Things done changed when it comes to R&B. A decade or two ago, you couldn’t go a minute without hearing a group like Destiny’s Child, Next or TLC on the airwaves. In the ’90s, quartets were prevalent, but after the mid-2000s they became a nostalgic memory. With Dru Hill as the special guest at SOB’s for RnB Spotlight (July 27), which paid homage to the 90s, the show served as a reminder of what the game has been missing.
Before they appeared, there was a slew of impressive upcoming acts including R&B groups Gotham Citi, Havok Jones, soloists Chris Jackson, Myra Smith and Patricia Mytime that warmed up the crowd. Keith Murray was even pulled out of the audience to do a brief snippet of his 1994 hit “The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World.”
As soon as the Baltimore brethrens hit the stage, a crowd of already antsy 30-somethings became even more infused with vigor. Though there wasn’t much dancing room, that didn’t stop the foursome dressed in all black from cutting a rug as they recreated choreography from their videos.
After opening up with their ‘96 hit “Tell Me,” Dru went straight into the So-So Def remix of “In My Bed.” When the beat dropped, the group mirrored the crowd’s plethora of energy, with Sisqo hitting an impromptu Nae-Nae dance as they crowd sang and drowned out his vocals.
At one point, a fan chanted “Thong Song! Thong Song!” from the crowd to the once platinum-haired frontman. But the newest member, Tao, wasn’t having it.
“The next nigga that ask for the “Thong Song” is gon’ get it,” he said to the overzealous fan. “Dudes don’t ask for the ‘Thong Song.’ Ladies you ask for the ‘Thong Song!’”
Dru Hill’s vocals were still as rich and smooth as they were on their self-titled debut album almost two decades ago. During the group’s heyday and his solo career, Sisqo was the most eccentric looking one, rocking a slew of vibrant outfits and colored crowns that shuffled from blonde, to platinum and even a red caesar cut. Now, Nokio brandishes the blonde color job with black nail polish and a bizarre-looking microphone decked with a videocam.
Dru Hill’s performance allowed the fans to relive the past and hopefully welcome the future. Singing groups are out there but unfortunately they are not on the forefront. After that performance, Jazz, Nokio, Sisqo and Tao let it be known that any group looking to fill that void left in R&B will have big shoes to fill. —Tanay Hudson