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The 50 Best R&B Songs That Flipped Rap Beats

13. Groove Theory "Tell Me" (1995)

Producer: Bryce Wilson

Bryce Wilson was known as a rapper (and member of Mantronix) called MC Luvah; Mantronix disbanded in 1991. Two years later, he met Amel Larrieux while she was working as a receptionist. The two formed Groove Theory, and, in 1995, "Tell Me" was born.

The single was built around a sample of the Mary Jane Girls "All Night Long." This song had been sampled throughout rap and R&B by this point; Mary J Blige even performed a cover of it on her sophomore record, My Life. But Big Daddy Kane's "Smooth Operator" was the definitive take, built around the song's swaggering bassline. Larrieux and Wilson made the song a tribute to the vulnerability of the crush, as Larrieux swooned for the object of her affection. —David Drake

Inspiration: Big Daddy Kane "Smooth Operator" (1989)

Producer: Big Daddy Kane

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