AaliyahHi, I’m Lana, and I’m an old-school snob. More often than not I’ll rebuff the latest musical offerings (frequently in the form of Xanax-induced mumble rap) in favour of my own carefully curated playlists. In a slightly OCD fashion, I’ll organise my Apple Music painstakingly by feeling, by mood, by vibe – the literal soundtrack to my life. Yet despite an eclectic mix which juxtaposes singer-songwriter compositions with 1960s soul and Amy Winehouse blue-eyed jazz, I can’t help but be biased towards the throwback R&B and hip-hop jams from the yesteryear. The ‘90s to early 2000s was arguably the defining period for mainstream hip-hop and RnB, as I feel many fellow aficionados would agree. Hence, with the arrival of 2018, it seemed necessary to revisit a time where rappers wore shirts three sizes too big and du-rags were considered fashionable. Whether you’re looking to add to your library or are just after a heavy dose of nostalgia, here are four different compilation playlists of selected R&B and hip-hop classics to kickstart your New Year.

Good Vibes
With the New Year comes a time of almost forced positivity. As everyone sets goals and resolutions, the ‘New Me’ mantra encourages a well-meaning but short-lived period of optimism. Prolong your fresh start with the upbeat vibes from these old-school jams:

2Pac featuring Dr. Dre – California Love (1995)
2Pac featuring Snoop Dogg – 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted (All Eyez On Me, 1996)
Amerie – 1 Thing (Touch, 2005)
Big Pun featuring Joe – Still Not A Player (Capital Punishment, 1998)
Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre – No Diggity (1996)
Bow Wow and Omarion – Girlfriend (Face Off, 2007)
Carlos Santana featuring The Product G&B – Maria Maria (Ultimate Santana, 1999)
Craig David – 7 Days (Born to Do It, 2001)
Eve featuring Gwen Stefani – Let Me Blow Ya Mind (Scorpion, 2001)
Fat Joe featuring Ashanti – What’s Luv? (Jealous Ones Still Envy, 2001)
Ja Rule – Livin’ It Up (Pain is Love, 2001)
Ja Rule featuring Ashanti – Mesmerize (The Last Temptation, 2002)
Justin Timberlake – Senorita (Justified, 2002)
Lauryn Hill – Doo-Wop (That Thing) (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 1998)
Mary J Blige featuring Will Smith – Got To Be Real (2004)
Montell Jordan – This Is How We Do It (This Is How We Do It, 1995)
Musiq Soulchild – Just Friends (Sunny) (Aijuswanaseing, 2000)
Nas featuring Lauryn Hill – If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) (It Was Written, 1996)
Nate Dogg – Your Woman Has Just Been Sighted (Music & Me, 2001)
Naughty by Nature – Feel Me Flow (Poverty’s Paradise, 1995)
Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell Williams – Beautiful (Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$, 2003)
Will Smith – Gettin’ Jiggy wit It (Big Willie Style, 1997)
In the Mood

Nothing screams sex louder than late ‘90s/early 2000s R&B. Celebrate 2018 in more ways than one to the sultry sopranos of neo-soul songstresses such as Aaliyah and Mya, the sexy lyric tenor of R&B hitmakers Omarion and Ne-Yo, or the slow-jam falsettos of 90’s legends R. Kelly and Ginuwine.

112 – U Already Know (Pleasure & Pain, 2005)
Aaliyah – Rock the Boat (Aaliyah, 2001)
B2K – Bump, Bump, Bump (Pandemonium!, 2002)
Bobby Valentino – Slow Down (Bobby Valentino, 2004)
Boyz II Men – I’ll Make Love to You (II, 2004)
Cassie – Me & U (Cassie, 2006)
Chris Brown – Poppin’ (Chris Brown, 2005)
Chris Brown – Take You Down (Exclusive, 2007)
D’Angelo – Untitled (How Does it Feel) (Voodoo, 2000)
Ginuwine – In Those Jeans (The Senior, 2003)
Ginuwine – So Anxious (100% Ginuwine, 1999)
Jamie Foxx featuring Ludacris – Unpredictable (Unpredictable, 2005)
J. Holiday – Bed (Back of My Lac’, 2007)
Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim – Slow Motion (Juve the Great, 2004)
Ludacris – Splash Waterfalls (Chicken n Beer, 2003)
Marques Houston – Sex Wit U (Naked, 2005)
Mya – My Love Is Like…Wo (Moodring, 2003)
Next – Too Close (Rated Next, 1997)
Ne-Yo – Sexy Love (In My Own Words, 2005)
Ne-Yo – When You’re Mad (In My Own Words, 2005)
Omarion – O (O, 2004)
Pretty Ricky – Get You Right (Bluestars, 2004)
Pretty Ricky – Playhouse (Bluestars, 2004)
R. Kelly – Your Body’s Calling (12 Play, 1994)
R. Kelly – Feelin’ On Yo Booty (TP-2.com, 2000)
Usher – Nice & Slow (My Way, 1997)
Breaking Up or Making Up

Perfect for wistful wallowing/Kim K ugly-crying over what used to be, or even a couple anthem during the idyllic honeymoon stage. Whether you’re cruising into the New Year with your S/O by your side, wailing after a blow-up over a double-tapped Instagram pic, or your last relationship didn’t make it past December 31st, these selected tunes are guaranteed to get you #inthefeels.

Amp Fiddler – Dreamin’ (Waltz of a Ghetto Fly, 2004)
B2K – Gots ta Be (B2K, 2002)
Beyonce – Dangerously in Love (Crazy in Love, 2003)
Bow Wow featuring Jagged Edge – My Baby (Unleashed, 2003)
Bow Wow featuring Omarion – Let Me Hold You (Wanted, 2005)
Chingy featuring Tyrese – Pullin’ Me Back (Hoodstar, 2006)
Eamon – F*ck It, I Don’t Want You Back (I Don’t Want You Back, 2003)
Fabolous featuring Lil’ Mo – Can’t Let You Go (Street Dreams, 2003)
Fabolous featuring Tamia – Into You (Street Dreams, 2002)
India.Arie – Get It Together (Voyage to India, 2002)
Jagged Edge – Let’s Get Married (J.E. Heartbreak, 2000)
Jay-Z featuring Beyonce – ‘03 Bonnie and Clyde (The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse, 2002)
Lloyd – Player’s Prayer (Street Love, 2007)
Mario – How Could You (Turning Point, 2005)
Marques Houston – Always & Forever (Veteran, 2007)
Mase – All I Ever Wanted (Double Up, 1999)
Mase – What You Want (Harlem World, 1997)
Michael Jackson – Remember the Time (Dangerous, 1992)
Musiq Soulchild – Aimewitue (Aijuswanaseing, 2000)
Mya – Fallen (Moodring, 2003)
Ne-Yo – Because of You (Because of You, 2006)
Ray J – One Wish (Raydiation, 2005)
SWV – Weak (It’s About Time, 1992) or JoJo’s cover (JoJo, 2004)
Usher – Confessions, Pt 2 (Confessions, 2004)
Usher – You Make Me Wanna… (My Way, 1997)

Female Empowerment
Although hip-hop so often comes under scrutiny for its controversial lyrics towards women, it would be a lie to say that hip-hop and R&B hadn’t produced some of the most empowering songs in music history. In an industry often so rife with misogyny, many of the genre’s elites have taken it upon themselves to provide a counter-narrative to uplift and empower women, crediting us for our strength and all that we do. Embrace the “#NewYearNewMe” movement not as a way to ‘change’ yourself, but as an opportunity to recognise your power; that we as women are worth so much more than our looks, than what men think of us, and what society has conditioned us to be. Rise up, be powerful, know your worth, and yeah, be a little cocky. 2018 is our year!

2Pac – Dear Mama (Me Against the World, 1995)
2Pac – Keep Ya Head Up (Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z…, 1993)
Aaliyah – More Than a Woman (Aaliyah, 2001)
Alicia Keys – A Woman’s Worth (Songs in A Minor, 2001)
Amil and Beyonce – I Got That (All Money Is Legal, 2001)
Amy Winehouse – In My Bed (Frank, 2003)
Amy Winehouse – Stronger Than Me (Frank, 2003)
Ashanti – Happy (Ashanti, 2002)
Beyonce – Me, Myself And I (Crazy in Love, 2003)
Beyonce featuring Jay-Z – Upgrade U (Bday, 2006)
Blaque – I’m Good (Honey Soundtrack, 2003)
Common – The Light (Like Water for Chocolate, 2000)
Destiny’s Child – So Good (The Writing’s On The Wall, 1999)
Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious (Survivor, 2001)
Destiny’s Child – Independent Women, Pt. I (Survivor, 2001)
Destiny’s Child – Survivor (Survivor, 2001)
Destiny’s Child – If (Destiny Fulfilled, 2004)
Erykah Badu – Bag Lady (Mama’s Gun, 2000)
India Arie – Video (Acoustic Soul, 2001)
Jennifer Lopez – Love Don’t Cost a Thing (J.Lo, 2001)
TLC – No Scrubs (FanMail, 1999)
Trey Songz – Can’t Help But Wait (Trey Day, 2007)
Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y. (Black Reign, 1993)

Now head into the rest of the year with a clear mind, positivity, new goals, and a kick-ass playlist to match – (part II to follow?)

Good luck for 2018!