1992 was an amazing year for R&B.
The year started with the debut album from the hottest new act in the game: a trio out Atlanta called TLC. T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli were draped in baggy clothes, playfully raunchy lyrics and bigger-than-life personalities–and they showed that the influence hip-hop on R&B acts wasn't limited to guys like Bell Biv DeVoe and Jodeci. By the summer, soundtracks for popular movies Boomerang and Mo' Money were pushing platinum status–though their successes would be eclipsed by the monstrous The Bodyguard soundtrack near the end the year.
Boyz II Men and Jodeci had broken big in 1991, but in '92, both groups would show signs that they were evolving past the new jack swing hits that had brought them chart success on their platinum debut albums. Jodeci would release the "Come and Talk To Me" remix in March, a hit single that was produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs and served as the first shot in the "hip-hop soul" revolution that would soon see new jack swing displaced as the go-to "edgy" brand R&B (more on that later). And Boyz II Men's "End the Road" from the Boomerang soundtrack was a record-smashing hit single that served as a harbinger for where that quartet would go on their multiplatinum sophomore album II in 1994; a sound less dependent on "Motownphilly"-esque dance tracks and more driven by lush Babyface-penned balladry.
1992 also saw the emergence Toni Braxton and R. Kelly, two artists who would come to define the genre throughout the rest the decade. But the biggest event in R&B circa 1992 was the debut Mary J. Blige. The soon-to-be-christened Queen Hip-Hop Soul embodied where mainstream R&B would go for the remainder the decade; the music was as hip-hop-driven as new jack swing, but the sound was smoother and less dance-driven. Mary's approach meant the end new jack swing, with Bobby Brown's hit album Bobby serving as a semi-last hurrah for the popular sound.
So yeah–1992 was an impactful and important year in R&B. So we decided to rank our favorite R&B albums from the year Bill Clinton was elected, Martin debuted on FOX and the L.A. riots happened.