This past Sunday's Essence Festival not only included a number of Michael Jackson tributes and a reunited Commodores, it also marked the return of one of R&B's definitive groups. The four original members of En Vogue are back together. The group performed a set of hits at the New Orleans festival and plan to record a new album in the coming year. There was also talk of a group-related reality show, though everything is still in the planning stages.
En Vogue set the template for girl groups in modern R&B, peaking with 1992's Funky Divas album, which yielded the hits "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" and "Free Your Mind." Their combination of sweet, powerful vocals with hip-hop swagger (check their Salt-N-Pepa collaboration "Whatta Man") paved the way for groups like TLC, Destiny's Child and Pussycat Dolls. The group's shifting lineup has always hinged on Dawn Robinson, the unofficial frontwoman of the group who left and came back twice in the past over contract disputes. Hopefully the business issues have been ironed out so that their unique blend of hip-hop soul will return to the radio.
Need proof of their electricity? Check out their performance of "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.