7 Classic Music Videos for Fans of Bruno Mars and Cardi B’s ‘Finesse’
The video — both sonically and visually — is steeped in euphoric nostalgia for shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and In Living Color, as well as an era of music when acts like Salt-N-Pepa, New Edition and Janet Jackson ruled the airwaves, blasting radio with a funky hybrid of hip hop, R&B, dance, freestyle and new jack swing sounds.
In 2016, Mars' album 24K Magic — as well as his current single (and its delightful Cardi B-assisted remix) — payed homage to the gold chains and color-blocked threads of late '80s, early '90s hip hop, including its energetic, dance-oriented soundscapes and unrelenting beats.
If you can't get enough of the joyful throwback sound, well, you don't have to: Below, discover seven classic tracks and music videos that fans of Bruno Mars and Cardi B's "Finesse" should also love.
Released in 1989, “Every Little Step” was originally penned by L.A. Reid. Inspired by his relationship with singer and TLC founder Pebbles, Reid — who co-wrote the song with Babyface — had intended to give the track to a group called Midnight Star. Bobby Brown, however, heard the track while recording his sophomore album, Don’t Be Cruel, and convinced Reid and Babyface to let him use it for his record. And good thing, too: The single earned Brown his first Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1990.
Featuring an entirely contagious hook, “Poison” was released as the debut single from New Edition spinoff group Bell Biv DeVoe in 1990. The band’s most successful hit, the funky fusion of freestyle and hip hop propelled the track to the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at No. 3 for four consecutive weeks.
Though not as successful as her previous songs, Scottish singer Sheena Easton’s bouncy 1991 dance jam, “What Comes Naturally,” captured the colorful, playful spirit of early ‘90s hip hop-influenced dance music, offering a sultry alternative to the sound — as well a delightfully (now) dated music video.
Formed in 1992, brother quartet Soul For Real earned a bona fide Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop No. 1 with their soulful 1994 hit, “Candy Rain,” which featured youngest member Jase4Real on lead vocals. The smooth, dreamy mid-’90s jam was even covered by Bruno Mars during his Moonshine Jungle Tour in 2013 and 2014.
One of freestyle’s most iconic hits, Swedish artist Neneh Cherry’s 1998 “Buffalo Stance” remains a genre staple. Off Cherry’s debut album, Raw Like Sushi, the infectious, attitude-laden dance track peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, thanks to its bright production, fierce rap verses and stylish, funky music video.
Originally discovered in Cleveland in the late ‘80s, The Rude Boys became a pop culture sensation after releasing “Written All Over Your Face in the winter of 1990. An upbeat, romantic R&B track featuring vocal acrobatics from the band’s four members, the song topped the R&B charts and took home the Billboard Music Award for R&B Single of the Year in 1991.
With its catchy Michael Jackson-era pop melody and memorable subject matter, Jermaine Stewart’s 1986 smash, “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off,” became a commercial hit both in the States and the U.K. in the late ‘80s. Sexy without being overtly sexual, the dance track’s popularity grew after being featured on Miami Vice.