Since we are in the middle of our seven day 90’s R&B artist challenge, I thought it would only be right to highlight this week’s artist showcase. When you think of an R&B group that is dynamic, raw and has a lot of edge, your mind instantly goes to Jodeci. The bad boys of R&B single-handily changed the way R&B was produced. Their sound was innovative and a clear distinction from their counterparts. Their songs were full of emotion with a rawness you hadn’t heard from any group before them. In addition to their unique sound, they also had a style that set them apart as well. While most groups donned suits and a polished look, Jodeci rocked hoodies, baggy jeans, snapbacks, and who can forget the infamous boots. It was this edge that pioneered a new era of 90’s R&B, one that continues to be emulated even today.
In 1989, Jodeci was formed with members K-Ci, JoJo, Mr. Dalvin, and Devantè Swing in North Carolina. What initially started out as duos of brothers, merged into the quartet we know and love. Signing to Uptown Records in 1991, the group had amazing success with their debut album Forever My Lady. It spawned three hit singles such as the title track, “Stay”, and the smash hit “Come and Talk to Me”. Each of these singles went on to reach No. 1 on the Billboard R&B and Hip-Hop charts. Jodeci’s debut album was certified multi-platinum. After the success of their debut album, Jodeci’s reached a level of new heights. They were everywhere, tours, magazines, on our favorite tv shows you name it. Who can forget the infamous Martin episode “Forever Sheneneh”? I still think of that episode every time I hear “Forever My Lady”. It’s a cult classic.
Jodeci’s next album was released in 1993. Diary of a Mad Band skyrocketed to the top of the charts peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 100 and taking the No. 1 spot on the Billboard R&B Albums charts. Building on the success of their first album, Diary of a Mad Band released singles hit singles “Feenin” and my personal favorite “Cry For You”, which reached the top of the R&B singles charts. While critics stated the album didn’t reach the same success as their debut, it still very successful having sold more than 4 million copies to date.
The Show, the After-party, the Hotel was released by Jodeci in 1995. Although the album topped the R&B albums charts and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 100, there was something about this album that didn’t quite resonate with the audience. The singles “Freek’n You, Love U For Life, and Get On Up” charted in the Top 10, but didn’t reach the same success as the previous ones. Many felt that this album seemed rushed or felt incomplete. Nonetheless, the album was certified platinum in 1995 and has since then gone on to sell five million copies.
Jodeci will always be known as one of the most innovative groups of 90’s R&B. They are usually the first group one thinks of when the genre is discussed. They have paved the way for many of today’s artists and will forever be a staple in our rotation. We salute you Jodeci.