by Kareem Taylor
We’ve seen our fair share of influential R&B groups – from the early days of the Jackson 5, to DeBarge, to Jodeci, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Guy, New Edition, Boyz II Men, and the ’90s era with Shai, H-Town, Soul 4 Real, Blackstreet, Dru Hill, 112, Jagged Edge, and a host of others. As we neared the 2000s, more groups appeared, but this generation didn’t seem to fare as well as their predecessors. And, many a good group flew under the radar.
After a recent conversation with Slim from 112, wer’e left thinking that it seems like R&B groups just can’t seem to stay together, forever. Someone has to go solo. Someone isn’t happy with management. Someone came up on the short end of the money stick.
Here’s our list of five R&B Groups we wish would’ve stayed around just a little bit longer:
Who can forget the two dudes who proclaimed “No more shopping sprees!”? Nicknames? Davinch and Chi. In 2000, they released their debut album, Love Crimes. Their most popular single, “No More”, appeared on this album, peaking at # 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group released their final album in 2010, appropriately titled, The Final Chapter. Drat. They could actually harmonize.
They released just one album, but their hit single “Get Gone” had us relating to the story – which encouraged us to move on from those that have caused ruckus within our life. The eponymous album reached gold status. Sheesh! What happened to them?
The summer of 1999. That’s when a little-known Philadelphia-bred R&B quartet, No Question, came on the scene. Comprised of Damon Core, Dante Massey, Tommy Blackwell, and Nicholas Johnson, they released their biggest hit to date, “I Don’t Care”. The song stressed the importance of trusting your gut instinct, and ignoring what the outsiders say, when it comes to who you have love for. The group toured with such acts as Jay-Z and Destiny’s Child. Again. What happened to them?
Once touted as “the 21st Century Jodeci” by University Records president, Haqq Islam, the guy who signed them, this quartet found their single “Lifetime” at #1 on BET’s 106th & Park. A year before, Jagged Edge released their most successful song to date “Let’s Get Married”, and I’m so sure we needed another group to follow up. Prophet Jones was that group. After this single, however, we never heard much from Prophet Jones afterwards. While Jagged Edge marched on for a little longer.
With R. Kelly & Jazze Pha producing your debut album, is it even possible to lose? The youngest of this list, ATL is a group straight out of the dirty-dirty, Atlanta, Georgia. In 2003, Will, Tré, L-Rock and Danger came on the scene with The ATL Project, which spawned two singles “Calling All Girls” and “Make It Up With Love”. The album, however, was released internationally, but never released in the U.S.
A NEW DAY (26?)
The “boy band” art form, however, has not totally died out. Groups like Day 26, Hamilton Park (pictured at top), and even the little guys, Mindless Behavior, are prying open the doors of R&B to give us that feeling of “Group Goodness” we all love. Check out a current hit below from Day 26 – “Have You Made Love Lately?” (Well, have you?)
Do you have an R&B group you’d like to see get back together for one more album?