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They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Episode 40: Jodeci - Don't Talk, Just Listen

We've wanted to do this episode for a while now and it's finally here. We're talking about the bad boys of R&B, Jodeci. This is one of our favorite groups, so this was a *must do* episode. We discuss their early days as gospel artists, the writing, production and backing vocals that they did for people like Tevin Campbell, Al B. Sure! and Ralph Tresvant before Forever My Lady was released, and more!

Transcript

Miguel: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. And today we're going to finally talk about my favorite male group of all time.

Miguel: We've been talking about doing Jodeci since our second episode so that's almost two years now.

Christina: So I don't know why it took us so long but we're here now.

Miguel: I don't know. And we talked about 'em a lot throughout these two years.

Christina: Yes. But today is the official Jodeci episode.

Miguel: Yes, finally.

Christina: Let's do it.

Miguel: Let's get into it.

Christina: So let's start from the beginning with Little Cedric & the Hailey Singers.

Miguel: Yeah I don't know if you listened to any of their music.

Christina: I did not 'cause I mean I don't listen to gospel.

Miguel: Me neither but it's a treat.

Christina: Is it?

Miguel: It is. It's very entertaining.

Christina: So I'd never heard of them until you know, just finding out about Jodeci stuff. But apparently they had like three albums. And I guess they were at least well known in the gospel circles. I'm gonna get off topic for a little bit already.

Miguel: Alright.

Christina: Right away. I saw a podcast with Woody[1] from Dru Hill and he was saying how his mom was a huge Little Cedric fan. And so he had like brought K-Ci over to the house one day or something and his mom was just going crazy like, oh it's Little Ceddy!

Miguel: That is hilarious.

Christina: So I was like, Okay, okay, okay. I, I only know them by name.

Miguel: Yeah, I've never heard any of the music either until today. But I had to see what Little Cedric sounded like so I pulled some of it up and like I said it's very entertaining.

Christina: So it seems as if Little Cedric and the Hailey Singers had fans. I'm not sure if the Don DeGrate Delegation had fans?

Miguel: Apparently they had a hit too.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: I looked that up and they had a little minor hit but I don't think that Dalvin and Donald Jr., who we now know as DeVanté, I don't think they were actually in the group, I think they just toured with them. They were backing musicians.

Christina: So yeah. Both sets of brothers were in these gospel groups when they were kids and they met through a mutual girl gospel group called Unity. And so one of the girls that K-Ci was dating suggested that they hook up and K-Ci thought that Dalvin was trying to dirty mack on his girl and pulled a gun on him.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: So, needless to say they beefed for a little bit. But DeVanté continued to hang out with the Hailey brothers and kind of like play around with music and stuff. And actually that makes sense why the name is Jodeci because I always thought the De stood for DeGrate because Dalvin and Donald aka DeVanté—

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Last name is DeGrate. But because Dalvin wasn't really part of the group when they came up with the name so it was like Jo for JoJo, De for DeVanté and Ci for K-Ci. And then I guess when they officially made him part of the group it's like, it works.

Miguel: They could have named it Jodecida.

Christina: Lucky their last name is DeGrate.

Miguel: Yeah, it works both ways.

Christina: And that Dalvin's name starts with the D at least, so it kind of all worked out in the end.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But I just can't believe that a generation of DeVantés were born. And this man's name's not even DeVanté!

Miguel: It's not DeVanté.

Christina: His name is Donald.

Miguel: He's Donald Jr.

Christina: Donald Jr., and—

Miguel: Yet there's all these DeVantés running around in this world.

Christina: I assumed for a long time that DeVanté was actually his name.

Miguel: Who wouldn't think it was not his name?

Christina: I don't even know how I found out, but one day I was like, Donald? What you mean your name's Donald?

So I've watched a whole bunch of interviews so I've heard them tell this story at least six times. So basically if you don't already know, they got their start after they worked out their beefs and stuff. I mean they technically didn't even work it out when they decided to drive up to New York. But the infamous story is they were just in North Carolina like, we need to go to New York and find a record deal. $300. Drove to New York, looked up Uptown MCA in the Yellow Pages because there was a bunch of artists on that label that they liked. The Yellow Pages. Got lost 'cause they'd never been to New York for like, 12 hours or something. And finally—

Miguel: And didn't they get there like, at the end of the day, or something?

Christina: Yeah they got there when it was closed and they were just like, we're here to see somebody. And they're like, who? And they're like, I don't know—

Miguel: Your A&R.

Christina: Whoever can like, listen to our music. They probably didn't even know what A&R meant at the time. But the story goes that whoever the A&R at the time finally listened to their demo and didn't like it. But then Heavy D happened to overhear it and convinced Andre Harrell to hear them sing live.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And then, long story short, they got signed.

Miguel: I saw Dalvin saying that the guy who was listening to it actually fell asleep.

Christina: Yes!

Miguel: He fell asleep.

Christina: He fell asleep.

Miguel: While they were in there. Yeah, that meeting led to them being signed immediately. So they went from a man falling asleep on them to being signed—

Christina: Immediately.

Miguel: By the end of the day.

Christina: By the president.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, Diddy was an intern at the time and then he eventually started working with them and helped them craft their image, which leads us to their first album.

Miguel: Forever My Lady. I was watching one of Dalvin's many interviews. He was saying that five of the songs on the album were on their actual demo. So imagine this. You have a demo tape that a man fell asleep on. And they weren't the finished versions of these songs but it had "Stay", "Come and Talk To Me," "Forever My Lady," "I'm Still Waiting," and "U and I" on it.

Christina: And "Love U 4 Life"—

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: Was on that original 29 track demo.

Miguel: And this man fell asleep.

Christina: Maybe he listened to the other 20-something songs?

Miguel: I guess. That is a lot of songs to listen to but you could see the potential there.

Christina: In theory.

Miguel: I would think.

Christina: I'm just—I'm a little dumbfounded by it. Obviously Heavy D and Andre Harrell thought otherwise. And that so many of these songs ended up making it onto one of the most classic R&B albums ever.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: It's just weird. I don't know.

Miguel: But with that demo, I want to know what happened to DeVanté's high school girlfriend, Monica.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Because these songs were apparently written about her. And they were dating in high school. And she was joining the Army. So he was writing all these songs for her and gave her a cassette and has never seen her since, according to Dalvin. So Monica has the original Jodeci demo tape in her possession. Or maybe she just threw away when she got to Fort Benning or wherever she was going.

Christina: If she threw it away, maaaaaan, if that were me? I'm sure she's moved on and this and that but like, that's something you wanna keep.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Of course in hindsight. She could have just been like, fuck this guy, I'm tired of him.

Miguel: Exactly. And now she's two years later, where's that goddamn box?!

Christina: Cause in another interview I read where DeVanté is actually talking a lot, he's talking about hanging out with the Hailey brothers and messing around with a lot of girls, so, you know, I'm sure that relationship was probably fraught and them being teenagers doesn't help.

Miguel: Right. And speaking of them being teenagers and being high school students he wrote these songs as a 16 and 17 year old.

Christina: Which is crazy. "So you're having my baby..." I mean...

Miguel: Well that line came from Al B. Sure! though.

Christina: Oh, okay.

Miguel: That one was added later

Christina: Right.

Miguel: But the rest of the song had been written.

Christina: It's still a lot of yearning love for a teenager.

Miguel: Yeah. Well everybody that I've seen speak about DeVanté talk about how he's a genius when it comes to music.

Christina: Well he was saying how when he wrote "I Don't Wanna Do Anything" for Mary and K-Ci, he literally wrote it on the spot. He said Mary came into the studio and was like, where's the lyrics? And he's like, just gimme a minute.

Miguel: That's ridiculous.

Christina: And it's just crazy because you know Mary and K-Ci were dating at the time and he managed to like, write this song that sounds so passionate between two people who are actually together.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: On the spot, pretty much.

Miguel: Hey that's, when you're good at what you do, you're able to do that.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Well I know that they had done the album three times and Andre Harrell kept telling him that he didn't like how the sounds were. But he wouldn't tell them what that meant exactly. So they're like, what does that mean? So they go back in and redo it. I still don't like these sounds. Like, what are you talking about?

So, Al B. Sure! was brought in to kind of just organize the process. Because they were talented. They had the songs written. They had this virtuoso who could play any instrument that he wants here and they sounded good but they just couldn't get the production right. So that's when Al B. Sure! comes along. Once he came in, Dalvin said that the album was recorded within a week. Because they had all of the vocals done. They had the songs written, and they just needed somebody to tell them what to do. And that was the end result.

So you got these 17 year olds and a—two 17 year olds and two 16 year olds writing these songs and performing these songs. And in the meantime they're writing songs for Al B. Sure! They're doing stuff for Tevin Campbell, Ralph Tresvant. Singing on Father MC songs. Yeah I just think it's funny they were around all of this stuff way before their album even came out. Going back and listening to Tevin's first album, you can hear them all over it.

Christina: I'm gonna have to listen to it again.

Miguel: Yeah, they're on "Alone With You," "Just Ask Me To" and "Goodbye." Like, "Goodbye" you can really hear them.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: The other two you can barely hear them, but "Goodbye," they're really prominent.

Christina: Well just going back to the idea of them being teenagers when they came up with this. The first five songs on this album is perfection.

Miguel: It's true.

Christina: Like how? You remember yourself when you were 16?

Miguel: Yeah. I was listening to this. Basically.

Christina: Well, they were helping you out with your—

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: Your little exploits.

Miguel: Exactly. So my rule for this album is this. Put it in. First words you hear from them is "Don't talk, just listen..."

Christina: You're like, all right.

Miguel: All right, cool. Let me see what you got. And then from the first song to the end of side one—because this is when we were still buying cassettes. You would let that shit rock.

Christina: Yes 'cause you had "Stay," and then "Come and Talk To Me." I'm doing this off of memory now.

Miguel: Let's see if you can get the last three.

Christina: Okay "Stay," I should know because I listen to this all the time.

Miguel: You do.

Christina: "Stay," "Come and Talk To Me," "Forever My Lady," "I'm Still Waiting," "U and I."

Miguel: Yep. That is it.

Christina: Why did I act like I didn't know?

Miguel: You would rock those first five, flip your cassette over, and for me after a while, I would fast forward through all the uptempo stuff when they're trying to be Teddy Riley and Guy and get to "Xs We Share." End it off. Start it over. Once I got the cd, I was skipping that shit completely. I go straight to "Xs We Share."

Christina: I think for me, the uptempo stuff at the time, like, their ballads are obviously stronger, but at the time it was fine. Like, now they sound dated. But I know all those songs. I was just singing "My Phone" to you.

Miguel: You were.

Christina: Just before we start recording. You don't know any of those words.

Miguel: I don't anymore.

Christina: I know all of those words. But, if they wanted an uptempo release they should have went with "Xs We Share" over "Gotta Love".

Miguel: That's not really uptempo though.

Christina: I mean it's uptempo for them.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I didn't even know that "Gotta Love" was their first single.

Miguel: It was.

Christina: To me, it was "Forever My Lady." I know "Gotta Love" because I listened to the album. But that's something I found out like, late in life. And not only that, today is the first day I even saw the video.

Miguel: For "Gotta Love"?

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Oh.

Christina: I just looked it up today and I was like, look at them dancing their ass off. It looked like a Bobby Brown video.

Miguel: It was.

Christina: Which is funny because this video came out in '91. And I actually looked up Bobby Brown, I was like okay it looks like "Humpin' Around." It looks like "Get Away." It looks like "That's the Way Love Is." And all three of those videos have elements of the dance styles and the styling of their clothes. I'm like, what? I was not expecting this. And they did this like two, three years before Bobby? I was like, okay, maybe this new jack swing stuff would've worked for them if I actually saw the video.

Miguel: I didn't get into it though

Christina: I liked it more seeing the video. But the video version was a little more up tempo too.

Miguel: Yeah, I just couldn't get into their new jack swing stuff. I try and I liked—Guy.

Christina: The thing is their new jack swing stuff sounds like, you know how we talk about like the second and third iterations—

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Of you know, a group does something really well and then these second, third iterations come out. So it's not that it's bad. It just doesn't sound like they're the first iteration.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Whereas, their ballads was like, we haven't heard anything like this.

Miguel: Exactly. So much so that they start the album off with ballads. Usually the uptempo stuff leads the album. It's side A.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And the B side is the slow stuff. They did the opposite.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Which was a good call on their part.

Christina: Do you think they meant to do that?

Miguel: I don't know.

Christina: Considering...well I know that "Gotta Love" was kind of a battle in terms of it being the first release but I don't know if it was like, the record company hated it or they hated it—

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And didn't want to release it, I can't remember which one it was. But, I know that it didn't do well and it was sort of like, uh oh, now what? And then "Forever My Lady" came out and from then on it was like, all right, we good.

Miguel: Yeah. And the irony of them doing this new jack swing stuff and it didn't really hit, I watchea video of Teddy Riley talking to Jamie Foxx recently and he was just saying that with them being on Uptown, he's hearing the stuff that they're doing and he's like, you know what? I think it might be time for us to quit.

Christina: The originator—

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Of new jack swing was like, uhhhh....

Miguel: Yeah. He's like, what they're doing—

Christina: I wanna do that.

Miguel: Is something that we can't compete with. It's kind of like when Al B. Sure! heard Bobby Brown's album before it came out and he's like, you know what? I might need to step back and start getting into this production.

Christina: Oh man. I think what made them sound so different was that church sound, first of all, but then this kind of edge that R&B didn't have.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: It wasn't quite hip hop per se, not yet anyways. But I think coupled with how they were styled and how they looked.

Miguel: That made it hip hop.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: They looked hip hop.

Christina: They looked more hip hop than sounded hip hop, at least on this first album. But they had an edge though.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But at the same time it was like this old soul, gospel, but new at the time, R&B. I think a really good example of this is one of their many interviews on Arsenio. And Arsenio is asking them about their church upbringing and about how they infuse it into their music. And Arsenio asked K-Ci to like sing an example. And so he's sang a bit of "Amazing Grace." He's like normally you would sing it like this, but we put a little funk it and it sounds like this.[2]

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And you're like, oh okay, I get it. Because I can't explain it.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Other than it being a little funkier. We'll put a link in the show notes, but that is like a perfect example of how they took this very strong church sound and kind of made it contemporary and R&B. Uh, Naima[3], a music journalist mentioned that "U and I" is basically this Commissioned song.

Miguel: No it's "I'm Still Waiting."

Christina: Oh "I'm Still Waiting." Yes yes yes. 'Cause in the Commissioned song they literally say "My arms are open wide I won't cry no more."[4] And K-Ci says that a couple times in "I'm Still Waiting". And now when I listen to that part, now that I've heard this Commissioned song I can't un-hear it it.

Miguel: You can't.

Christina: Not only is the exact same words it's the same melody.

Miguel: Yeah the entire song.

Christina: "My arms are open wide."[5]

Miguel: Like, before you get to that point, the entire "I'm Still Waiting" is basically that song. But once that kicks in, it kind of clicks. 'Cause it was a few years before I made that connection. As we were saying earlier, I'm not really a church going dude, but my cousins are. So I knew the Commissioned song. And then when Jodeci came out, something was really familiar about it. And it was years later before I made that connection. It was like, that's the line that they were singing.

Christina: "My arms are open wide."

Miguel: "And I don't have to cry no more."

Christina: "Cry no more!" Yep.

Miguel: That's where I knew that from, going to church when I was like 12.

Christina: Well I actually tried to look it up on WhoSampled and there's no record of it.

Miguel: That's because it's an interpolation.

Christina: Oh okay. But you know you see a list of all the songs that have sampled the artist that for I was like Ciara. "Promise." I love that song. What song did she sample? So I looked at it and, she sampled one line from "My Heart Belongs To You."[6] She just says, "There's nothing I won't do, but spend my life with you." But they only said, "There's nothing I won't do." But after hearing the samples back to back I'm like, oh my God. How did I miss that all this time? And that's one of my favorite Ciara songs.

Miguel: It happens.

Christina: And that's probably why. Because I'm like, she's basically singing a Jodeci song.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because that's the only line that's clearly sampled but the melodies are very similar throughout the song.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So final thoughts on Forever My Lady?

Miguel: The final thoughts for me is it was game changing.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Because it wasn't anything that we had heard before in terms of R&B.

Christina: Yeah I think for me I was too young to realize that it was game changing. I just liked it.

Miguel: That's fair.

Christina: But I see it now.

Miguel: Yeah. It's really apparent when you go back and look at it. Even though there were some things that kind of had those elements like New Edition, Bobby Brown. It wasn't this.

Christina: It's hard to explain. Like the only way I could explain it is just there was something a little edgier about it.

Miguel: That's a good place for us to take a break. So we'll be back really quickly.


[break]

Miguel: Hi kids. Do you like fun?

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And bookmarking a bunch of articles you'll probably never read? We're starting a monthly newsletter called Liner Notes. We'll be sharing what we're watching, what we're listening to, throwback YouTube videos, updates on our upcoming projects, random shit you may have missed on the internets, you know, stuff like that. The link is in the show notes or you can go to troypodcast.com/newsletter. Do it.

Christina: Now.

Miguel: It's good for you.

Christina: It'll make your teeth whiter.

Miguel: [Laughs] And back to the show.


Christina: And we're back. Let's talk about the second album.

Miguel: Alright. The Diary of a Mad Band.

Christina: Yes! You know what? Just hit me right now. I'm just thinking about DeVanté saying that he's always thought of them as like a Black rock band. He's like, nah we're like rock stars.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So it kind of makes sense that they would name an album something like The Diary of a Mad Band 'cause that doesn't sound like quote unquote R&B.

Miguel: Yeah. Then it's a play of Diary of a Madman as well and technically they are a band with him playing multiple instruments—

Christina: And Dalvin too..

Miguel: And Dalvin playing the drums. So yeah, they are a band and they are a little bit mad.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And mad in the crazy way. So it makes sense.

Christina: Speaking of crazy was "Feenin'" the first single?

Miguel: I don't remember. Sounds about right.

Christina: Just thinking about K-Ci wearing a straight jacket and he's in a padded cell room 'cause he's "Feenin'"!

Miguel: It could be. Let's find out if it was the first single. Discography. First single was "Cry For You."

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And "Feenin'" was the second single.

Christina: So with this album we can definitely hear a transition. They're still doing their ballads with a couple up tempos. But what we were saying about the first album with it being sort of deeper and edgier. This one is more of that.

Miguel: It definitely is.

Christina: I mean this could be partially because of just maturing their sound. Maybe 'cause they started hanging out with Suge. Not quite sure.

Miguel: It could be all of it.

Christina: But now we can hear a little bit more of that hip hop influence.

Miguel: Yeah, and they are becoming the bad boys—

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: Of R&B.

Christina: There's a lot of leather and shirtless and...

Miguel: Machetes.

Christina: Speaking of machetes.

Miguel: Chains.

Christina: Yes. So machetes, they had won a Billboard award. Best new R&B artist.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: I'm gonna come back to that point. So you know they're still singing their ballads. So they still got you know the "Cry For You" and...

Miguel: "Feenin'"

Christina: "Feenin'" all that stuff. So they're still R&B, but they come up...JoJo's holding a machete. Mr. Dalvin is wearing just a gun holster. No shirt. K-Ci's got a full face mask on.[7]

Miguel: K-Ci and JoJo both have on face masks.

Christina: Yes. And DeVanté is smoking a cigar.

Miguel: Yes. This is how they come to accept their award after being dapped up by Boyz II Men.

Christina: In their suspenders.

Miguel: Yeah with their suspenders and bow ties on.

Christina: And they get up on stage and thank God and their moms.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: That's like quintessential Jodeci right there. And they don't seem to have any animosity with Boyz II Men even though they're kind of always pitted against each other.

Miguel: They look genuinely happy.

Christina: Yeah they looked genuinely happy for each other despite the clear differences at least in attire. So I don't know if they were embracing the bad boy persona or that was maybe a little bit of both.

Miguel: Yeah, they were definitely all in on that look, that persona, that style.

Christina: Right. That album cover, they were sagging wetsuits. Who in the history of ever has sagged a wetsuit?

Miguel: First of all who has worn a wetsuit on an album cover?

Christina: Exactly. And then sagged it.

Miguel: I didn't even know that it was a wetsuit until you pointed it out like two years ago.

Christina: You know what? I'm not even sure when it hit me because I probably just assumed it was you know like a Dickie onesie. And then one day was like—

Miguel: I just thought they were some overalls.

Christina: Yeah, overalls or like those mechanic style—

Miguel: Jumpsuit.

Christina: Jumpsuit type thing. And then one day I was like, that's a wetsuit. They're wearing wetsuits.

Miguel: Yeah, I had no clue.

Christina: And you know I can't talk about this album, which contains "Cry For You," without talking about the Mickey Mouse Club.[8]

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I did not grow up watching this 'cause I don't think I had the channel where I could see this.

Miguel: Yeah, and this was—I was way older and it wasn't on my radar—

Christina: Right.

Miguel: At all.

Christina: So, I don't know this just popped up, years ago. JC Chasez, Justin Timberlake and I didn't even know Ryan Gosling could sing.

Miguel: Neither did he.

Christina: Until saw this video And then the fourth guy I don't know who he is but in the caption—

Miguel: I looked it up today.

Christina: Dale Godboldo?

Miguel: Yes. So apparently he's still been acting.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And in the American Crime Story: The People versus O.J. Simpson, he played Carl Douglas as part of O.J.'s dream team.

Christina: Oh okay. So I do know him just—

Miguel: You do know him, but you didn't know who he was then.

Christina: I did not. So you know I had to do my annual rewatch of this because it is hilarious. First of all, like I said, I never knew Ryan Gosling could even sing so that was just, threw me off. But Justin Timberlake and JC you know they're in NSYNC. That wasn't as shocking It was funny just 'cause they're like 14,15 at the time. But Ryan coming out with "I don't know, I don't know."

Miguel: High-pitched voice. His clothes are way too big.

Christina: They're all wearing these like, the linen suits they had the fans blowing.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Trying to do very much that sort of like, "Forever My Lady" and then I think it was the "Cry For You" video when they were out in the desert.

Miguel: In the desert.

Christina: So very much that. They had the little R&B two step with the snapping of the fingers.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: The big old Timbs. So I highly recommend checking that out if you haven't seen it. And even if you have seen it—

Miguel: Watch it again.

Christina: Watch it again. Cause it's hilarious. If not just for Ryan Gosling 'cause...

Miguel: Yeah, that's the only reason that I watch it, it's just to see him. Like you can pass on JC and Justin, because you see you've been seeing them sing—

Christina: They've been doing this stuff.

Miguel: For 30 years.

Christina: Ryan?

Miguel: Tiny Ryan.

Christina: With his falsetto. Is it a falsetto or his voice just hadn't dropped yet?

Miguel: That's just who he was. He sounded like that.

Christina: Yeah. And this album is another one of those that unknowingly introduced us to Missy and Timbaland.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Where you know we've talked about this many times where we realize that there's all these people that we know and love now, but we didn't know them then.

Miguel: Exactly. And this is one of them.

Christina: Yeah. So you can just hear them on a couple of the songs.

Miguel: Yeah, Timbaland's on one and Missy is on two and this is both of their first appearance on any album.

Christina: Okay. So this was the official introduction before the "he-he-he-how."

Miguel: Yeah, this is a couple years before that. This Is still Da Bassment era.

Christina: Right. So I noticed that they're good for one uptempo song per album. In Forever My Lady, "Xs We Share". That's a pretty good one. Like I said I'll rock with the other ones but I think that's just more nostalgia sake. And then this one, "Let's Go Through the Motions" I actually like that one.

Miguel: But that one wasn't actually on the original album.

Christina: It wasn't?

Miguel: No it was on the Who's the Man? soundtrack.

Christina: Oh. Cause I remember seeing the video.

Miguel: Yeah, that was on a soundtrack originally.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And the movie sucked.

Christina: I can't remember if I've seen it or not.

Miguel: It was Dr. Dre and Ed Lover and a bunch of other rappers.

Christina: I remember what the movie was, but I don't remember if I've actually seen it.

Miguel: I unfortunately have seen it. I paid money to see it and I think movies at the time were probably five bucks. I want my $5 back.

Christina: Well it's a little too late for that.

Miguel: Is it?

Christina: It is.

Miguel: I don't think so.

Christina: I just wanna mention one more thing about this. This timeframe should I say.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: I watched just some random YouTube upload of a concert[9] they did around this time, and during an intermission which DeVanté is like, okay I'm gonna play the piano for you guys while K-Ci and JoJo rest up their voices for a bit. And he's just casually playing all these covers like "Piece of My Love," "Let's Wait Awhile," "Can You Stand the Rain?" And then he's like, I see some white people in here. Let me flip this up. And he just starts playing "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx and then everyone's singing. He's like, okay y'all know this song. Not just the white people. But it was just hilarious how he's like, okay, okay. Let me just play something for them.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: "Y'all don't know this."

Miguel: And it backfired.

Christina: Everyone just starts singing anyways.

Miguel: Yeah, he didn't see that coming.

Christina: No. Also you could tell he's really in his element in these live performances when he's on the piano.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: That's like his happy place.

Miguel: Because every time you see him in an interview, he does not look comfortable.

Christina: He's got a hoodie pulled up half the time.

Miguel: Looking at the floor.

Christina: He don't say nothing.

Miguel: Yeah. But on stage, that's where he shines.

Christina: All right, so any last thoughts on Diary of a Mad Band?

Miguel: No, not really. Because this was kind of a a transitional album for me. It's not that I don't like it but I like the first and the third better.

Christina: I what you're saying and I totally understand why you would like the third better so let's get right into that.

Miguel: All right, let's do it.

Christina: The Show, The After Party, The Hotel. So now we really see that Death Row influence. Because it's G-Funk all over this.

Miguel: Yeah. And to me if people have listened to NWA and they have listened to Jodeci this is gonna make sense. It's kind of like the NWA Niggaz4Life album, where the content is, oh you like this crazy shit we did over here? Let's take it up a notch. Like, we were on 10, we going to 11 now. And that's kind of how this album is.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Like the content, they're just trying to be shocking on purpose, it seems. But the production is so damn good that you don't even pay attention to it. Because all these skits are basically about them pulling chicks from the crowd and taking them back to the hotel.

Christina: Doing all that stuff.

Miguel: Yeah there's a lot of that going on. Which at the time I didn't even think about because I was their age. But looking back at it now it's like, you know what? Y'all went a little too far with that. But like I said, just like the NWA album, the production is so amazing and the vocals are so great that you just look past all that.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Like, I can listen to it and say yeah, they shouldn't have said that but the shit is jamming.

Christina: Well, the thing is, I know all the skits. 'Cause this was back in the day where you—even though I could skip on a cd, you just kind of let it play.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But now I'm just like, I don't need to listen to this. I don't need to listen to some girl banging on the door.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Yelling at K-Ci to let her in.

Miguel: Yeah, so between that and the lyrical content it's very similar to Niggaz4Life in my opinion.

Christina: Well the very first track, which is just basically an intro is like, this fake news report talking about "the group Jodeci is missing." And then you go into the second track, the first official song, "Bring On Da Funk". It's Jodeci doing G Funk.

Miguel: Yeah. This entire album was in my car forever.

Christina: And this is why I was saying I completely understand why you like this better than the second album 'cause literally when I was re-listening to it today I was like, oh yeah this is Miguel driving in his car all day.

Miguel: Yep. That's exactly what it was. I was all in on this.

Christina: I never really even thought of it like that. Like, in terms of having this Suge slash Death Row influence until you were putting the outline together for this and listening to the album, I'm like oh, this is G-Funk. And I don't know why it never hit me like that, until I was listening to it.

Miguel: As Missy was singing on "Bring On Da Funk", it's Jodeci funk.

Christina: Yes It's Jodeci funk.

Miguel: "That's what it is. Gotta get it in to you."

Christina: Yeah. I just listened to it, never really made that actual connection. And then as I'm listening to the rest I'm like, no, this is the entire album not just this song.

Miguel: Yeah, it was that. They were on the Murder Was the Case soundtrack. They're writing and producing songs for Death Row artists. So they were heavy—

Christina: Right.

Miguel: In there because Suge became their manager and he was trying to steal Mary, Run-DMC and Jodeci trying to bring them to Death Row. But didn't quite work out although he was able to quote unquote, renegotiate their contracts with Uptown and get them a little more money than they were making. He didn't actually get them officially on Death Row but they were definitely affiliated.

Christina: Right. For sure. It's all over the album and I don't know, just never pieced it together like that.

Miguel: DeVanté got a song called "Gin and Juice."[10]

Christina: He does. So that one, when I was rewatching that video I was like, uh, yeah.

Miguel: And ironically they were being influenced personally and musically by Death Row but everything else in music was being influenced by them. In terms of the way people were dressing, the type of music they were doing. It was all Jodeci. Even the older acts, like, you see Gerald Levert running around with a leather suit and boots on. So you know they had a hold on the culture.

Christina: Well as I was saying in that interview I just saw today, Woody himself said he basically started Dru Hill because he wanted to be the fifth member of Jodeci so bad. But I guess maybe that's why "Love U 4 Life," being that this was one of the songs from the original demo, doesn't have that new G Funk-ish—

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Infused sound because wasn't from that.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: It's an old song. But you know they're still able to turn out ballads that they're known for like "Love U 4 Life." And then you have "Freek'N You". You got the nice one and then you got the sucio one.

Miguel: Yes. It's very sucio.

Christina: Little something for everybody.

Miguel: Exactly. And then you got a little cookout music with "Get On Up."

Christina: So you know I'm always talking about how I hate positive songs. But this is one of the few that I'm like, you know what? This song makes me feel good every time I listen to it.

Miguel: Cause it's not actually a positive song. It's just like, go have some fun and party. It's not like Sounds of Blackness, "Optimistic." It's like hey, go out and have a barbecue with your family. Have some fun.

Christina: That same Vibe interview[11] DeVanté said that he hated the song at first for the same thing. He's like, ugh, it's too like upbeat. But then he is like, you know, it feels good. And I'm like, I'm with you DeVanté.

Miguel: I think he was just jealous 'cause Dalvin made a hit and he didn't.

Christina: Well, Dalvin is the one who's responsible for more of the uptempo songs I believe.

Miguel: 'Cause now that I think about it, DeVante's not in the video, is he?

Christina: Yeah he is.

Miguel: He is?

Christina: I'm pretty sure.

Miguel: I thought it was just the three of them.

Christina: Let me double check. I'm gonna pull this up right now. I swear I saw him. I just remember them dancing on top of a bus.

Miguel: Yeah. I don't think he's in the video.[12]

Christina: One second. You think he was hating on it that much?

Miguel: He's a jealous Janice!

Christina: No he's not. No I refuse to believe he's, he's a hater like that. Let me see, I'm trying to...[gasps] I think you're right! There's only three people on top of a bus.

Miguel: Yeah. He's not in the video!

Christina: Is that a protest? Like, I hate this song.

Miguel: I'm pretty sure it is.

Christina: Well I don't know if he makes an appearance later, but right now, there's just the three of them on top of the bus.

Miguel: No, he's not in the video at all.

Christina: That's okay Dalvin's there with his shirt off.

Miguel: He is.

Christina: He'll do double duty.

Miguel: He's giving the streets the nipples that they're looking for.

Christina: Exactly. That's funny. He isn't...I'm just scrubbing through it now and it's from day to night. Still just the three of them—

Miguel: Yep.

Christina: On top of that bus. How did I never notice that?

Miguel: I don't know.

Christina: Maybe he was just out sick.

Miguel: Okay. I think he's just hating.

Christina: Oh man

Miguel: Come on man. My little brother made a hit and I didn't do it. First of all, I don't like the song and now it's a hit? I'm not doing the video.

Christina: That is hilarious. All right.

Miguel: I'm making all this all up by the way.

Christina: You are. But it might be true. I don't know. Well all we could say is he ain't in the video.

Miguel: He's not.

Christina: That's funny. Well back to my theory, there's one good uptempo song per album. And I'm still gonna count "Let's Go Through the Motions" 'cause it's on the album now. This album as like, a whole album I didn't find as strong but I think it was just more like the skits felt like filler. Yeah and I think it—

Miguel: Yeah, it dragged it out too long.

Christina: Yeah, but I still overall think it's a great album.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But I see why you would like this better than the second album. But I think in term—actually I don't know. I was gonna say I think maybe I liked the first two better but I think they all had like, ups and downs for different reasons.

Miguel: But this is by far the best sounding—

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Of the three.

Christina: All right. So, what's your favorite song from each album?

Miguel: Okay. From the first album it's "I'm Still Waiting." Second album is "Feenin'." And third album, me and Notorious B.I.G. both love this song because I've seen him singing it, "Freek'n You." And if you haven't seen him sing it you need to.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Him and Lil' Cease I believe. They going in.

Christina: I feel like I've seen it.

Miguel: Just walking down the street somewhere.

Christina: It sounds familiar.

Miguel: "Every time I close my eyes. I wake up feeling so horny." You should pull it up right now.

Christina: All right. The Notorious B.I.G. singing a song by Jodeci.[13]

[Audio of the Notorious B.I.G. singing "Freak'n You"]

Christina: I didn't know Biggie could sing! That's great.

Miguel: That makes me laugh every time I see it.

Christina: Well, my favorite songs are, from Forever My Lady, it was really hard for me to choose between "Stay" and "Come and Talk To Me". Because I like them both for different reasons. So the harmonies in "Stay" is what makes Jodeci so special. But "Come and Talk To Me" introduced, you know, those harder baselines which gives it that sort of hip hop edgier feel.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So I think I might pick "Stay" by a little bit, a tiny margin.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: But maybe I'll probably change my mind tomorrow. I guess for right now I say "Stay." And then, Diary of a Mad Band, my favorite song, when I was listening to the album and I was trying to think, like, hmm, what is my favorite song? And as soon as I heard "hit me" I was like, it's "Feenin'" 'Cause sometimes you just need that tiny little note to be like, yeah, that's my shit. I didn't even have to listen to the whole song. And then on The Show, The After Party, The Hotel, kind of the same thing as "Stay" versus "Come and Talk To Me." I was tossing between "Freek'N You" and "Love U 4 Life," 'cause they're like, polar opposites.

Miguel: They are.

Christina: You got like, this pretty ballad and then "Freek'N You." So I don't know either...I feel like...I don't know, "Freek'N You."

Miguel: All right.

Christina: Yeah, sure.

Miguel: Me, you, Biggie and Lil' Cease are all choosing "Freek'N You".

Christina: Yep.

Miguel: So, of the three albums, which one is your favorite?

Christina: I think I'm gonna go with Forever My Lady

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: I think that's the one I listen to the most in terms of the full album or at least, most of it. I think with the other two I tend to skip around a little bit more.

Miguel: Okay. I'm going with The Show, The After Party, The Hotel.

Christina: Shocker.

Miguel: Because I like how it sounds in the car.

Christina: I'm not surprised at all.

Miguel: That is what I'm going with.

Christina: All right.

Miguel: When I was riding around in my ashy '89 Toyota Corolla back in '96, with the 15's in the trunk. Sounded amazing.

Christina: "Every freakin' night, every freakin' day."

Miguel: Yep. All right, I think this is a good spot to take another break.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And we'll be right back.


[break]

Christina: Are you enjoying this podcast?

Miguel: Hell yeah.

Christina: If you are as much as he is, there's a couple things that you can do. You can feel free to drop some coins into our collection plate at ko-fi.com/troypodcast. And that's "ko-fi" K O dash F I .com. Link is also in the show notes. We're self-funded, so any support would be appreciated. And if you don't have any extra coins to spare, just leave us a 5 star rating or review. Like JLo's love, it won't cost you a thing.

Miguel: You just sitting at home on the couch anyhow.

Christina: Alright, thanks.

Miguel: Back to the show.


Miguel: Okay, we are back and we are going to talk about their last album. It was 20 years in the making. Called The Past, The Present and the Future. Kind of like The Show, The After Party, The Hotel, but different.

Christina: And that was what? 2015?

Miguel: 2015 it came out.

Christina: So their most recent album is still seven years old?

Miguel: It is.

Christina: Yeah, I, um, of course, being the super fan that I am was very excited for this.

Miguel: Same.

Christina: It was okay. But you know I'm still glad that they were able to put it out. It did give me "Every Moment," which reminds me of "Love U 4 Life." So I was like, yeah.

Miguel: I could see that.

Christina: This is the Jodeci I've been waiting for. But they were gone a long time.

Miguel: Yeah. And music had changed.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So, not only had music changed, but they had changed.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So they're not gonna be doing the same things that they were before.

Christina: And K-Ci and JoJo were off doing their own thing and Dalvin's been doing his thing.

Miguel: Who knows what DeVanté has been doing. He's like Batman. He just disappears and shows up when you put the light in the sky.

Christina: Exactly.

Miguel: Like, oh we going on tour? I'm there.

Christina: You know, it was more of like, I'm glad y'all still here.

Miguel: And that that's why I wanted to summarize the first three and then this one separately. 'Cause I wouldn't really count this as part of the Jodeci lineage.

Christina: I guess.

Miguel: Because it's just kind of there.

Christina: Yeah, I see what you're saying.

Miguel: It's not something that I go back to. I don't think I've actually listened to it before this week, since it came out. I listened to it the first day it came out and then I listened to it a couple times this week.

Christina: I listen to "Every Moment" a lot.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: There's another song called "Incredible." I like it because of the sample.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Now I can't think of the sample off top of my head.

Miguel: Yeah, I'm sure they're not performing these songs on the tour.

Christina: They might perform "Every Moment" I think.

Miguel: It's not in my rotation so I'm not gonna say too much about it.

Christina: So, how about we backtrack a little bit and talk about their impact on hiphop and R&B during the first three album run?

Miguel: It was major. 'Cause like I said earlier, you had Gerald Levert dressing in leather suits and in Timberlands.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Like, they influenced everybody other than like, Michael Jackson and Boyz II Men.

Christina: Yeah. And I because they were kind of like, Diddy's first artists. You see what he did with his Bad Boy artists.

Miguel: Yeah, he molded everybody after Jodeci.

Christina: Or like some some iteration. Even the girls. Like, look at Total.

Miguel: Yeah. all of them. Total was Jodeci, but three women.

Christina: They had the same sound, the same look.

Miguel: Yeah, if you were doing R&B after 1991, you have been influenced somehow by Jodeci. Even if you're not doing like, the music. Like I said, the way people were dressing was because of them. Yeah it was hip hop influenced, but you got people wearing leather suits.

Christina: Right. And tattoos and...

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Just things that you didn't normally...like, R&B was supposed to be softer—

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Than rap.

Miguel: And, like I said, even with the women, you had women who were making music that sounded like Jodeci. So they influenced everybody. And if people say that they didn't, they're lying.

Christina: Well, I've said this before and I mean, even DeVanté said this himself. So, in that Vibe article I keep referencing, the interviewer had asked him what he thinks about all these other male groups that have popped up and he said, " 'Silk? Shai? UNV?' DeVante chuckles. 'Put that in there. That I laughed. They're just jokes. There are only two powers: us and Boyz II Men. Anybody that comes after us has to be classified as like, one or the other.' "

Miguel: He's not wrong.

Christina: I mean, we've said there's a few outliers, like Mint Condition.

Miguel: Yeah they—cause they weren't doing that type of music.

Christina: But they came out either just before or like just at the same time. So they couldn't have been influenced by something that hadn't come out yet.

Miguel: And they were a full band, instead of Diary of a Mad Band

Christina: Right. So there's a couple outliers, but I—I mean, I've always said this and now that I've seen that DeVanté has said it I stand even more behind that statement.

Miguel: You can add anybody who was out in the nineties in early two thousands—Tyrese, Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Keith Sweat, Usher, the nigga who shall not be named. Anybody who was running around wearing black hoodies, boots, leather. They got it from Jodeci.

Christina: So remember when I wanted to specifically say that they won the R&B artist Billboard Music Awards? And the reason for that is—I was actually really shocked. So the Hot 100, which is the ones that is like, just for the singles. They have zero number one hits and one top 10 hit. Can you guess?

Miguel: "Cry For You."

Christina: "Lately."

Miguel: That's right.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: That is right. Because I mentioned that when we did the covers.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: I forgot that that was their only quote unquote, hit record.

Christina: Right. As much as they felt very not pop, not mainstream, they were very well known at the same time.

Miguel: They were.

Christina: So I was actually really shocked that their Billboard Hot 100 looks like this and I'm just talking about singles, as usual. But once you go to the R&B charts, they have 13 songs, 10 of them were top 10 hits and five of them were number one hits. But I was actually just really surprised about that.

Miguel: I'm not. Only because the quote unquote commercial success was for K-Ci and JoJo. When they broke off and started doing their own thing as a duo, what I like to call gluten-free Jodeci, is when they started making quote unquote hits.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Because as we mentioned before, it kind of lined up with just Black culture in general becoming more popular.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So they're getting movie soundtrack placements. They're doing covers. So they were in the right place at the right time and they're still riding the Jodeci wave as well.

Christina: Yeah and I guess a lot of Jodeci fans have also grown up now too and are ready for the wedding friendly Jodeci version, which is K-Ci and JoJo.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Cause it's not like all of a sudden they went pop or something. Like, they still had the sounds that we've talked about but—

Miguel: A lot of it was really pop heavy though.

Christina: Much more polished. More suits. Now you're wearing actual suits, not leather suits.

Miguel: Yeah, if you're one the Save the Last Dance soundtrack—

Christina: What song was on the Save the Last Dance?

Miguel: "Crazy."

Christina: Ooooh. I didn't like that song.

Miguel: So, that's why they're being known in these other spaces as well.

Christina: Now they could go on Oprah.

Miguel: Yeah, they can go on Oprah now.

Christina: Instead of going back to Arsenio every time an album comes out.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: I did like their first album, 'cause I do really like when they do sort of, the old R&B sound. Like, they did the LTD cover for "Love Ballad."

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I really like that. But I didn't listen to much of the stuff after that.

Miguel: I only really know the first two. And again, it's just because of the singles being so big.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And always being on MTV and BET. For three days now I've had, what's the song? "Last Night's Letter" stuck in my head.

Christina: I guess maybe to me Jodeci has always been so big, but at the same time it's almost one of those like, known unknowns.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Where it's not like they were a niche group, but at the same time, if you don't know 'em, you don't know 'em. I don't know how to describe it.

Miguel: Well just like I was saying they broke up just as things started to blow up.

Christina: True.

Miguel: So K-Ci and JoJo rode that wave.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Whereas, Jodeci kind of gets forgotten about.

Christina: That's true.

Miguel: Even though they helped everybody who did blow up after that, was influence by them, they missed out on it. Dru Hill got what Jodeci was supposed to get.

Christina: I was just about to say, which is probably why when we saw the question posed on Twitter about Dru Hill would wash Jodeci. And I was so affronted by that. 'Cause I'm like, how you you gonna wash like, the group that made you, right? Like, how is that possible? But then I was—I remember just reading all these comments with my jaw open like, y'all really just love Dru Hill over Jodeci this much?

Miguel: Because that's what people were getting exposed to.

Christina: And I was like, but Dru Hill is Jodeci light.

Miguel: They are, but, when you're on TRL and K-Ci and JoJo is on TRL and not Dalvin and DeVanté...

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: That makes a difference. There's a reason that K-Ci and JoJo are on the Save The Last Dance soundtrack.

Christina: I just chalked it up to me being old.

Miguel: Well it's that too.

Christina: You trying to get me back from last time?

Miguel: Yep.

Christina: Hush.

Miguel: Okay so I think this is a good place to kind of put a bow on this. Stick a pin in it. What are your thoughts on Jodeci's place in history? On their legacy? What does that mean to you?

Christina: Well as we pretty much just said. It's hard to imagine at least what male R&B groups would've been like if their choice was only Boyz II Men to follow after.

Miguel: Can you imagine Chris Brown jumping around with bowties and suspenders on?

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And—

Christina: I don't know if New Edition's legacy would've lasted long enough for some of the groups.

Miguel: It wouldn't because that's too far. That's too far in the past, and Jodeci was that bridge that was needed to get to this younger generation.

Christina: And the fact that "Freek'N You" ended up as the closing credits for this anime called, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

Miguel: Which is hilarious.

Christina: So season four for anyone who wants to look this up. And I—I read that it's even called JoJo's Bizarre Adventure because the creator is a Jodeci fan.

Miguel: Yeah I read something similar. And the reason that the song was used is one, like you said, the creator is a fan. Two, "Freek'N You" and this anime both started in 1995.

Christina: Oooh.

Miguel: And for every season, they use a song from that era that the seasons are about.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: So there's one that I believe The Bangles is a closing theme song. But for this season it was "Freek'N You"

Christina: 'Cause I remember I was watching the video and I'm seeing all these comments about anime and stuff I'm like, what? And me and my fellow old heads are like, I don't know what these kids are talking about. And I saw someone say "Thanks to JoJo a Gen Z 13 year old has experienced actually good music."

Miguel: That's amazing.

Christina: So I'm gonna say if you have 13 year olds from Gen Z who may or may not even listen to this type of music hear this song in an anime that has nothing to do Jodeci type things and be like, I love this song, that says something.

Miguel: It does. Somebody's getting it.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: You got anything else you wanted to add before we wrap this all up?

Christina: Um, not really. I think I've said a lot already.

Miguel: You have.

Christina: If it isn't clear, they're my favorite male R&B group.

Miguel: They certainly are. I will have them number two on the list behind New Edition.

Christina: All right, 'cause you are old.

Miguel: No, no just for—there was more of them. And they danced, they sang—

Christina: They danced in the "Gotta Love" video.

Miguel: Yeah, but they—

Christina: They were dancing their hearts out.

Miguel: They shut that dancing down real quick.

Christina: Alright.

Miguel: So on that note, we can wrap it up here. We have been going on and on and on.

Christina: Yeah one will probably be a little longer than—

Miguel: It is It's gonna be longer than usual but, hey.

Christina: Then let's just go. Bye.

Miguel: Yes.