Summer of ’96 – My Soundtrack

Ah, the Summer of 1996. The Chicago Bulls returned to NBA glory by winning their 4th championship after going 72-10 in the regular season. Independence Day was blowing up box-office records. And pre-teen me may have set a personal record by watching way too much MTV and eating too much Doritos in one day. Hey, that was when MTV was still great and not the waste of try-hard bungwipe that it is today, and Doritos was one of my favorite food groups as a kid. But talk about a time for music–for pop and R&B in particular. Who knew that the songs I overplayed on my cassette player that summer of ’96 would define what could arguably be the last golden era of pop and R&B?

I used to watch a lot of MTV Jams back then, and I don’t recall one day when this video did not air. That’s how hot this track was.

By the way, I recently discovered another song with the same sample LL used for the “Loungin'” remix. Though it ended up flopping (it supposedly had the misfortune to be released right after LL’s song), it’s certainly not a flop in my house! I actually like that version too.

Look, kids–that’s how hot women in music werked it in the 90s. No overinflated keesters, trout pouts, clown makeup, and basic twerking. (I am aware of the many wigs Toni went through in this video, by the way.) Just pure sensuality in a saucy song that is sadly absent in music these days.

SWV may have been my girl group that summer. This slow jam and “You’re The One” were played often.

Confession: I used to do some singing as a kid. Nothing professional–just choirs and some musical numbers in school plays. Whenever this got played, I belted it out like I was trying to get five stars on Star Search. I can’t sing for shit these days, so I’m kind of amazed over how I was able to sing this (or any song) then.

Also, I’m aware that this song came out in 1995, but I bought the single in ’96, so its placement on this list counts.

The Waiting To Exhale soundtrack remains legendary to this day. You couldn’t call yourself a R&B fiend then and not own that soundtrack. I was such a Brandy fan, and the song is not just a memorable bop, but homegirl had style in that video!

Also, and I’m gonna say it, but I’m glad I had artists like Brandy and Monica around at an age when I was discovering music on my own. They were teen sensations, but they weren’t being presented as jailbait or overly sexual like what would become of some young female pop acts years later. I remember reading about Brandy and Monica in Word Up and Seventeen, and they were just straight-up classy and age-appropriate. No fakeness, no ratchet shit, no problem!

This, along with LL’s “Loungin'”, was THE summer jam of ’96. There were many days I would sing this to my posters of 3T and Immature in my bedroom in hopes that they’d become my boo. And it worked…in my dreams. (Yes, I had a crush on those guys, and, yes yes, I am of that generation that had posters on my bedroom wall. God, I’m really showing my age here.)

Pre-teen me thought this was another innocent, fun dance song. Hearing those lyrics as a sort-of-a grown-up nowadays…oh, honey.

R&B and rap weren’t the only genres I got down to that summer. And you could not escape a Top 40 station without this song playing.

I took a road trip to Seattle with my old folks that summer, and I remember wearing out the cassette player of my old man’s truck from playing this jam (and the other songs above) a lot during the road trip. How that tape survived that two week trip, I don’t know.

*sighs* I miss ya, George.

There are more songs to this soundtrack but aren’t posted. Basically, any hot R&B/rap/pop/dance song from 1995 and the first eight months of 1996 was part of my summer soundtrack. Oh, and there was that one Latin dance song from that year that spawned some dance craze that I’d post here, but, eh, I’d rather not.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s