Freestyle music emerged during the 1980’s in the United States. Its popularity continued until the early 1990’s and still is produced today. This energy filled music was originally developed in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan areas, mostly in impoverished communities. Pop radio stations in the United States began giving freestyle songs more airplay. As popularity increased, most songs reached the top of the charts. Below, you will find the 10 best freestyle songs ever made.
1. Shannon – Let the Music Play
American singer Shannon released Let the Music Play in November 1983. Due to its addicting melody, it quickly reached #1 on the US Dance chart. In addition, it became a crossover hit and climbed to the top 10 on the US Singles and Soul Charts. It was one of the first songs that marked the start of what is now known as dance-popera. Today, it can still be heard on radio stations as well as in video games.
2. The Cover Girls – Show Me
Show Me was first released in October 1986 by the American freestyle girl group The Cover Girls. By March of 1987, it reached #4 on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart. By May 1987 it reached the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #44 and remained there for eighteen weeks. Due to the popularity of the song, it lead The Cover Girls to release their first album named “Show Me” in February 1987.
3. Nice & Wild – Diamond Girl
The 1986 Eurodance hit Diamond Girl was a popular hit on pop radio. There has been speculation about who actually performed the vocals. It has never been proven but the music group Nice N’ Wild have been accused of lip-syncing the hit and are considered a performance band, that has since broken up. Many believed the song was a collaboration with Stevie B, who may be the original vocalist, and band mates Reggie Pierre, David Torres and Remy Palacios.
4. Samantha Fox – Naughty Girls Need Love Too
This 1988 single caught many by surprise by describing how an unexpected love had effected a naughty girl. The song was a successful collaboration between the hip-hop group Full Force and the singer Samantha Fox. It ranked as the 50th most popular song of 1988 in the United States. In addition, the song reached the top ten hit charts in Canada, Finland, and New Zealand.
5. Stevie B – Spring Love
Singer Stevie B reached the top of the charts with his hit Spring Love which was released in 1988. Spring Love peaked at #43 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached high rankings on the Top 40 chart. It also became the first top ten hit on the Dance charts, reaching #5. Spring Love was re-mixed and re-recorded by rapper Pitbull in 2007.
6. Johnny O – Fantasy Girl
This song was played on the pop radio religiously and remained on the Top 40 Pop Hits chart during 1988. The song was released on the eight album of singer Johnny O and is considered the most successful album the singer released during his career.
7. Cynthia & Johnny O – Dream Boy Dream Girl
This successful collaboration between singers Johnny O and Cynthia was released in 1990. Dream Boy Dream Girl reached #53 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is considered the most popular song released by both artists.
8. Taylor Dayne – Tell it to My Heart
Tell it to My Heart was the first single released by singer Taylor Dayne in 1987. The song’s dance-oriented, up-tempo sound drove it to success and provided exposure for the vocalist. In 1988, Taylor Dayne earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Female for the hit song.
9. Exposé – Let Me Be the One
Music group Exposé released Let Me Be the On in May 1987. In October of the same year, it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition, it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart and #76 on the British Pop Chart. The hit was produced and written by Lewis Martineé and performed by music group with Gioia Bruno as the lead vocals.
10. Stevie B – Dreamin’ of Love
Stevie B enjoyed his first success on the Billboard Hot 100 with this single. This was the second single for the vocalist which was released on his debut album Party Your Body. The single was played endlessly on Pop radio and contained samples by Kid Seville from the song “Do You Have a Car.”
In the early 1990’s, radio stations moved to Top 40-Only formats and Freestyle songs began to disappear from the airways. Mainstream radio still played popular songs by Freestyle artists such as Stevie B, but the remaining vocalists gradually disappeared.
In 1991, Platinum producer Frankie Cutlass and Carlos Berrios attempted to save the demise of Freestyle music by creating a new sound for songs like “Together Forever” and “Temptation”. Both songs were embraced by Top 40 radio which caused a resurgence of the music style.
The hits kept coming as music groups such as Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam released hits. The Freestyle music sound was more pop and less electro, which paved the way for Freestyle artists of the past to cross over into the pop market. While Freestyle music became less popular in the late 1990’s, it is still heard on radio stations across the nation on special occasions and when new artists use the sound in their own re-mixes of specific songs.
What’s your favorite freestyle song ever? Vote below.
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