Continuing our celebration of Black Music Month, this week Singersroom digs into the 90’s vault for the best and most memorable R&B male artists and groups. From Jodeci to Silk and Brian McKnight to Usher, discover what made these artists hot and find out what they are up to today. Jodeci – Forever My Lady Kicking off this week, there is no trendsetting or ground breaking R&B group that can match the fire that 90s R&B group Jodeci possessed. With the release of their debut album Forever My Lady, Devante, K-Ci, Jo-Jo and Dalvin quickly became the âBad Boys of R&B,â shattering the stereotypical image of the cookie-cutter and squeaky clean R&B male group. With Jodeci, gone were the days of button up sweaters, suits, bow ties, and clean traditional haircuts… Jodeci presented the young, the real and the creation of the modern male group that anyone could relate to, whether male or female, everyone was bumping to Jodeci in the 90s. The group consisting of two pairs of brothers â The Haileys (K-Ci & Jo Jo) and the DeGrates (DeVante & Dalvin) rose to fame in 1991 and had a strong hold on R&B through 1996. Although there were other groups around at the time including the highly successful quartet Boyz II Men, Jodeciâs signature style which included a blend of âNew Jack Swingâ from pioneers like Teddy Riley and Keith Sweat set the group apart. So far apart in fact that Jodeci influenced a new brand of R&B flavor, later channeled by Jagged Edge, Dru Hill, and Profyle. âForever My Lady,â arguably the groups best album was certified 3X platinum spawning the hits âCome & Talk To Me,â âStay,ââ Iâm Still Waitingâ and the title track âForever My Lady.â Released under Uptown Records which at the time was home to Mary J Blige, Guy, Heavy D and the then burgeoning intern Sean Puffy Combs, the album topped out at no.1 on the Billboard R&B charts. With the help of Sean âPuffyâ Combs, the group helped to create what we can now call Hip-Hip/Soul, the marriage of Hip-Hop and Soul music. Fueling their success, Jodeci made being young, raw and straight forward romantic, forcing Hip Hop acts like Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G. and others to take notice, later incorporating Hip-Hop with R&B soul as evidenced on many mid to late 90s hits like âOne More Chance,â âHow Do U Want It,â and âLove Is All We Need.â Post âForever My Lady,â the group released two albums 1993’s âDiary of a Mad Bandâ and 1995s âThe Show, The After Party, The Hotel,â both of which went platinum. The latter of the two would prove to be the last album for the trendsetting group that inspired many of todayâs trendsetting and chart topping acts. Today: Since 1996, group members K-Ci and Jo Jo have released five studio albums including this yearâs release in Japan entitled âLove,â a U.S. version of the record is slated to hit stores later this year. In addition to K-Ci and Jo Joâs success as a duo, Devante âSwingâ who penned many of Jodeciâs hits created the âSwing Mob,â a collective groups of songwriters, artists and producers which now dominate todayâs charts. This âSwing Mobâ including Missy Elliott, Tim âTimbalandâ Mosley, and Melvin âMagooâ Barcliff worked under Devante and his team for a number of years, later spinning off successful acts including Playa, Tweet and Ginuwine in addition to their own successful projects. Although a reunion album has been talked about for many years, there is no word on whether that will come to fruition. One thing that is clear though, Jodeci left a permanent mark in the history of R&B and Hip Hop as well as a blueprint for R&B male artists to follow today. Without Jodeci, Usher might be sporting a button up sweater and tie, Pretty Ricky might not be singing about âCuddling Upâ and B2K would not have been âBump, Bump, Bumpinâ up the charts. Jokes aside though, what memories do you have of Jodeci or what is your favorite song?
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