What Happened To Blackstreet?
90’s R&B will always be remembered as one of the most loved genres of music. From neo-soul to contemporary, this era has countless singles that are still played till this day. Today we will take a look into the 90’s R&B group Blackstreet. Before we take a look at what Blackstreet is doing today let us take you back to the beginning.
Blackstreet first began in 1991 by producers Thomas Taliaferro, Chauncey Hannibal, and Teddy “Street” Riley in New York, but they didn’t release their first album until 1993. Riley first came up with the idea of a new group after the breakup of Guy, which was another R&B group that Teddy was in previously. At first the group wanted to go by Stonestreet, but decided to combine that and Chauncey’s nickname “Black” together to make Blackstreet. Blackstreet featuring Teddy Riley was the name at first and the lineup was Teddy Riley, Chauncey Hannibal, Levi Little, and Joseph Stonestreet, but Stonestreet was soon replaced by Dave Hollister. This move was made before the first self-titled album was released and they went by Blackstreet.
Their first released single in 1993 was “Baby Be Mine” which was written by Riley and Stonestreet and produced by Riley. This song was released on the soundtrack to CB4, a comedy movie starring Chris Rock. The debut album Blackstreet, featured two hit songs “Booti Call” and “Before I Let You Go” that both landed in the Top 40 hits chart. “Before I Let You Go” actually hit the Top 10. The album sold 2 million records worldwide. After this album, the group changed and Mark Middleton and Eric Williams joined, while Levi Little and Dave Hollister left the group. They both then started their own solo journeys.
Blackstreet released their second album Another Level in 1996. This album featured the top single “No Diggity” featuring Dr.Dre and was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. This single became one of the most iconic songs in this era. Two years later in 1998 they won the Grammy Award for the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Another Level went four times platinum in the United States and also reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts. “No Diggity” made an appearance on the Rolling Stone and MTV: 100 Greatest Pop Songs, coming in at No. 91. Their music was loved worldwide especially in the U.S, the U.K, Australia and New Zealand. Blackstreet had a breakout of success from this album and they made a guest appearance on Jay-Z’s album “The City Is Mine.” Featuring with Mya and Mase the song “Take Me There,” which came out on the Rugrats Soundtrack was another smash hit, but also very underated. They also went on tour with New Edition in 1997 for the Home Again reunion tour.
Blackstreets’ next album Finally, came out in 1999 and was a top ten album. It was in the charts for two weeks. The albums’ first single “Girlfriend/Boyfriend” was with collaboration from Janet Jackson and featured Ja Rule and Eve. But this successful album didn’t quite make it. The group soon broke up because of personal reasons and Finally the album was a failure.
Riley then planned for his first solo record and he also recorded a reunion album with his first group Guy in 2000. Blackstreet soon made peace and brought the old group back together including Hollister and Little. In 2003, the group re-branded and decided to release Level 2 the album, but this reunion wasn’t meant to last. The Another Level lineup was their most successful lineup they had as a group. They failed to keep Blackstreet together, but they all pursued their own solo careers. Teddy Riley started Blackstreet 2 with Dave Hollister, Lenny Harold, Tony Tyler, and J-Stylz, but they didn’t last more than a few years. Chauncey continued the Blackstreet name on his own and toured with Levi Little, Mark Middleton, and Eric Williams. There was some legal action taken between Teddy Riley and Chauncey about who owned the name in 2014. Blackstreet had problems within the group from the beginning. They fought over who didn’t like who and let their solo careers get in the way. Teddy Riley and Chauncey had the most disagreements because Chauncey considers himself the CEO of Blackstreet, while Riley thinks otherwise. Blackstreet with Chauncey is still touring currently and did a European tour in 2019.
Here’s some more of Blackstreet's hit singles:
“Don’t Leave Me”
“Never Gonna Let You Go”
If you had the chance to go see Blackstreet perform live would you? It wouldn’t even be a question for me. Either with the original members or not, the songs will always be hits in my opinion. 90’s R&B will always be remembered.