Dru Hill

20 Years Later: A Definitive Ranking Of Dru Hill's Soulful Debut Album

 In celebration of the album’s 20th anniversary, we’ve ranked the tracks, keeping in love, soul and flow in mind.

The Soul Train stage shined brightly in November 1996 as new acts like Aaliyah, Soul For Real and Ginuwine performed their pre-recorded jams for zealots of rhythm and blues. Their singles helped curate the silky smooth blueprint of R&B that would later be fawned over for years to come. There’s plenty of other mainstays that helped defined the genre at the time (thank you kindly Teddy Riley, Babyface, Jodeci and Mary J. Blige), but four young men from Baltimore, MD., demanded our attention. Lead by a teen in an orange shirtless get-up and blonde tresses, their performance of "Tell Me" raised curiosities on what they were all about.

The quartet known as Dru Hill might have had a similar come up as New Edition (gospel singers tempted by the chords of secular sounds) founder Tamir "Nokio" Ruffin with Mark "Sisqó" Andrews, Larry "Jazz" Anthony, and James "Woody Rock" Green knew they had voices, but unlike their peers, they were true creatives. Before leaping into the spotlight, the teens used their gigs as fudge sales boys to flip lyrics about the delicious treats into serenading ballads. “Dude, selling fudge is not the coolest thing in the world,” Sisqo told Rolling Stone in 2014. “If you could make that cool, and we did, it was the first lesson in show business. If you could actually sing to a girl while selling fudge in an all-white uniform, that was a challenge.” Nokio’s urge for the group to take control of their sound would be heard on their self-titled album, Dru Hill. Unlike the rest of the millions of black teens growing up in America, the guys were forming their stance on love, sex and relationships on wax. Unbeknownst to them, their ideas would frame fantasies of love we’ve never knew existed.

“Even though we didn’t understand totally when we first started, people made sure we became marquee artists and they gave us lifetime records,” Nokio told The Source in April. “Nowadays, you kind of just go in the studio, make a record and it’s whatever, spend a bunch of money to make people think it’s good when don’t nobody know what the f**k you talking about. But, we’re the last part of the generation where it’s about the artist that made careers for everybody else; artist development, the right records, putting us with the right producers who would teach us a lesson, we’re the last of it.” Whether it was hindsight or only ungratified creative goals, the group went on to produce the highly successful sophomore LP Enter The Dru, but internal conflicts and label switches crashed the innocent waves created on Dru Hill.

“Do You Believe in Love?” questions the rules of the feels with a reminder that “there ain't no guarantees in love,” making the quest that much rewarding. There were also the top-selling singles like “Tell Me,” “Five Steps” and “In My Bed,” that flooded Quiet Storm segments and your high school dances. “Whatever You Want” taught us about the importance of consent, while “Never Make A Promise” gave us hope that prince charming was real.

In celebration of the album’s 20th anniversary, we’ve ranked the tracks, keeping in love, soul and flow in mind. Check it out below.

14. “Nothing to Prove”

The group keeps it real on the second track of the album, defining their outlook on love. Jazz and Woody trade lines about their devotion to their ladies, giving them anything and everything they desire. "Girl I ain't got nothing to prove I ain't got nothing to lose I'm just a man that's sooo in love with you," the boys sing. It's later presented that their love is for an older woman they believe is ashamed of her feelings towards a younger cat. "I say they must be crazy, Can't you make up your mind, and if I'm too young lady, Then I won't waste your time." Jazz sings. The pledge is admirable and the resistance mirrors Millie Jackson's "Young Man, Older Woman" and would go on fuel future R&B/hip-hop jams like Chris Brown's debut single "Run It."

13. “Anthem”

R&B intros varied in the 90's, but still kept hip-hop's influence prevalent. It did a solid to the genre as the two would go hand and hand to create "the remix," an art form that deserves more praise. Dru Hill's "Anthem" doesn't bring much to the album, but it's clear they didn't want to take the clichè acapella route.

12. "Do You Believe?" 

"Do you believe... like I believe in love?" is a question that arises many different answers the fellas answer on the lighthearted track. Noting that there are no guarantees in love, the guys make the best of the moment by realizing their mistakes could lead to a love they'll regret losing. Produced by Tim Dawg and Terence Dudley, the track gives feels like filler, as the singers dive deeper into love, loss and happiness on the rest of the project.

11. "In My Bed" 

Sisqo hoped his instincts were wrong on "In My Bed," but on the follow-up single to "Tell Me," the singer discovers his lady has made plans with another man. His expressive vocals and gentle climatic approach to the track almost makes you think the same thing is happening to you--even if you didn't have a significant other. "Now if you truly love me (alright), Then this would not be happening," he belts at the song's end. It's an overlooked gem on the platinum selling single, but posed truth in the inner workings of heartbreak.

10. "So Special"

"So Special" is one of the most romantic songs on the album, with lyrics emulating the sights and sounds that equate to a powerful love. It also holds elements of Jodeci, an apparent source of influence. It's a thought that's difficult to ignore between crooning adlibs and trade off of lyrics between Woody and Sisqo.

9. "Love's Train" 

The boys may have had a strong gospel background, but the group's remake of Con Fun Shun/Project Soul's "Love's Train" places their ability to bring back the funk in a high regard. Produced by Keith Sweat and Allen Smith, the track focuses on the burning coal of love that keeps the love train going. "Sometimes heart strings can be broken, But you've just got to keep on going, That's the way it goes on love's train." Noted fellas.

8. "Whatever U Want" 

Another upbeat track among the ballads, "Whatever U Need" focuses on lust, rather than the group's deep fixation for love. The playful track showcases their harmonies and provides a look into their future sounds as Saeida Hall provides a quick 16 on her demands for a man who doesn't play games. The group would go on to work with other hip-hop acts like Da Brat, DMX and Method Man.

7. "Share My World"

Professing his undying love for a certain someone, "Share My World" is a testimony to the lovers out there who are ready to jump the broom. Co-produced by Nokio, it's clear the group wanted to cater to those who appreciate the ups and downs of love and what many hope for in the end--marriage. Ironically, the song was sampled over a decade later by PartyNextDoor for his track "SLS," a track about Party's spiritual bond with a stripper.

6. "Satisfied"

Turning up the heat, "Satisfied" brings forth the slow grind, candles and the group's underlying sex appeal. Leaving a sensual voicemail for "Indi," pleas for gentle touches and kisses are heard loud and clear. With high notes and a clear calling to please each other, the track leaves it all--including your clothes--on the floor.

5. "Tell Me" 

Serving as an introduction to the world, "Tell Me" was the anthem for those who are just as skilled in linguistics as they are in the bedroom. Like "Satisfied," it's also one of the few tracks that were a clear testament to the act of sex. Between the lines, it also reminds us all that communication is essential in every part of a relationship. Visuals for the single also gave us the group's signature choreography. From the high jumps to the lip biting, Jazz, Sisqo, Woody and Nokio were NOT playing around with your heart.

4. "All Alone"

The fellas sing of hope and refuse to rely on faith for the somber "All Alone." After a relationship goes awry, it's hard for the men to ignore their feelings. Belting out a promise to cry it out lets the listener know that men shouldn't be afraid of the tears or feel a heartbreak just as much as their partner.

3. "April Showers"

Penned by Woody for a girlfriend as a gift, "April Showers" helps embody the group's outlook on love. Promising to give his all, the singer dedicates his time and love to someone other than himself. It's an act of bravery that was barely analyzed in popular hip-hop back then, but that didn't stop the group from pushing it to the frontlines.

2. "Never Make A Promise"

A love letter of loyalty and support, "Never Make A Promise" is an ode to those who have moved on from puppy love. "You told me what you wanted, I gave you what you need, I told you that I love you, Make it good for you and me," the guys testify on the chorus. These aren't empty promises and dreams as powerful vocals by the group shine through both verses. The visuals for the video takes things to a different level, making them heroes of love and devotion.

1. "5 Steps"

"Five Steps" serves as the best track on the album due to its ability to bridge Dru Hill's gospel, soul and R&B influences. With effortless harmonizing from all members, the track is something special as its interpretations resonate as heartbreak, loss and grief to listeners. It's lyrics, tearful and promising, provide the guys with a perfect ballad R&B dreams are made of. The group would go on to create tracks like "Beauty," and "I Love You," but nothing could compare to "5 Steps" in their entire discography. If Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Tha Crossroads" is the gospel for rap lovers, "5 Steps" not only brings us closer to the core of R&B but closer to love.

Editor's Note: The So So Def remix of  "In My Bed" featuring Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat was purposely left off this ranking.

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Issa Vibe: The Best Songs To Fit Your Different 4/20 Sessions

April 20th isn’t a national holiday, but it might as well be.

Although recreational marijuana use is only legal in 10 states, the U.S. is home to approximately 35 million regular users of cannabis, according to a survey done by Yahoo News and Marist University. That's 10.6 percent of the American population and while that may seem minuscule, the numbers are growing daily and it's understandable.

Weed has now become a staple of American culture; it's become a legitimate business in the states where it's legal, it's now part of the way people socialize, and better yet it's a theme in some of the hottest music out today. "Kush" has been included in some of the hardest verses that millennials and generation-z kids have heard in their lifetime.

Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, amazing emcees in their own right, are also widely known for their love of the green plant. Wiz's biggest album, Rolling Papers is clearly influenced by weed and along with the Snoop Dogg-assisted "Young, Wild & Free" is all about that green positivity.

There's an endless list of hits about rolling up a joint, hitting it and passing it, but what about moods? Whether it's a bowl, a blunt or an edible weed, can leave people feeling a variety of ways and that all can be traced to a certain strand of weed someone's inhaling, or the mood they're already.

Regardless, it's important to be prepared and have music ready to match whatever feelings marijuana concocts; and that's why VIBE compiled an adequate list of songs for each of the main pot moods.

So on this 4/20, sit back, relax, smoke and find the songs that suit the vibe.


The "Let Me Chill Out" Mood 

Sometimes the best way to come down from an over the top high is to play some tunes with a soft beat and a light voice. The best artists in the game right now, like Jhené Aiko for instance, have created that sound that's perfect for when relaxation is needed, so of course, she made the list.  These are the top four songs that can help anyone kick back and relax if a pull from a joint just isn't hitting the right way.

"Blue Dream" by Jhené Aiko "Muse" by Afro Nostalgia "Summer Games" by Drake "LOVE." by Kendrick Lamar (feat. Zacari) The Bad B*tch Hours or "Top Two and I'm Not Two" Mood 

You look around the room and realize: you're top two and you're not two in it. All it took was one or a couple of puffs and then a pass to make you feel pretty good about yourself. One of the main upsides to smoking that's constantly mentioned in the media is that it can help alleviate chronic pain, well, another positive to it is that it can leave you feeling sexy, sensual and everything in between.

This is that high that can make you feel that you're significant other is lucky to have you, and subsequently makes you hit them up, that tells you: you're single and ready to mingle. It's a smoking session that lets you know: if you shoot your shot now, you'll score and it's a session that you want music playing that only affirms how sultry and seductive you feel. If this is how 4/20 leaves you feeling, putting on some RiRi or even Young Thug can effectively get you 'in your bag.'

"Same Ol' Mistakes" by Rihanna "Tyrant" by Kali Uchis (feat. Jorja Smith) "Worth It" by Young Thug "Smoke Break" by Chance the Rapper (feat. Future) The "Head in the Clouds" Mood 

More often than not, edibles have the power of leaving people spaced out and speaking slowly, after consuming them. Sometimes smoking weed, or hotboxing with friends is a silent event. Either everyone's consumed by their phones, or every other person has been looking at a nonexistent spot on the wall for the past 15 minutes.

Regardless this isn't the high where people want to hear "Act Up" by City Girls, no matter how much they love them. No, this is the high where people need music that takes them on a journey. Songs where the production is out of this world and it seems like the artist specifically made the song for a smoke session like no other. Travis Scott's ASTROWORLD is full of tracks with that vibe, and Lil' Wayne, a weed connoisseur of his own, has songs that fulfill that need too. Smoke a bit and let the weed do its thing.

"ASTROTHUNDER" by Travis Scott "I Feel Like Dying" by Lil' Wayne "Hyyer" by Kid Cudi "St. Tropez" by J. Cole The "Got the Giggles" Mood 

This is when the blunt hits perfectly and there's nothing wrong in the world or when the bowl did its' job and leaves everyone feeling silly. A "feel good high" is the best way to describe and the best way to live through that kind of smoke session is to listen to some "feel good music." These are the songs that can have people swaying unknowingly to its' beat, or the tracks that leave people smiling from ear to ear. This is the session that lets people know that "this is it chief," and here are the best songs to go along with it.

"Pass the Vibes" by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment "Dreamcatcher" by Metro Boomin' (feat. Swae Lee & Travis Scott) "It's a Vibe" by 2 Chainz (feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko) "Binz" by Solange
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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Beyoncé performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California.
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Homecoming: The 5 Best Moments Of Beyoncé’s Documentary

Once Beyoncé became the first African-American woman to headline in its nearly 20-year history, we knew Coachella would never the same. To mark the superstar’s historic moment, the 2018 music and arts festival was appropriately dubbed #Beychella and fans went into a frenzy on social media as her illustrious performance was live-streamed by thousands. (Remember when fans recreated her choreographed number to O.T. Genasis’ “Everybody Mad”?)

With a legion of dancers, singers and musicians adorned with gorgeous costumes showcasing custom-made crests, the singer’s whirlwind performance honored black Greek letter organizations, Egyptian queen Nefertiti, and paid homage to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Aside from the essence of black musical subgenres like Houston’s chopped and screwed and Washington D.C.’s go-go music, the entertainer performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as “The Black National Anthem,” and implemented a dancehall number, sampling the legendary Jamaican DJ and singer, Sister Nancy, to show off the versatility of black culture.

One year after #Beychella’s historic set, the insightful concert film, Homecoming, began streaming on Netflix and unveiled the rigorous months of planning that went into the iconic event. The 2-hour 17-minute documentary highlights Beyoncé’s enviable work ethic and dedication to her craft, proving why this performance will be cemented in popular culture forever. Here are the best moments from Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary.

The Intentional Blackness

“Instead of me bringing out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.”

Throughout the documentary, Beyoncé made it known that everything and everyone included in the creative process leading up to the annual festival was deliberately chosen. “I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid,” says Beyoncé. “Every tiny detail had an intention.” When speaking on black people as a collective the entertainer notes, “The swag is limitless.” Perhaps the most beautiful moments in Homecoming are the shots that focus on the uniqueness of black hair and its versatility. What’s appreciated above all is the singer’s commitment to celebrating the various facets of blackness and detailing why black culture needs to be celebrated on a global scale.

Beyoncé’s Love And Respect For HBCUs

#Beychella — which spanned two consecutive weekends of Coachella’s annual festival — was inspired by elements of HBCU homecomings, so it was no surprise when the singer revealed she always wanted to attend one. “I grew up in Houston, Texas visiting Prairie View. We rehearsed at TSU [Texas Southern University] for many years in Third Ward, and I always dreamed of going to an HBCU. My college was Destiny's Child. My college was traveling around the world and life was my teacher.” Brief vignettes in the film showcased marching bands, drumlines and the majorettes from notable HBCUs that comprise of the black homecoming experience. In the concert flick, one of the dancers affectionately states, “Homecoming for an HBCU is the Super Bowl. It is the Coachella.” However, beyond the outfits that sport a direct resemblance to Greek organizations, Beyoncé communicated an important message that remains a focal point in the film: “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

The Familiar Faces

Despite being joined by hundreds of dancers, musicians and singers on-stage, the entertainer was joined by some familiar faces to share the monumental moment with her. While making a minor appearance in the documentary, her husband and rapper/mogul Jay-Z came out to perform “Deja Vu” with his wife. Next, fans were blessed by the best trio to ever do it as Kelly and Michelle joined the singer with renditions of their hit singles including “Say My Name,” “Soldier,” and more. On top of this star-studded list, Solange Knowles graced the “Beychella” stage and playfully danced with her older sister to the infectious “Get Me Bodied.”

Her Balance Of Being A Mother And A Star

Originally slated to headline the annual festival in 2017, the singer notes that she “got pregnant unexpectedly...and it ended up being twins.” Suffering from preeclampsia, high blood pressure, toxemia and undergoing an emergency C-section, the entertainer candidly details how difficult it was adjusting post-partum and how she had to reconnect with her body after experiencing a traumatizing delivery. “In the beginning, it was so many muscle spasms. Just, internally, my body was not connected. My body was not there.” Rehearsing for a total of 8 months, the singer sacrificed quality time with her children in order to nail the technical elements that came with the preparation for her Coachella set. “I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol … and I’m hungry.” Somehow, throughout all of this, she still had to be a mom. “My mind wanted to be with my children,” she says. Perhaps one of the most admirable moments in the film was witnessing Beyoncé’s dedication to her family but also to her craft.

The Wise Words From Black Visionaries

Homecoming opens with a quote from the late, Maya Angelou stating, “If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.” The film includes rich and prophetic quotes from the likes of Alice Walker, Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, and notable Black thinkers, reaffirming Beyoncé’s decision to highlight black culture. The quotes speak to her womanhood and the entertainer’s undeniable strength as a black woman.

Blue Ivy’s Cuteness

Last, but certainly not least, Blue Ivy‘s appearance in the concert film is nothing short of precious. One of the special moments in the documentary zeroes in on the 7-year-old singing to a group of people whilst Beyoncé sweetly feeds the lyrics into her ears. After finishing, Blue says: “I wanna do that again” with Beyoncé replying with “You wanna be like mommy, huh?” Seen throughout Homecoming rehearsing and mirroring Beyoncé’s moves, Blue just might follow in her mother’s footsteps as she gets older.

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