9. Brandy “I Wanna Be Down”

In at 9 is Brandy with “I Wanna Be Down” released in 1994.  After Debbie and Tiffany and before Britney and Christina, there was Brandy and Monica.  In all cases, you were either for one or the other.   Brandy was Beyoncé before Beyoncé was Beyoncé.  Ms. Norwood was locking music, TV, film, and cosmetic deals before Mrs. Jay-Z became the “it” multi-media princess.  Bey has taken it to the next level by this point, though.

Yet, this was a time when girl performers looked like girl performers and weren’t vamped up to be the next sex pop-tart. Her songs didn’t seem too kiddish or overly mature; they were just right.  Simply, memorably, and appropriately stylish in the video, “I Wanna Be Down” was an infinitely infectious first joint.  Don’t even get me started on the remix.

With braids as her trademark, before Alicia copped them, and a cute “X” dance, Brandy was on her way.  Who would have thought years later she would have a brother (who’s in the video) with a sex tape and her own serious troubles to overcome.  With a new label, a couple of recently leaked new songs, an official new song release, “Right Here (Departed),” and album, Human, on the way, Ms. Norwood is poised for a comeback.   If the buzz is on-point, “I Wanna Be Down” this time around, too.