“What Was I Listening To?!” Music That Just Didn’t Hold Up Over The Years

September 23, 2013  |  
1 of 10

We always laud the ’90’s and early 2000s as a time for great music. When we turn on the radio today, we realize they just don’t do it like they used to. And that’s true, that decade and the first few years of the new millennium provided us with some great music. And though there were songs and groups we used to swear by back in the day, if we listen again, we’ll realize that these songs just don’t do it for us these days. I have a theory that because the ’90’s was full of real vocalists, we didn’t mind the balance of musicians who had subpar vocals but made up for it in star quality. Here are the artists we really thought had something, only to listen now and realize they just don’t do it for us anymore.



Back in the day, Bad Boy’s girl group Total had hits. Kima, Keisha and Pam sang backup or were featured on tracks for some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. With songs like “Can’t You See,” “Trippin,” “What About Us” and my personal favorite, “Kissin’ You,” you would think that vocally these ladies had it together. But sometimes all it takes is a moment away from the hype and limelight to realize that perhaps Total didn’t have it all together like we thought they did.  Don’t believe me? Take a listen to the group performing “Can’t You See” off key at the notorious Apollo.




“Boom like an 808.” When I tell you I used to listen to Blaque’s CD every morning before school in middle school. Every.day. It was just the boost I needed to get my school day started. So imagine my excitement when I discovered one of my favorite CDs in my room at my parent’s house. I popped it into my laptop and I probably skipped every song. It just didn’t move me like it once did. In fact, their voices sounded weak and the only parts I really enjoyed were Natina’s verses. It just didn’t have the same effect and eventually I had to admit that Blaque was one of those period groups.


B2K is hot…or was. I’m not going to lie, I bumped their CD. (Baby, turn around and let me see that sexay body go bump, bump, bump.) I loved “Why I Love You.” I even went to one of the Scream Tours. Honestly, I was so excited that night I don’t remember what the hell happened, I just know I loved it. But the other day, feeling nostalgic, I tried to listen to some of my favorite B2K joints and everything sounded like…whining. J Boog’s voiceovers got on my nerves and the verses made me laugh.

Jagged Edge

I know some of ya’ll are going to come at my head for this one but Jagged Edge only has just a few songs I can actually stand to listen to today. When I listen to their music, everything sounds slow and boring. Aside from their songs “Let’s Get Married (the Remix),” “Where The Party At?” and “Cut Somethin,'” I can’t think of another fast-paced Jagged Edge song. I didn’t realize it at the time but they were clearly the emo R&B group. Even their love songs (i.e. “Walked Outta Heaven”) sound something like funeral music. Everything is so monotone.


Who woulda thought you could make a whole career out saying the word “baby” over and over and over. I’m not even here to completely piss on Ashanti’s career, she had a great run. I even burned her CD and loved the song “Leaving (Always On Time)” also known as “Make It Back Around” I have vivid memories of walking to the school bus listening to that song, pretending like I was in a music video. You couldn’t tell me nothing. I still enjoy that song to this day. But when I think about Ashanti’s catalog, it’s clear that homegirl just didn’t have enough to last. No matter what the New York Times claimed back in 2003. 


In early 2000s you couldn’t turn the radio on without hearing a J-Lo song. She had all the hottest rappers on her remixes. She had me doing a severe head bop to her song “Get Right.” But Jamie Foxx certainly wasn’t the first person to note that J Lo didn’t have much to offer vocally. Today listening to J-Lo’s most popular songs, it’s clear that she has a puff, cotton candy voice. It’s whispy at best. I’d much rather see her dance or even act, (Enough is my movie.), anything but sing.

Spice Girls

God bless my daddy for taking my sister and I to see The Spice Girls movie back when we were in elementary school. He tried to put up a good front, but it was clear by him immediately reclining and falling asleep that he couldn’t have been less interested in seeing the movie or listening to these five British women sing…anything. At the time I just thought he was old and out of touch. But just last week, my sister played “Too Much” and I was appalled at just how bad it was. In elementary school that was the song I would reference in arguing about the Spice Girls’ vocal abilities. But today, it’s just subpar.


Like Total, 702 was nothing to snuff at. “Where My Girls At” was practically an anthem and I still walk around singing “Steelo” but other than that, 702’s catalog is a bit sparse as far as hits go. They tried to resurface again, with the help of Pharrell, for the song “I Still Love You.” It worked. That song is bomb but aside from that listening to all of your favorite 702 songs will take about 20 minutes.


Honestly, it hurts me to say this. But I have to keep it real. Mya’s baby voice make her songs sound like a teenage girl is supposed to be singing and listening to them. Mya was kind of on some petty stuff back in the day. If a man did her dirty, she was quick to detail the shallow and juvenile ways she planned to get back at him. In high school, Moodring stayed in my CD changer. But when I try to listen to the album today, I find myself skipping songs that used to be my favorite. “Anatomy 1-On-1″  is still everything though.

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Chels Kae

    Umm yeah.. I still bump Spice Girls, on a regular basis. Have you listened to “2 Becomes 1”?. That song will never get old..

  • Nathalie Jürgen

    b2k for life

  • sarahnicolejane

    Sooooooo reading this list, I realized the writer is not old enough to write about songs in the 90s. Moodring was Mya’s last relevant album and it wasn’t even that relevant. Were you in elementary school when “It’s all about me” came out? Jagged edge can’t be mentioned without talking about the song that put them on the map: Gotta be. Speaking of 90s music- how can you even have this list without mentioning Shai, Troop, Jade…I never comment but somebody who was above 10 yrs old in the 90s needs to rewrite this list. No offense, but this list was offensive to the adults who actually were of age in the 90s. #justsayin And I’m not trying to be brutal like some of the other commentators…This is just a fact. Perhaps they could be nicer about stating it, but you aren’t qualified to write this list. The topic was very interesting though.

    • Guest

      Now that is the truth!!

    • Tiffani Keaton

      Have to agree with you…I saw Jagged Edge last year in cleveland and they vocals is ON POINT..

  • Staph

    R&B is a hard genre to succeed in, it is bundled with Hip Hop. Not only do R&B singers have to compete with other R&B singers for top spots but against rappers too! This list is erroneous on so many levels, especially the Jagged Edge entry — the radio played their music last weekend and it still sounded better than 99% of all current male singers. They didn’t need to constantly talk about sex to slang CD’s. They actually talked about grown man issues but I digress….

  • CBD

    I still listen to Total, Jagged Edge, Ashanti, 702 and Mya, they can be currently found on my mp3 player as of now. J.E. Heartbreak is still a banger to this day. This list is so wrong, if I think about the current music acts, they are not known for vocals, including Beyonce, very few like Emeli Sande, Jill Scott, Fantasia, Adele, etc are vocalist. The current music will not hold the test of time, very few I will be listening to even a month, year or 5 years from now.

  • It’s Me!

    I was with you until you got to Jagged Edge. You probably only remember the slow songs because they sound soo damn good singing them, but they had PLENTY of banging uptempo songs! Even my 8 year old daughter loves their music and she wasn’t even around in their hey-day…give them credit.

  • danx3

    ashanti never bleached her skin or wore dry blonde wigs….. maybe thats why she never really took off

  • Chas

    I’m so glad i’m not the only person who cannot listen to Jagged Edge

  • bluekissess

    Based on these comments MN “done shook the table” ( in my kitchen Michelle voice) with jagged edge. Smh that’s one group I can listen to.

  • Missme

    I guess I’m the only one who thought Jagged Edge were subpar at best, but I’m in the era of the early 90s with Boys II Men and Jodeci so…

  • bigdede

    Don’t understand this list. Jagged Edge from real? Also you included 702? Those girls can sing and I still listen to them. Now even back then in the 90’s everyone said JLo couldn’t sing, that Ashanti wasn’t a great vocalist and said Baby too much. No one thought B2K were great singers. Total never had great vocals, just like Spice Girls, only one of the members could actually sing. This is nothing new. People were saying this back in the 90’s. Now Blaque was good. Bring it on to me was a great song.

  • chocolatcupcake

    Spice Girls were tight! Fall back, Miss Alize…

  • Nicki

    Total sound awful! You all are so wrong for pulling that out the crates! Ha that should have stayed buried. I can’t stop laughing. Sometimes you all are as evil as media takeout! LOL

  • JTerry

    The fact that Jagged Edge is on this list takes away all credibility of the rest of it for me.

  • Candace La’Chelle Johnson

    All of jagged edge music started to sound the same after a while like walked outta heaven good luck charm etc it sounded repetitive

  • You done lost it. Mya’s Moodring is STILL a banger and relevant. I revived that album 2 years ago and was impressed that it could help boost my self-confidence.

  • Uhh

    Every group/singer you listed made better songs than anything out right now and I don’t really like J Lo and Ashanti.

    • Mia

      Cosign! Every word

  • mnvm

    Who ever wrote this list was wayyyyyy off

  • Aaliyah Noelle

    wish i could slap the author for saying that stuff about jagged edge! so many babies was made to their music.

    • Mia

      And those babies are now those crazy az teens we all hate, so maybe JE does belong on the list!

      • YesIdid

        LOOOOLL *Dead*

  • A_Tay

    Lol this list is everything! Anatomy 1 on 1 is the only song I still listen to on that Mya album! I used to love Ashanti but cant get into her new music. I also have to admit that I used to drool over J Boog but B2K doesnt have the same affect it used to. I know its not right but thats the reason I cant take Omarion serious with MMG today. And I Still Love You is the only 702 song I still listen to. I was 14 when that first Beyonce CD came out, I didnt appreciate the music on there then like I do now

  • Lala

    I disagree with most of this list. It’s the songs of today that won’t stand the test of time. Anytime I hear most of the songs on this list I feel nostalgic. There is nothing like a good throwback.

  • IllyPhilly

    I still rock out to all these folks.

  • enlightenment

    I agree that Ashanti’s “baby” song is not that great, but I got a soft-spot for the girl. I loved Ashanti—even with her so-so vocals. And everyone else on the list made some bumpin’ tracks too. Yes MN, none of them could sustain their careers for one reason or another—but ALL good things must come to an end right?

    • LadiesNight

      “Baby” is one of Ashanti’s BEST songs. I rather listen to Ashanti than Beyonce any day.

      • nolimit_soldier

        I’m a dude and I agree

  • SouthernBelle

    The only person who belong on this list is J.Lo. I can’t get over how your parents named you
    “Renay Alize”. You need to make a top 10 list of why your parents named you that ghetto name “Renay Alize”. What kind of name is “Renay Alize”??You’re indeed a hoodrat.

    • enlightenment

      Lmao. That’s mean, but I laughed. I’m going to hell. *shrug*

    • KandisWig


    • Renay Alize

      Don’t fret it’s a pseudonym.

      • LaLaWorld

        @renayalize:disqus stfu,hoodrat. learn how to spell while you’re at it,project rat.

      • Ms_Sunshine9898

        her comment was helluv funny but pay it no mind, your list was fine lol

  • mdoubs

    Who said R&B songs had to be fast?? JE does not belong on that list!!! I still listen to their music today! they are still better that some of the non sense artists we have to listen to nowadays. urgh…!

  • Lilly

    Jagged Edge? Come on! They are soooo talented. In my opinion, the vocals, lyrics and production (all done by the group themselves) are top notch. As far as fast paced songs go: The Way That You Talk, Lace You, Keys to the Range, I Got It, Tryna Be Your Man, So Amazing and Baby. And even though many songs are slow in tempo, they aren’t necessarily sad: I Gotta Be, What You Tryin’ to Do, Good Luck Charm, Without You, Visions, In Private, Get This, Hopefully. Obviously, I’m still a super fan.

    • mdoubs

      Lilly I am with you 100%!!! JE is an R&B group not a POP, RAP, ROCK group!!! MN messed up this one. smh…

    • Yeah Renay wrong for Jagged Edge. Everyone else I agree with.

    • Mia

      Loool, I played all those songs tah death!