Black Music Month

Playtyme Is Over: The Legacy of Immature/IMX

In the 1970s we had the Jackson 5; 1980s New Edition, and early 2000s B2K. In the 90s the premier pre-teen and teenage phenomenon was Immature, later known as IMX.

Since their 1992 debut “On Our Worst Behavior,” Immature has grown up with today’s rising R&B class of 80s babies including Omarion, Mario, Trey Songz, Pretty Ricky, Ciara, Fantasia, and more. With that said, everyone from Chris Brown to Usher has crossed paths with the 90s trio who donned oversized overalls, eye patches, permed to curly hair cuts and attitude that made every girl scream the name Immature and every guy squirm while secretly trying to emulate the trio.

With nicknames like “Batman,” “LDB” and “Romeo” Immature broke into the industry much younger that their predecessors like Frankie Lymon and Teenagers and New Edition. In fact, most of the group was ten years old at the time of their first album release. While the trio has released a total of six albums since 1992, Immature truly broke ground with mainstream America on 1994’s “Playtyme Is Over”.

When you think of 1994, the names Tevin Campbell, Mariah Carey, Brandy and Toni Braxton reign supreme. Of course, there was also R. Kelly’s meteoric classic “12 Play” and Brandy’s self titled debut. While R. Kelly had teenage and adult women screaming over “Bump N’ Grind” and Brandy was moving up the charts with “Baby” and “I Wanna Be Down” Immature was taking both Hollywood and R&B music by storm. Part of the trio made their acting debut in the classic flick “House Party 3” as Kid’s trouble starting and wise cracking nephews. Later that year, they were tapped to present at the first annual Soul Train Music Awards, sharing the stage with Toni Braxton, Snoop Dogg and Patti Labelle. But it was their album, that made Immature popular beyond the screen.

Led by “Never Lie,” a single released on now obsolete cassette tapes, “Playtyme Is Over” made its way to stores in August of 1994. Despite competition from their superiors and Brandy’s massive debut (which went 4X Platinum), Immature’s second album was certified Gold in just under five months.

Deemed cute and acceptable to adults and parents, because their lyrics were kid friendly, Immature embodied the popular phrase “Little Man” in more ways than one. Notably their image, from their cloths to hair and earings, made the group stand out. In the video for “Never Lie” (pictured), Immature’s Marques Houston, nicknamed Batman, and his boys LDB and Romeo donned oversized outfits (meant for men) with 90s era circular tinted shades (sans Dwayne Wayne of “A Different World”) crying out and apologetically singing “I will never lie again”. The formula worked and took Immature straight to no.5 on the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart and up to no.3 on the Rhythmic Top 40. But the ride didn’t stop there, Immature went on to release the infectious single “Constantly” and it too reached the Billboard’s Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip Hop singles chart. While “Constantly” failed to reach the top 10 (it reached no.16 and no.12 respectively), it remains a favorite amongst Immature fans. Sadly, these were the last singles to reach the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 from “Playtyme Is Over”. Another single titled “I Don’t Mind” reached no.92 on the Hot 100.

Fifteen years later, the records “Never Lie” and “Constantly” are still classic amongst 90s R&B fans, especially those of us who were in primary or secondary school. All you have to do is pop in an Immature song or drop a video (below) and the memories of eight grade dances, elementary and middle school love, and sold out Immature concerts come to mind. Therefore, Immature’s “Playtyme Is Over” owns its spot as one of the 90s most recognized albums and more important, it helped to establish Immature’s (IMX) legacy.

As for the members of Immature, who changed their name to IMX in 1999, they’ve all moved forward both in front of and behind the mic. The group’s lead singer, Marques Houston (aka Batman), has graced both television and Hollywood as well as the R&B charts with his presence since the group parted ways (musically) in 2002. His singles “Naked,” “Circle” and “All Because of You” have all reached the top 40 on the R&B charts.

Jerome Jones (aka Romeo), released a solo album in 2004 titled “Food For Thought” and has been featured on Houston’s “Naked” album and films like “You Got Served (2004)”.

As for LDB, real name Kelton Kessee, he has reportedly been working behind the scenes as a producer.

After “Playtyme Is Over” Immature went on to release the 1995 album “We Got It,” 1997s “The Journey,” 1999s “Introducing IMX” and 2001s “IMX”.

Take a trip back to the 90s with Immature’s hit singles “Never Lie” and “Constantly” below:

—— By: Njai Joszor

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top