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'Weak,' A Free Willy Song, And More Of The Best Music Videos From SWV
SWV conquered the charts in the '90s, and all those hit songs came with incredible music videos.
SWV (Sisters with Voices) rose to the top of the charts in the '90s thanks to their stunning voices, amazing performances, hit songs ... and of course, their fun and unique music videos.
In anticipation of Bravo’s limited series SWV & XSCAPE: The Queens of R&B, we’re giving a little refresher course on some of the best music videos from SWV.
SWV, the New York City-based R&B trio consisting of Cheryl “Coko” Gamble, Tamara “Taj” Johnson-George, and Leanne “Lelee” Lyons, went multiplatinum in the 1990s with hits such as “I’m So into You” and “Right Here.” With their debut album, It’s About Time selling more than 3 million albums and garnering multiple nominations with the Grammys and the Billboard Music Awards, there seemed to be no stopping these ladies.
Following the group’s 2021 Verzuz battle performance with Atlanta-based girl group XSCAPE ― featuring Atlanta Housewife Kandi Burruss ― both platinum-certified groups joined forces for the upcoming six-part series, giving fans a front-row seat into their lives ahead of a one-night-only on-stage event (get your first look here).
But since we can’t wait for SWV & XSCAPE: The Queens of R&B, premiering Sunday, March 5 at 9:30/8:30c on Bravo, here are some of our favorite SWV music videos to hold you over, including hit songs like "Weak" and "Right Here."
1) "I’m So Into You"
If seeing SWV singing in those little black leather dresses doesn’t bring you back, were you even there in the '90s?
The January 1993 single from their Grammy-nominated debut studio album, It’s About Time, became a chart-topping success worldwide, peaking at number 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list in May of that year. In the video, viewers see the ladies bring high energy for a live audience, while other scenes show them dancing for the camera in a pool hall or showing off their fashion while walking down the stairs. The white fencing uniforms (known as lamés) were also a nice touch for the video’s vibe.
2) "Right Here"
Beautiful vocals, beautiful backdrops, beautiful … whales?
Audiences who loved “Right Here” were in luck because there were two versions of the hit: The first was the group’s debut single from It’s About Time, while the second, the “Human Nature Remix,” featured samples of Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit.
The original video showcased the girls’ dance moves and rap verses, with the girls singing on motorcycles, dancing in city streets, and an exciting rap bridge by the one and only Taj.
The latter version of the song, featured on the “Free Willy” soundtrack, shot to number one on the R&B charts, selling over 1 million copies. The video featuring Coko, Taj, and Lelee riding horseback along the pristine shore was a tamer (though no less exciting) version of the group’s original.
Fun fact: If you listen closely to the "Human Nature" remix, you’ll hear a young Pharrell Williams rapping in the background.
Peaking in 1993 was SWV’s ballad “Weak,” which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Decades later, it is still number 72 on Billboard's 100 greatest songs of all time by girl groups.
The music video for "Weak" was produced by Lionel C. Martin, known for directing music videos for many stars in the biz, including Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder, and more. He was also behind the music video for SWV’s aforementioned “Right Here” remix.
Of course, we can’t get enough of Coko and Taj’s red leather vest tops and their baker boy caps, in addition to the flashes of the ladies attending a boxing match. The ballad "Weak" is eponymous with their name, Sisters with Voices.
4) "You’re The One"
Fast forward a few years to 1996: Taken from SWV’s second studio album, New Beginning, comes “You’re The One,” the album’s lead single. Featuring the arcade vibes of the 1990s and coupled with dancers with knee pads (what a time to be alive!), the hit reached number one for R&B hot singles and planted itself in the top 10 in New Zealand.
Compared to singles from the first album, described as having a more gospel-infused R&B sound mixed with their street style, critics said the new hit came from “a group of women who know exactly what they want and aren’t afraid to get it.”
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And for anyone who’s into Asian boy bands, you’ll recognize “You’re The One” from the Seoul-based EXO’s 2019 hit “Ya Ya Ya.”
Reaching certified gold, “Someone” ― shot by Joseph Kahn, one of the most influential music video directors of all time ― featured some of the most prominent musicians of the 1990s, namely rapper Sean Combs (formerly Puff Daddy). The single also uses samples from the Notorious B.I.G.’s posthumous album Life After Death.
The 1997 song reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, as well as Billboard’s dance singles chart.
With peephole shots that were all the rage in '90s music videos (hello, Missy Elliott), Puff Daddy hovering over the city in a helicopter, and cowboy hats galore, “Someone” had it all. While SWV sang of wanting “someone to satisfy me,” viewers were more than satisfied with this hit.
Get more from SWV when SWV & XSCAPE: The Queens of R&B, premieres on Bravo on Sunday, March 5 at 9:30/8:30c.