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Chart Flashback: 1996

November 1996 was all about Clintonisms, ”The English Patient,” and Surge soda. And on the ”Billboard” Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart? No diggity, no doubt

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1. Blackstreet feat. Dr. Dre, ”No Diggity”
This was pretty much the last gasp for new jack swing, but what an exit: a chunky Bill Withers piano loop, harmonies about condom use, and Dre rapping his Ph.D. off about ”eargasms.” Play on, playas. A

2. Ginuwine, ”Pony”
In case you missed the metaphor, this badass, bass-burping Timbaland production is definitely not about equestrianism. A

3. Mint Condition, ”What Kind of Man Would I Be?”
Prince’s reign as the funkiest Minnesotan was never really threatened by Mint Condition — despite the killer guitar solo snuck into this most basic of ballads. C+

4. Keith Sweat feat. Athena Cage, ”Nobody”
Sweat answers the question ”Who’s savvy enough to overcome his somewhat disgusting stage name?” This guy! A-

5. Babyface feat. LL Cool J, Howard Hewett, Jody Watley & Jeffrey Daniels, ”This Is for the Lover in You”
Future CBS prime-time staple LL Cool J disconcertingly demands shower sex for ”at least an hour,” which is both a waste of water and a good way to chafe. C

6. Az Yet, ”Last Night”
It’s a real bummer that the words right after the title are ”I was inside of you.” Way to make LL’s marathon of erotic waterboarding sound downright appealing, Az-holes. C-

7. Dru Hill, ”Tell Me”
Sisqó’s command three years later that ladies bare their uncomfortable undergarments would make him a solo star, but he warmed up with this group ode to providing a personal-shopper level of customer service. B

8. New Edition, ”I’m Still in Love With You”
A big part of the video for this devotion jam features Ricky Bell seducing a woman in a gondola. Was that actually a thing in ’96? And wouldn’t it require a major dose of Dramamine before anything nasty could happen? A-

9. Toni Braxton, ”Un-Break My Heart”
The ultimate chest-pounding triumph for both Braxton and songwriter Diane Warren. Now, Toni, can you please un-make Braxton Family Values? A-

10. Brandy, Tamia, Gladys Knight & Chaka Khan, ”Missing You”
A soggy soul joint that just barely gets by on the strength of the pair of legends involved. To be fair, Knight and Khan aren’t so bad either. B-

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