At a time where male R&B groups are a rare find, it’s almost mandatory for us to journey back and celebrate those that helped redefine the genre and put it on the global map. This week’s From The Vault pick is the wholly-heartfelt ‘Don’t Leave Me’ by Blackstreet.
Produced by ever-talented band member Teddy Riley, ‘Leave’ was released as the second single from the band’s 1997 LP ‘Another Level’ and was built around a sample of 1983’s ‘A Dream’ from Motown family band DeBarge.
Interestingly, the release never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 due to a technicality but was a huge hit overseas including the UK where it charted at #6 and #1 in New Zealand.
For the Michael Martin directed music video, the band served a “90s-boyband” masterclass, complete with lyrics-explanative dance moves and questionable CGI. Granted the visual looks like it’s been commissioned by the Cheese Factory (see: that polaroid tower), it still manages to capture the passion of the song.
Long gone seems the time where the Blackstreets, Jodecis and Dru Hills of this world were ruling the mainstream charts. Hopefully the coming year and years will see a resurgence of R&B boybands to shake things up; indeed with the genre making a comeback as of late, the time is ripe for a new slew of males ensembles to step up to the plate.
To the 1990’s male R&B groups, we salute you! We thank you!
Random Fact: Yes, this is the same sample used on Tupac’s posthumous hit ‘I Ain’t Mad At Cha’, which has also been interpolated by newcomers Fifth Harmony on their song ‘We Know’. Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul Mary J. Blige covered the original song in 1997.