With the announcement that Bell Biv DeVoe and En Vogue would be capping off the series of summer beach concerts in Atlantic City, I thought it would be a nice time to take a look at some of the best videos by both of the R&B groups. Get ready for some 90's fashion, leather body suits and a cameo from Jada Pinkett Smith.

BELL BIV DEVOE

“Word to the Mutha”

Forget about “Poison”, this music video is even better. First off it features original members from New Edition rapping (including Bobby Brown!) Plus the fashion in this video is so fly. Grade: B+

“Poison”

The song that launched a thousand dance circles at prom: it’s a classic and if you hear it you get up and start dancing. No matter what. Put down your slice of cake and start dancing. In fact, get up right now and start dancing in front of your computer. Also this song will always remind me of the scene in “Pootie Tang” where Pootie is seduced in the grocery store by Ireenie. The only thing that makes this video not a perfect “A” is the overplay of the song. You’ll hear it at any wedding, school dance, party, bar mitzvah and probably a funeral too. Grade: B+

“Gangsta”

This playlist needs to keep the bangers going and this song is great for that. In all seriousness, these songs may not have stood the test of time but they still make you want to move your legs underneath your desk at the office. The rap skills are very subpar but the music is so cheesy it's actually great. Grade: C+

“When Will I See You Smile Again”

Okay so this song is damn beautiful. It’s also lead singer Ricky Bell telling the group “this is my song. Stand in the back and snap while I go to work.” Also gotta love the dramatic montage when Ronnie DeVoe tries to call his girl who is waiting for him at the diner. Pay phone cord is busted and then it starts raining. A rough night for Ronnie. Wait, what’s a payphone? Also the slow shot of a woman riding a horse on a beach? You don’t see that anymore in music videos. Grade: B

“Above the Rim”

Wait… wait… wait… shots of a pickup game in what looks like an abandoned basketball gym, a Tim Hardaway Warriors jersey and a house party to end the music video? Those are my three favorite things rolled into one. Game over! “Above the Rim” takes the crown. Now go call your friends and play some pickup basketball. Grade: A++

EN VOGUE

“Free Your Mind”

“Prejudice. Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it goes.” That’s the start of this video. Besides the tight clothing and the dirty dancing, this song tackles issues that are still prominent today: interracial dating, cultural appropriation and stereotypes are all addressed in a four-minute song. Plus it's so catchy. It’s tough to pick between this or “Poison” as the better megahit between the groups. But with the message conveyed through this song, I think En Vogue wins the battle. And once again this video is pure 90’s hip hop, meaning we have no idea where the hell we are in it. A fashion show from the future? If En Vogue is hosting it then I’m there. Grade: A+

“Don’t Let Go”

Here we see member Dawn Robinson taking the lead vocals. If you’re wondering what the film is that is scattered throughout the video that would be “Set It Off” which starred Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Vivica A. Fox. The movie’s about a bank heist the three women decide to execute. Who needs an all-women Oceans 11 remake when we have this movie? This was the last single featuring Robinson in the group. She would come back in 2008 but leave soon after, leaving only the three members to tour currently. Grade: B-

“My Lovin’ You’re Never Gonna Get It”

Seriously this group is low-key clutch with their songs. I love the guitars and the chorus is too catchy not to include in the top five. Also what’s up with the guy in the full-body leather suit dancing around? Fan theory… maybe this guy leaves the music video that day and later meets up with Zed from Pulp Fiction. Just a thought. This song is one of those where you go “Ohhh I know that song.” Grade: A-

“Hold On”

When this song came out Lauryn Hill was 15 years old, Beyonce was 9 and Rhianna was 2. This was the first single from the group and it may be my favorite. The video looks like it was put together by Tim Burton’s character in the movie “Singles.” It’s perfect in its archaic cinematography. This was before TLC was talking about scrubs and way before Destiny’s Child were asking you to say their name. This is like Bad Brains to the D.C. post-punk movement: these girls were the first. Grade: A+

“Whatever”

This song was written and produced by Babyface, but En Vogue put their own spin to it with their harmonization and style. Pretty creepy video but still a good song to listen to in your car with the bass cranked up. The song was a top-20 pop hit and a top ten R&B hit. The video was directed by Matthew Rolston who went on to direct groups like TLC and, you guessed it, Destiny’s Child. Grade: B

Staff writer

I’ve written for multiple publications including Levittown Now, Passyunk Post, Philadelphia Neighborhoods,Temple News and JUMP Magazine. I’ve covered arts, entertainment, business, music, sports and local government. Experienced in videography.