13 '90s Dance Party Songs Your Kids NEED To Know

by Brandi Jeter Riley
Originally Published: 
Will Smith and other 90s dance stars
LEFT: Rick Kern / Contributor/Getty; CENTER: KMazur / Contributor/Getty; RIGHT: Vince Bucci / Stringer/Getty

There are a lot of ups and downs that come with being a parent. It’s a lot of responsibility, and OMG, so much work. Plenty of times I wonder if I’m fun enough, or if I’m too tense. Is my nagging really helping my kids to be better, or will they grow up and hate me because I was so strict? No matter how I feel I’m doing as a mom, I turn on some music, activate my 90s alter-ego, and suddenly this mama is the life of the party!

Our nightly dance parties in the kitchen while I make dinner, and my habit of playing the old-school radio station while I’m shuttling them around town, ensure that my children will grow up knowing that Brandy and Monica had beef. They’ll know exactly what to do when the beat drops and Kriss Kross tells them to “jump.” When a rap or R&B song from the 90s comes on, I yell out “That’s my jam!” and I’m the fun Brandi who used to coordinate outfits with her girlfriends and chill at the mall pretending to ignore my crush.

My kids need to know that part of me. Every once in a while they need to see me dancing and singing at the top of my voice in order to know that I’m human. Yes, a music dance party can do all of that. And who doesn’t love a little dance party? Especially when there was so much to love about that decade (hello, 90s food, fashion and music). So pump up the volume and show your kids what you’re working with!

1. “Can We Talk,” Tevin Campbell

This is like a love song for beginners, and I am all the way here for it. “Can We Talk” is the perfect song to teach your kids how to do the R&B sway and snap. Add an audible, “yesss!!!” and show the children how boys used to romance us back in the day.

2. “Candy Rain,” Soul for Real

Candy-coated raindrops? As soon as your kids hear this lyric, they’ll be sold on “Candy Rain.” I remember when the song came out, a radio station in my hometown played it on repeat for an entire evening. I was not mad. AT ALL.

3. “Can’t Touch This,” MC Hammer

Teaching your kids how to do the Hammer Dance should be mandatory for all parents. If you don’t give them instructions on properly doing the Typewriter, do you even love them at all?

4. “Jump,” Kriss Kross

Here’s a tip: Play this song over and over again. Your kids will not stop jumping. They will wear themselves out. You’re welcome.

5. “The Boy is Mine,” Brandy & Monica

Before Cardi B and Nikki Minaj, there was Brandy and Monica. This beef was a little more tame than what kids these days are used to, but it gives you a great opportunity to do a duet with your vocally ambitious child.

6. “I Wanna Be Down,” Brandy

Speaking of Brandi, if you look up “’90s R&B,” you’ll see a picture of her in lieu of a definition. She was the quintessential ’90s teenager. After your dance party, watch Moesha with your kids and blow their minds a little bit.

7. “You Gotta Be,” Des’Ree

One of the most underrated songs of the era, I think it’s because so many of us teens were in our room alone singing “You Gotta Be” into the mirror because it made us feel strong. The catchy lyrics are easy to remember which makes it a perfect dance party performance song.

8. “Iesha,” Another Bad Creation

Another Bad Creation had a banger with the hip hop love song about a boy’s crush. It’ll just take one time of your kids hearing the song for them to know what to respond when ABC sings, “At the playground..” (Answer: “You know!”)

9. “What About Your Friends,” TLC

Older kids especially will appreciate this song. It’s a lesson wrapped in a beat. My favorite part is Left Eye’s rap, and my children are always impressed when I do it flawlessly. You might want to practice before you play this song for them.

10. “Now That We Found Love,” Heavy D

This is the song that you play when you want a good workout and you want to wear the kids out! I can’t help but to go OFF when this song comes on, and it makes my kids dance even crazier. Heavy D is a staple for any 90’s dance party.

11. “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” Will Smith

Big Willy! When this song came out, gangster rap was really big, and some folks thought this song was a little corny. I thought it was a banger, and I still do. And the song even has it’s own dance. It doesn’t get better than this.

12. “Tootsee Roll,” 69 boyz

As soon as I would hear, “the butterfly, uh uh, that’s old!”, I knew I needed to stop what I was doing and get on the dance floor as fast as possible. Back in the day the dance floor might have been a girlfriend’s bedroom, now it might be the kitchen. The Tootsee Roll knows no bounds.

13. “Daydreamin,” Tatyana Ali

Oh my gosh, this song is one of the most underrated pieces of music EVER. Like, in life. Daydreamin’ was my jam as a teenager, and it’s still a jam over twenty years later. I like that it’s dope enough to dance to, but chill enough for it to shut the party down and send the kids to bed afterwards.

Just a word of caution for the end of your dance party: make sure you have ice on hand. Although your kiddos will be fine, remember—you aren’t the same age you were in the 90’s. It’s all good and fine until you wake up the next morning and your knees hurt!

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