From the moment Jagged Edge stepped onto the scene in 1998 with voices like silk mixed with the ruggedness of the dirty south they created a lane in R&B music that no other group can master. Melodically speaking to the souls of many women around the world in songs such as “Promise”, “Let’s Get Married”, “He Can’t Love You”, “Walk Outta Heaven”, “Good Luck Charm”, and I can’t forget the song that helped many men express how they felt about that special woman, “I Gotta Be”. After 11 years in this business they are re-structuring, re-grouping, and re-focusing to bring us a new sound into a new age in music. With a new label, a new album, and a new single I had plenty to talk about with the men that gave us A Jagged Era, J.E Heartbreak, Jagged Little Thrill, Hard, Jagged Edge and Baby Making Project. With two platinum albums under their belts and a catalog that speaks volumes Jagged Edge is a mainstay in R&B music.
Singersroom: So you guys have been missing for about three years after your sixth studio album “Baby Making Project” came out in 2007. What have you all been doing?
Jagged Edge: A lot of times people think you’re missing but if you’re out doing shows, you still in front of your fans you not really missing you getting little money. Also a lot of it was just contractual stuff, trying to get our record deals right, our label situation right, connect with Slip-N-Slide and Ted Lucas. It was really a natural part of the process but I guess to the public we are missing for a while.
Singersroom: Yes, because when people don’t hear new music they’re asking “Where’s Jagged Edge? What are they doing?”
Jagged Edge: Yea, I understand it but when it comes down to it we never take a break. We’re always either on the road, in the studio or in your face its one or the other.
Singersroom: Ok, now in a recent interview Brandon you were quoted saying that you all have closed the door permanently on working with Jermaine Dupri again. Is that correct?
Jagged Edge: I would never say never; but where we are right now yea. We are not necessarily looking to do anything with Jermaine. It’s nothing against him I think we just kind of all grown in different directions and I think that the direction he’s in is cool for him and the direction we’re in is cool for us. But I would never say never, no.
Singersroom: What would you say to people who believe that Dupri was largely responsible for the success of your career?
Jagged Edge: I guess I would ask them, what you consider a large part. I know for a fact Jagged Edge, we’ve written every album, and every hit record we ever had we penned it. Sold those records you know JD produced some of those records he did it. We would never knock what JD’s role was in making Jagged Edge. You know he signed us. Honestly he changed our lives and I think coming in the game it was like he showed us so much faith that he had in us by letting us write all of our records on our whole album where before us no other So So Def artist had done that. So we have to always thank him for the role he played. I don’t ever want to diminish that or anything like that. Clearly if anybody reads album credits and publishing information they see that we wrote all the songs.
Singersroom: I noticed that in May it was publicly announced that you guys signed to Slip-N-Slide records. For a label that mostly has experience with hip hop artist what do you think they can do for an already platinum selling R&B group such as yourselves?
Jagged Edge: Honestly we looked at it like we didn’t really care what the venture is. A true business man knows the key to success has to do with the energy you put towards it. We look at this industry like sports sometimes and Slip-N-Slide has the hustler’s mentality. Always hustling for the artist, the artist stay on the radio, and I think Jagged Edge we always been a radio group. No matter who’s pushing us. We were never really huge in print, never really huge on TV. Just pretty big on radio so from those aspects Slip-N-Slide was very attractive and that’s the way we looked at it.
Singersroom: “Tip of My Tongue” is the lead single and it’s featuring label-mate Trina and then Gucci Mane also. Was this a label decision or were these just two artists that you guys always wanted to collaborate with?
Jagged Edge: We worked with Trina before so anytime we do something its cool its fun, we been friends for a long time. Gucci Mane he’s actually from the same side of Atlanta as we’re from. We’re from the eastside better known as Decatur so we’ve known him for a while as well. We like to let the music speak in terms of what else you should do to it after you write it or produce it. Just listening to the record it sounded like some down south rapper should be on it. We got one on the label, and Gucci Mane is a friend so. It was kind of a label decision but they both are artist that we would work with.
Singersroom: When you think of Jagged Edge you think of R&B ballads infused with the confidence and swag that Hip Hop carries. Tell me what direction are you taking with this new album?
Jagged Edge: I don’t think it’s one clear direction because in terms of the songs on the album there’s a lot of different things that will be covered. But if you have to say it’s one direction it would be to make any new listener and younger person in this generation that’s not quite familiar with Jagged Edge more familiar with us. Capture a new audience as well as infused what it is that we do with the natural progression in music. Production takes a turn every other month it seems like so when you haven’t been out for a while its always exciting to combine what people typically know you for with new elements of music that are kind of trendy or what’s going on right now.
Singersroom: I’m a huge Jagged Edge supporter so I love the ballads. Is there any “Slow Grind” music on the album? Let me tell you what “Slow Grind” music is. Slow Grind music is when I don’t want to make love but I don’t want you to beat it up either. It’s riding the wave from the beginning to the climatic point till wave falls flat.
Jagged Edge: (laughs) Oh wow! You know what honestly in the past some of the songs we put out shouldn’t have even been the “Slow Grind” music in terms of topically.
Singersroom: But we love it.
Jagged Edge: No I mean (laughs) we think it was because melodically you can make a person feel a certain way. It doesn’t always have to do with what the lyrics are saying per say; and sometimes, it makes it essential to have a hit record. A lot of our older songs were big meaningful type records. Right now where we are at it is more playful, it is more sexual. Not sexual in a freaky sense. It’s not an R. Kelly album by any means but it’s definitely more suggestive more provocative, and definitely more grind-able however you say it. (laughs)
Singersroom: That’s right Slow Grind, Slow Grind
Jagged Edge: Definitely (laugh)
Singersroom: Is there a release date scheduled?
Jagged Edge: Release dates; they change every day so we’re not sure. We are sure it’s the first quarter in between January and March of 2010.
Singersroom: There have been a lot of new artists that came out and new R&B groups. Who is Jagged Edge feeling right now out of the new R&B groups and single artists that are out there?
Jagged Edge: Wow you know what we don’t know of any R&B groups honestly unless we just missing them. There are a few R&B artists that we like. We like different people for different reasons. We like The Dream’s songwriting. Its fresh and its new and its innovative but he could go to work on the vocals a little bit. We’re not knocking him that’s just our opinion. (laughs) He’s not so new but we like Bobby Valentino. He does a lot with his voice and he makes records that he should be making. He fits right in the middle of the new wave artist and the traditional artist. He has the traditional R&B mixed with the new stuff going on. Those are out favorites.
Singersroom: How do you feel about Trey Songz?
Jagged Edge: Oh yea we like Trey, I’m sorry. We should have said him first. We like Jazmine Sullivan, Keri Hilson she is an awesome righter too. There’s a lot of new talent out there.
Singersroom: After eleven years of being in this industry what do you think Jagged Edge can offer to the game?
Jagged Edge: We offer what we always offer. We always represented that R&B singer that puts their life into their music. When you hear Jagged Edge records you’re hearing our story. It’s not Jermaine’s story or some song writer’s story. It’s somebody in this group’s story, or it’s something that happened to them, or some aspiration that one of us might have. We offer a sense of truth in our music. We offer a sense of competence in our music. You’re listening to some competent artists some of the best who have done it, in our opinion. In this new generation it’s very innovative in songwriting, very innovative in production, but vocally it leaves a little bit to be desired and we represent that. We could show some of these young acts the way.
—— By: Interview By Summer Terry