YouKnowIGotSoul has spent the last few years spotlighting the 10 best songs from R&B’s premier artists, so when it was time to discuss the OG of R&B Keith Sweat, y’all know I had to do the honors.
I mean, it’s only natural, right?
I’ve been a fan of King Keef ever since his Cosby sweater caught my eye on his 1987 debut album cover. But it was the introduction of his group Kut Klose in the mid-90s and his stellar self-titled released that officially made me a superfan.
Keith has spent the past 30 years opening the doors for new artists, writing some of R&B’s most recognized tracks for fellow singers and, of course, being the voice behind some of the game’s true classics.
I could have easily created a list of Keith’s 50 best songs because, well, the man is a hit-making factory. But today let’s just stick with the 10 gems that shine brightest.
10) (There You Go) Tellin’ Me No Again
1991’s New Jack City soundtrack spawned quite a few hits and this track was among those standouts. Keith even performed it during the film’s infamous wedding scene – though singing about being rejected by a woman isn’t the most romantic thing in the world. Keith was rockin’ that white tux, though!
9) My Body
Yeah, yeah I know this isn’t a solo Keith song – it’s the unforgettable single from LSG’s debut album. But this is my list so I say it counts. Keith, alongside R&B titans Johnny Gill and the late Gerald Levert, prove that three heads – and three veteran voices – are better than one.
8) Get Up On It
Kut Klose is one of the most underrated groups of the 90s, and they really get a chance to shine alongside Keith on this classic collabo. It was just the beginning of several teamups – each one better than the last.
7) Don’t Stop Your Love
“GIRLLLLLLLLLLLL!” The second that beat drops and Keith screams into the mike, the party instantly erupts. Three decades later and nothing gets a crowd more hype than this marriage of hip-hop and R&B
6) Show Me the Way
Yes, I know this is technically an interlude but it’s Keith at his best – pleading, sensual vocals that aim to snag his lady’s heart. At 2:50 minutes, it’s proof a song ain’t gotta be long to be strong.
5) I’ll Give All My Love to You
Keith always has been a master balladeer and the title track from his sophomore album lives up to that billing. It’s the type of tender track that sorely missing from today’s R&B scene.
Arguably Keith’s most successful single to date, this midtempo burner was EVERYWHERE in 1996. Once again, Keith teams up with the ladies of Kut Klose to craft one of the most iconic tracks in his catalog.
3) Make It Last Forever
This is how you do a duet right. Keith and Jacci McGhee fawn over each other on a track that has become one of R&B’s most recognized collaborations. Proms, weddings, midnight rendezvous – this song works on every level. Credit Keith and Jacci’s undeniable chemistry.
2) I Want Her
The one that launched ‘em all. Keith’s first charting single not only was his first No. 1 record but also the first New Jack Swing track to top the charts. It’s the quintessential New Jack Swing track, one that took Keith, producer Teddy Riley and the New Jack Swing movement to atmospheric new heights.
“Nobody” certainly wasn’t as groundbreaking as “I Want Her” nor did it sent the standard for future ballads like “Make It Last Forever” did. But “Nobody” tops them all simply by being such a great song. The simple yet addictive hook, Athena Cage’s standout performance, the arousing production – it’s no shock that this song has dominated R&B playlists (and your little sister’s collection of memes) for nearly 20 years.
Who can do it like Keith? Nobody, baby.
– Right and a Wrong Way
– Keep it Comin
– How Do You Like It
– When I Give My Love
– Funky Dope Lovin
– Come With Me
– I’m Not Ready
– One on One (2002)
– Test Drive