Flava In Ya Ear: 15 Of The Best Hip-Hop And R&B Remixes From The ’90s
Remember back in the day when folks lived for a remix? Original tracks were cool, but if you could get Missy to make an appearance, or Diddy or even Timbaland to flip around a beat for you, a remix could surpass its original. The ’90s, in my opinion, provided folks with some of the best remixes, often versions that sounded so far from the original that you would have thought they were completely new tracks. Here are a few of our favorites from the fabulous time for music.
Mariah Carey feat. Jadakiss, Mase and Puff Daddy – “Honey (Remix)”
The original is a classic, but who doesn’t love anything with Mase and Puffy on it in the ’90s? Diddy says that he invented the remix (he didn’t though), so it’s only right we kick off this list with him and one of our favorite divas. “Mariah, you’re on fire!”
Craig Mack, Notorious BIG, LL Cool J, Rampage, Busta Rhymes – “Flava In Ya Ear Remix”
“Baaaaaaaaaad Boy, come out and plaaaaaaay!” The original was cool, but talk about a sick lineup! Some of the greats graced this remix with their presence, including a very hungry Busta Rhymes. Yeah, we miss the old, young, dreadlocked-up-with-a-side-of-crazy Bussa Buss.
Dru Hill feat. Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat – “Sleeping In My Bed (So So Def Remix)”
This is an example of a remix that sounds totally different from its original. But we loved it! From the infectious uptempo beat to the dance routine in the video, and of course, Da Brat’s fabulous tomboyish self (“My life ain’t complete if I ain’t got no buzz, and can’t nobody do it like we does”), it was a winner all-around.
Brandy feat. MC Lyte, Yo-Yo and Queen Latifah – “I Wanna Be Down Remix”
I can jam to the original “I Wanna Be Down” like it’s nothing, but while there was something teenage love-ish about it, the remix was…well, harcore per se. The way the women rapped on it, and Brandy’s vocal capabilities that young? Crazy!
Jodeci – “Come And Talk To Me Remix”
I’m not a big fan of the moaning at the end (If I play the track out loud, I have to cut it off right before that part), but as a whole, an already sexy song became all the more grind-worthy with a remix that featured more of DeVante tingling the keys and K-Ci serenading the ladies.
Horace Brown feat. Jay Z – “Things We Do For Love Remix”
Brown had a couple of hits for a short time (including “Taste Your Love”), but he is best known by many for “Things We Do For Love.” When I tried to play the original on MN’s Facebook, you all were begging for the remix, which I surprisingly hadn’t heard. But now that I have, I can understand the preference. Jay just had that effect on tracks in the ’90s.
Destiny’s Child feat. Wyclef Jean – “No No No Part II”
Don’t front. How many times have you actually listened or paid attention to the original? It’s much slower and just wasn’t the right song to introduce Destiny’s Child to the world with. But the remix? Yes, please! Kudos to Wyclef for jumping on the remix to help make it a banger. He was actually one of the producers of the original (along with Tamar’s man, Vince Herbert).
Mary J Blige feat. Kid Capri – “Love No Limit Remix”
Mary has had quite a few remixes, but I actually appreciated this one, which was vastly different from the original (which is still one of my favorite songs ever). The remix features Kid Capri and an ever-changing beat, and still is the jam.
D’angelo feat. AZ – “Lady Remix”
Nothing can touch the original “Lady,” but the remix with AZ (where is he by the way?) and the video featuring Erykah Badu, Faith Evans and Joi were gifts to the eyes and ears. It was s*xy without having to be too sexual (modern-day R&B artists, take note!).
New Edition feat. Missy Elliott and Puff Daddy – “You Don’t Have To Worry Remix”
Was I the only one thrilled by that comeback New Edition made in the ’90s? From their album Home Again came the track “You Don’t Have To Worry,” and the remix was my jam. It came with an early feature from Missy Elliott before her Supa Dupa Fly days, and Diddy–or Puffy, of course.
SWV – “Right Here (Human Nature Mix)”
When you mess with MJ, you might not always get the reaction you want, but SWV’s “Human Nature” remix to “Right Here” was a huge hit with folks, and still is.
Janet Jackson feat. Blackstreet – “I Get So Lonely Remix”
Sorry, but the original pales in comparison (and can come off a little boring at times). Janet needed a strong verse to go alongside her super soft vocal abilities. Chauncey of Blackstreet provided just that in the remix (as did the vocals of the rest of the group on the chorus–and Teddy with his electronic ad-libs).
112 feat. Notorious BIG and Mase – “Only You Remix”
As I said before, ’90s Mase just made everything better…and you can’t go wrong with BIG. And of course, Puff was in the video Diddy-bopping just because he could.
Notorious BIG – “One More Chance/Hip Hop Remix”
Did you know that the jam you hear on the radio is actually the remix and not the original (that’s the “Stay With Me” remix)? Interesting, right? Well, the remix I’ve attached is a personal favorite of mine. I don’t know where I first heard it, but the beat just brings me so much joy (and I do believe I’m hearing Total singing in the background). It’s a hidden gem of a remix.
Aaliyah – “Hot Like Fire Remix”
In comparison to the super slow but dope original from the One in a Million album, this remix of “Hot Like Fire” is a complete 180. It was meant for the dance floor (or for the jeeps, strictly for the jeeps) and definitely was hot like fire (with the help of Missy and Timbaland).