25 Best Slow Jams of All Time

Slow Jams
ESSENCE.COM Jun, 10, 2009

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Remember when scoring a slow drag with the object of your (prolonged) desire was the ultimate high? That one dance could be the beginning of a rare and beautiful love thang as long as the deejay kept the slow jams coming. For the lover in you, ESSENCE.com sets the mood with its top favorite 25 slow jams.

Listen Now: Midnight Star - No Parking On the Dance Floor - Slow Jam

Best songs of summer »

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This group helped everyone appreciate the simple gestures and pleasures of eternal love that remain consistent and hold the key to longevity in any loving relationship.

Listen Now: Mary J. Blige - Share My World - Seven Days

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A love affair never sounded so sexy, until Billy Paul serenaded his married lover in this classic. Whatever “thing” you have going on must be pretty sultry and steamy.

Listen Now: Billy Paul - Super Hits - Me and Mrs. Jones

Best songs of summer »

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Generations continue to jam to this perfect mix of spiritual music with soul. We still can’t get enough of the iconic O’jays.

Listen Now: The O'Jays - The Ultimate O'Jays - Stairway to Heaven

Best songs of summer »

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There’s nothing wrong when a man wants to acknowledge his woman and express why he’s putting a ring on her finger, especially when it’s Howard Hewitt doing the talking.
Listen Now: Shalamar - The 12" Collection - This Is for the Lover In You

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Every woman wants to be whisked away to some far away land with her man for the ultimate seclusion and seduction. So cruisin’ away with Smokey Robinson was a dream come true.
Listen Now: Smokey Robinson - Smokey Robinson: The Solo Anthology - Cruisin'

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No 90’s dance or wedding was complete without this classic Stevie ballad. The melodic tune gives single girls hope of amazing love to come and reminds lovers of the good thing they’ve discovered.

Listen Now: Stevie Wonder - Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium I (Disc 1) - Ribbon In the Sky

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From the moment one of R&B’s most beloved balladeers expressed his loneliness with a simple “doo-doo-doo-doo,” anyone who had ever loved and lost understood that the unconditional, everlasting love could morph a humble abode into home sweet home.

Listen Now: Luther Vandross - The Ultimate Luther Vandross - A House Is Not a Home

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Some say it’s better to have loved than never have loved at all, and Chaka Khan expressed with soulful decadence when she promised “even if you can not stay, gonna love you anyway…be it right or be it wrong.” Sometimes even when love is blind it’s still so darn sweet. Listen Now: Chaka Khan - Chaka Khan - Sweet Thang

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Honoring your man who is Godsent is always a surefire way to keep the fire burning in your relationship.

Listen Now: Angela Winbush - '80s Urban Beats & Grooves - Angel

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Who could forget “rapping till the sun came up” sans No Dose because that special one had you too smitten to care about sleep deprivation? As Prince said, “that’s when I knew you were the one and I had to have you.”

Listen Now: Prince - Sign 'O' the Times - Adore

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This timeless classic is for anyone who’s ever been caught up in the Matrix of that special someone that made you implore that lover to handle our fragile hearts with care.

Listen Now: Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston - You Give Good Love

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Baker’s rich voice singing romantic lyrics make this ballad lethal. The perfect jam for a bubble bath after a hectic day and some bedroom fun to follow.

Listen Now: Anita Baker - Rapture - Sweet Love

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This song reminds of the good ol’ days before love connections were made on the Internet and a man would simply approach you with a simple, “Hello.”

Listen Now: Lionel Richie - Can't Slow Down - Hello

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Miss Patti nails exactly how it feels to fall hard in love on this track. Of course, we try and keep that overwhelming feeling to ourselves and find comfort in discovering we aren’t the only divas in love.

Listen Now: Patti Labelle - I'm In Love Again - If Only You Knew

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Yes, he’s begging, but this time Keith Sweat’s pleading for eternal love on this early 90’s favorite.

Listen Now: Keith Sweat - Make It Last Forever - How Deep Is Your Love

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With their southern gent-meets-the streets appeal, brothers K-Ci and JoJo and their gospel-tinged vocals amid siblings Devante and Dalvin’s funky grooves made the ladies swoon. We were all for getting married, starting a family and having our man stick by us for the long haul.

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Tyrese’s Coca-Cola smile and school boy charm was the perfect combination for this sweet serenade.

Listen Now: Tyrese - Tyrese - Sweet Lady

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The effortless vocals of Quincy Jones’s Canadian protégé captured the sweet vulnerability of Cupid’s lovestruck victims who didn’t even see love coming.

Listen Now: Quincy Jones & Tamia - Q's Jook Joint - You Put a Move On My Heart

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Brides had a new request for their first dance when Powell took over the airwaves with this instant hit. Who doesn’t want to be cherished by a man who loves everything from the way you talk to the way you walk?

Listen Now: Jesse Powell - Jesse Powell - You

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Some men know exactly what to say and Lattimore’s heavenly proposal fits the bill when he sings: “I’d take your hand, heart and everything/add to them a wedding ring.”
Is for youListen Now: Kenny Lattimore - The Best of Kenny Lattimore - For You

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For those of us lucky to have found love, one of Brooklyn’s finest crooners had no problem telling that special lady that he was blessed enough to find her.

Listen Now: Maxwell - We Got It Covered! - Fortunate

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23 of 25

We pulled out the popcorn as Mary detailed a dramatic episode with a friend turned lover on this hit. The reality of a platonic friendship blossoming into an unexpected lover/homie/friend happens every day.

Listen Now: Mary J. Blige - Share My World - Seven Days

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Living the single life can be tough, so this soulful declaration of emotional preparedness for love by the ATL beauty resonated with all who continue to wait patiently for Mr. or Mrs. Right.

Listen Now: India.Arie - Acoustic Soul - Ready for Love

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We applaud any man who cares enough to figure out what his woman’s pleasure principles are. This southern gent delivered the naked truth with a seductive falsetto and an Adonis’s physique that had many ladies numb with desire.

Listen Now: D'Angelo - Voodoo - Untitled (How Does It Feel)

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