
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” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
SWV – “Right Here (Human Nature Remix)” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
Of all the songs on this list, this one might be my favorite.
Mariah Carey – “Honey” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
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” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
D’Angelo – “Cruisin'” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
I like this cover by D’Angelo, who experienced the peak of his career in the 90s.
Tamia – “So Into You” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
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'” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
Brian McKnight has a great voice, and I like this cover of Van Morrison’s “Crazy in Love”.
Monica – “Angel of Mine” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
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” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
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” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
Faith Evans – “Love Like This” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
Tony! Toni! Toné! – “Feels Good” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
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” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
On this list for the same reason as “Feels Good”.
Ghost Town DJs – “My Boo (Hitman’s Club Mix)” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
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” | PURCHASE: Amazon MP3
It just blends perfectly with “My Boo”.
The 90s R&B Cocktail Hour Playlist, Volume One
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