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If Boyz II Men were portrayed as a clean-cut, wholesome R&B vocal group, then Jodeci's wild, sexual, bad-boy image represented the other side of the coin. Made up of two sets of brothers, the group's name was a consolidation of its members' names: Joel "JoJo" Hailey, Donald "DeVante Swing" and Dalvin DeGrate, and Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey. Natives of Charlotte, North Carolina, all four members toured the South as young boys singing gospel music, and even recorded albums. Both families belonged to the Pentecostal church, and the DeGrates' father was a minister. The boys were able to hear each other's gospel songs played on the radio, and were eventually introduced through girlfriends as teenagers. However, when they did meet, K-Ci was with a girl Dalvin had been dating, and a fight nearly broke out. The Hailey brothers and DeVante started hanging out together, partying and talking about making R&B records together, coming up with the name Jodeci at this time.
At age 16, DeVante ran away to Minneapolis to get a job in Prince's organization, but was refused. He returned to Charlotte, where he wrote a song and recorded JoJo singing it. The two planned on going to New York to shop the demo, but both K-Ci and Dalvin decided to tag along at the last minute. By the time they got to New York, they had demo recordings of 29 songs, which they brought to the offices of Uptown Entertainment. They were almost rejected, but rapper Heavy D overheard the tape and talked Uptown president Andre Harrell into hearing the group. Harrell was impressed, and just like that, Jodeci signed a recording contract. In May 1991, they released Forever My Lady, which featured the gold single "Come and Talk to Me" and went on to sell over three million copies. A minor feud resulted over the band's follow-up album, Diary of a Mad Band; Jodeci, unhappy with their treatment by Uptown, flirted with the idea of leaving for Dr. Dre's Death Row Records, which resulted in almost zero promotion for their new album. It didn't matter much, as Diary eventually went double platinum. The group's personal troubles got worse in 1993, when DeVante and K-Ci pleaded guilty to gun violations and sexual assault charges, but that wasn't all; shortly afterward, DeVante's house was robbed of over 160,000 dollars in jewelry and clothes as the singer was held with guns in his mouth and at the back of his head.
Jodeci's third album, The Show, The After Party, The Hotel, was released in July 1995. As with the group's first two albums, it topped Billboard's R&B chart and went platinum. DeVante was afforded the opportunity to work with Al Green, one of his idols, and wrote and produced the song "Could This Be the Love." More significantly, his Swing Mob collective directly and indirectly fostered the rise of such acts and producers as Sista, Mad Skillz, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Playa, Ginuwine, Aaliyah, and Tweet. K-Ci and JoJo, who had contributed hits as a duo to the soundtracks of Jason's Lyric and Bulletproof, scored a trio of Top Ten R&B hits during the tail-end of the decade and the early 2000s. A solo album from Dalvin, Met.A.Mor.Phic, was released on Maverick in 2000 but didn't fare well commercially.
During the remainder of the 2000s and the early 2010s, the members of Jodeci were relatively quiet. Over a decade separated K-Ci & JoJo's fourth and fifth albums, Emotional (2002) and My Brother's Keeper (2013), the latter of which followed a reality series for TV One. In January 2014, Timbaland revealed that he was working with Jodeci on material for the group's fourth album.
Jodeci (ō'-ě-ē), also known as, The Bad Boys of R&B, is an American R&B quartet. Possessed with a singing style that integrates R&B, soul, gospel, and new jack swing genres; they enjoyed chart-topping success during the early to mid 90’s Hip-Hop scene. Consisting of two sets of brothers from Charlotte, North Carolina: the Haileys (Joel; aka JoJo and Cedric; aka K-Ci) and the DeGrates (Donald; aka DeVante Swing and Dalvin aka; Mr. Dalvin); the group's name is a combination of the names from all four members (Jo-De-Ci). Fusing the feisty vocals of the Haileys', joined with the DeGrates' production-musical genius, earned the group three multiplatinum albums until their departure into occasional obscurity, lasting from 1995 to 2015. The Hailey brothers have also performed together, beyond Jodeci, as the duo, K-Ci & JoJo, to great acclaim and further chart success."Video: jodeci - 'every moment'". rap-up.com. Retrieved 26 February 2015. The Bad Boys of R&B are back. Flanagan, Sylvia, ed. (17 July 1995). "Jodeci helps spread message of safe sex to combat aids while on tour across u.s.". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 88 (10). ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved 25 February 2015. Shocked and horrified by the death of their musical associate, Jodeci, the multi-platinum bad boys of R&B, said it opened their eyes to the reality of the AIDS epidemic and they wanted to do something to help. Sinclair, Tom (December 1993). "Guns and roses". Vibe (Vibe Media Group) (4). ISSN 1070-4701. Today, their label, Uptown Records, encourages the groups's penchant for wearing boots and hip hop gear, and tacitly condones Jodeci's image as "the bad boys of R&B." THEBOOMBOX.COM. "K-ci, jojo reminisce on jodeci, 'bad boys of r&b' title". watchinga.com. Retrieved 25 February 2015. During their Jodeci days, K-Ci?and?JoJo were far removed from the Disney set. They were the “Bad Boys of R&B” after all. Ni'Kesia (24 February 2015). "Jodeci reveals details about new album, teases 'every moment' video". thisisrnb.com. Retrieved 25 February 2015. The original Bad Boys of R&B are back! Davis, Rea (24 February 2015). "Jodeci releases teaser for 'every video + new album moment'". allhiphop.com. Retrieved 25 February 2015. The Bad Boys of R&B aka iconic R&B group Jodeci King, Aliya (5 June 1999). "Mca's k-ci & jojo get...". Billboard magazine (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 111 (23): 65. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 28 February 2015. "K-ci and jojo hailey enjoy...". Jet Magazine (Johnson Publishing Company) 93 (1). 24 November 1997. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
ContentsHistory1.1 1983–1991: The Beginnings1.2 1990-1991: Forever My Lady1.3 1992-1993: Diary of a Mad Band1.4 1994-1995: The Show, the After Party, the Hotel1.5 2014-present: Return and The Past, the Present, the Future
1983–1991: The Beginnings
Rooted in a strong religious Pentecostal family, the Haileys, known then as “Little Cedric & the Hailey Singers” originally performed and recorded as a gospel group, releasing three albums ("Jesus Saves", "I’m Alright Now", and "God’s Blessings"). "Folks down South used to call K-Ci, the Michael Jackson of gospel". Separately, the DeGrates performed and toured in their own family's gospel group. The Haileys and the DeGrates made acquaintance through relationships the members were in at the time. In a 2011 interview, Dalvin remembered, "there was this girl gospel group called UNITY and then the Don DeGrate Delegation, which Devante and I played in. So we met some of the girls from UNITY and their names were Barbara Jean and Poo-Poo... Well, Poo-Poo was dating K-Ci before we even met. Barbara Jean would always tell us that we need to meet K-Ci and Jojo." A short time after meeting, the brothers started living together, and soon after formed the singing act.
At 16 years of age, group founder DeVante Swing ran away from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, en route to Minneapolis, Minnesota's, Paisley Park Studio’s, to audition with the legendary musician, Prince. “I was up at Paisley Park every day begging for a job, asking people to listen to my tape. The receptionist kept saying she couldn’t help me". The rejection from Prince motivated DeVante; "...So I took my ass right back to Charlotte, N.C. I wrote a song about a girl I liked..." Upon arriving back to Charlotte, North Carolina, DeVante continued to record with the Hailey brothers, eventually forming Jodeci.
With only $300, the members drove to New York City with a 29 song, 3 tape demo, anticipating a signing deal with Uptown Records. Upon arriving to New York, and without the knowledge of the whereabouts of MCA's subsidiary Uptown Records, the group grabbed a phone book to find the company’s address, located on Clinton Street in Brooklyn. DeVante later recalled, "We didn't have an appointment, I didn't even know who Andre Harrell was, but I knew what Uptown was, and I wanted us to be there." They entered the company, initially being denied an audience until Uptown Records CEO, Andre Harrell, was summoned in to hear the demo. In skepticism of the high quality production, Harrell requested the group to perform. Jeff Redd recalls, “We went to the office that they were in, and Andre asked them to sing again. When they did, we were all blown away." Mr. Dalvin remembered, "We sung ‘Come and Talk to Me’ and ‘I’m Still Waiting’ to him live." Hip hop artist and record producer Heavy D overheard the performance and consulted Harrell. Dalvin reminisced, "The next thing we knew he was taking us out to dinner and he signed us to a deal that same day. It was pretty cool.”
Jodeci was assigned to Uptown’s, then intern, Sean "Puffy" Combs, who took on the task of developing the new act. Counteracting the refined style of acts like Milli Vanilli and Boyz II Men, Sean Combs developed the group's “Bad Boy” image by perpetuating the hip-hop fashion (baseball caps and Timberland boots) the group is known for. Harrell told Combs, "Dress Jodeci the same way you dress in the office." The group was introduced by singing background vocals for rapper Father MC, on the song "Treat Them Like They Want to Be Treated". Jodeci made their live performance debut on the June 11, 1991 episode of Soul Train.
1990-1991: Forever My Lady
Landing a recording deal in 1991, the group released their debut album Forever My Lady that same year. Writer Ronin Ro maintained, “They no longer resembled gospel singers… Puffy also asked them to build their mystique by posing for photos with their backs to the camera, which he borrowed from Guy’s stage show.” The album’s seductive energy showcased DeVante’s songwriting, establishing a uniqueness in his production that mixed old-fashioned soul singing with New Jack Swing, creating a production of great boldness. It featured the number 1 R&B singles "Forever My Lady," "Stay," and "Come and Talk to Me." Mr. Dalvin recalls how the album Forever My Lady was created, “The last version of the album that was released only took us a week to finish because we had already written the songs. It was about getting our sounds right because the vocals were already done. It was us going back in the studio recreating the beats and the melodies... Most of the songs were written before we left North Carolina. My brother was 16 and I was 14 when we wrote the songs..." The album went on to sell over three million copies.
1992-1993: Diary of a Mad Band
In 1993, A minor feud resulted over the band's second album, Diary of a Mad Band; Jodeci, unhappy with their treatment by Uptown, flirted with the idea of leaving for Death Row Records, which resulted in almost zero promotion for the album. Reaching number 3 on the Billboard 200 and number-one on the R&B album chart, where it stayed for two weeks, spawning the #1 R&B hit "Cry for You"; "Feenin'" and "What About Us". "Diary of a Mad Band" eventually went double platinum.
1994-1995: The Show, the After Party, the Hotel
Jodeci's third album, The Show, the After Party, the Hotel, was released in July 1995, reaching the second spot on the Billboard 200 making it the group's highest peaking release and topping the U.S. R&B Albums chart. By September 1995, it was certified platinum in sales by the RIAA, after sales exceeding one million copies in the United States. The album contained the Top 40 hits "Freek'n You", “Love U 4 Life" and “Get on Up".
2014-present: Return and The Past, the Present, the Future
In February 2014, Timbaland revealed that he was in the process of working with Jodeci on their comeback album.
On November 7, 2014, Jodeci reunited and performed a medley of their classic songs at the 2014 Soul Train Awards. The performance also included a snippet of a brand-new single titled "Nobody Wins", which was released on December 22, 2014. The song is the first single released by Jodeci in over 18 years. The last song released by the group was "Get on Up", in 1996. Prior to the performance, the group had not taken the stage together in the U.S. since 2006.
On January 28, 2015, a second single titled "Every Moment" was released. Also in that same month, it was announced by Epic Records that Jodeci had been signed to the label to release their new album.ref>Bristout, Ralph. "Jodeci Signs To Epic Records, Preps New Album". revolt.tv. Revolt Television. Retrieved 2015-01-31. </ref> Timbaland, who recently brought his Mosley Music Group over to Epic, will work on the album. Their fourth album, The Past, The Present, The Future, was released on March 31, 2015, which is their first album in 20 years."Albums". amazon.com. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Darden, B (3 November 1984). "Gospel lectern". books.google.com. Retrieved 1 March 2015. Smith, D (August 1995). "Tuff love". Vibe magazine (Vibe Media Group) (6): 66. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Folks down South... Williams, C. (1 Nov 2011). "Dalvin degrate recalls...". soulculture.com. Retrieved 4 March 2015. there was this girl gospel group called UNITY... "Biography". www.myhot1065.com. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Bogdanov, Val (2003). All Music Guide to Soul. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 368. Retrieved 2 March 2015. "About jodeci". mtv.com. Retrieved 2 March 2015. S, Danyel (1 August 1995). "Tuff love". books.google.com. Vibe magazine. Retrieved 2 March 2015. I was up at Paisly Park... Smith, D. (Aug 1995). "Tuff love". books.google.com/. Vibe Media Group. Retrieved 2 March 2015. ...So I took my ass... Whitlock, Jason (10 April 1992). "Music". articles.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Jones, J. (1 January 2014). "Sean "diddy" combs". Enslow Publishers, Inc. p. 30. Retrieved 2 March 2015. We didn't have an appointment... Gonzalez, M. (18 September 2013). "K-ci & jojo talk the history of a mad band". ebony.com. Emony magazine. Retrieved 2 March 2015. “We went to the office... Williams, Chris (1 Nov 2011). "Dalvin degrate recalls making...". soulculture.com. SoulCulture. Retrieved 2 March 2015. We sung ‘Come and... Lazerine, D; Lazerine, C (29 Feb 2008). The Ultimate Guide to Hip-Hop and R&B. Grand Central Publishing. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Williams, C. (1 November 2011). "Dalvin degrate recalls...". soulculture.com. Soul Culture. Retrieved 2 March 2015. The next thing we knew... Ro, Ronin (2 Feb 2002). "Bad boy". books.google.com/. Simon and schuster. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Charnas, D. (1 November 2011). "The big payback". books.google.com. Penguin. Retrieved 2 March 2015. "Dress Jodeci the same... "Inductee jodeci". northcarolinamusichalloffame.org. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Ro, R. (2 Feb 2002). "Bad boy". books.google.com. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved 3 March 2015. They no longer resembled... Willians, C. (1 November 2011). "Dalvin degrate recalls making...". soulculture.com. Retrieved 4 March 2015. The last version of the album that was released... "Timbaland Is Working On A New Jodeci Album". "Jodeci Debuts New Single "Every Moment"". epicrecords.com. Epic Records. Retrieved 2015-01-31. Jean Baptiste, Jr., Renaud. "Jodeci’s New Single “Every Moment” Proves Their Reunion Was Worth The 20 Year Wait". vh1.com. VH-1. Retrieved 2015-01-31.
Influences and followers
Most of the elements that were eventually combined to form what became known as the "Jodeci style" originated with the work of new jack swing pioneers Keith Sweat and Teddy Riley, with an important influence being the work of Riley's three-man group Guy. Other influences include the works of Bobby Womack, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Bobby Brown, and New Edition. The group received high acclaim with Stevie Wonder's 1981 song, Lately, being the one of the groups highest peaking hit, reaching number four, on the Billboard Hot 100.
Artists and producers heavily influenced by Jodeci were those were directly or indirectly associated with them, including Mary J. Blige, Dru Hill and a number of the members of DeVante's Swing Mob collective who he discovered and nurtured: Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Nealante, Magoo, Ginuwine, Stevie J, Playa (who R&B singer & producer Static Major was a part of with Smoke E. Digglera, Suga (who R&B act Tweet was a part of), and Darryl Pearson.
The R&B group II D Extreme's demo deal which led them to getting signed was in part responsible by DeVante, who was a friend of band member D'Extra Wiley. While hanging out in a hotel after a Jodeci show in Washington D.C., D'Extra asked DeVante to check out his new group, outfitted with Johnny Gill's brother Randy. That impromptu audition for DeVante led them to New York and meeting with Devante's consultants and business partners who owned Savage records, and imprint on RCA records, then on to Gasoline Alley/MCA records.
Mariah Carey repeatedly mentions Jodeci in her song "The Impossible" from her album Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, in which she sampled "Forever My Lady". She also samples Jodeci's "Freek 'n You" in her song "Makin' It Last All Night" featuring JD. Additionally, she sampled a line in "Bring On Da Funk" in her song "Don't Stop (Funkin' 4 Jamaica)" on her album Glitter.
Drake and J. Cole released a song in June 2013 entitled "Jodeci Freestyle", paying tribute to the group and citing them as a direct influence. The song was released online via the OVO Blog. Drake released a song titled "How About Now" on October 19 which samples another popular Jodeci song, "My Heart Belongs To U".
Jodeci's last manager was Damon "Smooth" Hart from Newark, New Jersey who is associated with their former manager Bert Padell.Smith, Danyel (August 1995). "Tuff love". Vibe (Vibe Media Group) (6): 67. ISSN 1070-4701. Retrieved 26 February 2015. Only a song not written by DeVante-the group's cover of Stevie Wonder's "Lately"-ever made the Top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart Bronson, Fred (12 June 1993). "Charts proclaim scot duo's comeback". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 105 (24): 88. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 26 February 2015.