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Music / Jodeci

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The Bad Boys of R&B. From left: K-Ci, DeVante Swing, JoJo, and Mr. Dalvin

Jodeci is an American R&B quartet whose members consists of two sets of brothers from Charlotte, North Carolina: the DeGrates (Donald [DeVante Swing] and Dalvin [Mr. Dalvin]), and the Haileys (Cedric [K-Ci] and Joel [JoJo]).

All of the brothers were raised in heavily Pentecostal families, with the Haileys releasing several gospel albums as children, and the DeGrates touring with their family. Through a mutual acquaintance, the duos eventually met, and decided to pursue musical careers together. After several failed attempts by DeVante to audition for Prince at Paisley Park, he returned to Charlotte, and began working with the rest of the group, improving his production and songwriting. By this point, the group eventually formed into Jodeci, and began crafting demos for record labels.

Traveling to New York in 1991, the group managed to arrange an impromptu audition with MCA's Uptown Records division. Uptown founder and president Andre Harrell was skeptical of the high quality production on their demo, and asked Jodeci to perform acapella in front of label A&R Jeff Redd. Heavy D, then the label's vice-president, overheard the performance, and convinced Harrell to sign the group. Sean Combs, one of Uptown's A&R's at the time, helped the group develop their image, wearing the street clothes and hats that were popular among hardcore hip hop artists instead of the typical refined suits that R&B artists usually wore, helping them stand out.

In May of that year, Jodeci released their debut album Forever My Lady. A somewhat gritter and more sensual take on Teddy Riley's New Jack Swing sound, it was met with critical and commercial success, selling over 3 million copies, and spawning several Pop and R&B hits, including "Come and Talk to Me", "Stay", and the title track, helping usher in the Hip Hop Soul sub-genre. 1993's Diary of a Mad Band saw similar success, but its release was mired by a feud between the group and Uptown, culminating in the group signing with Suge Knight's "West Coast Management Firm" alongside Mary J. Blige to increase their royalties and creative control, and threatened to sign with Death Row outright. In response, Uptown barely promoted the album, though its success rendered the sabotage moot. The group released their third album, The Show, the After-Party, the Hotel in 1995, before taking a break, and focusing on either side projects or writing and producing for other artists.

In 2015, 20 years after their last album, the group returned to the spotlight, and released the Timbaland-produced The Past, the Present, the Future through Epic Records.

No, neither JoJo, or the group in general are Joestars, though "Freek'n You" gained the group memetic status among the JoJo fanbase after being the first closing theme for Golden Wind's anime adaptation, to the point where a Japanese-only greatest hits collection with JoJo cover art was released with several exclusive remixes. JoJo Hailey should also not be confused with fellow musician JoJo.


  • Forever My Lady (1991)
  • Diary of a Mad Band (1993)
  • The Show, the After-Party, the Hotel (1995)
  • The Past, the Present, the Future (2015)

Tropes associated with Jodeci:

  • Break Up Song: "Stay" has the trappings of one, but is actually an inversion, with the protagonist having a change of heart post-break up, and wants to get back with his ex.
  • Cover Version: Only two: "Cherish" (The Association), and "Lately" (Stevie Wonder).
  • Darker and Edgier: Jodeci's sound was this to the new jack swing subgenre, however, it reached its peak with The Show, the After-Party, the Hotel, thanks to Death Row Records' heavy influence on the group, despite not being officially signed to the label.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Forever My Lady features several energetic new jack swing tracks, a direct contrast to the more laid back grooves and ballads the group became known for from their second album onward.
  • Hip Hop Soul: The Trope Makers, with it initially starting out as a more streetwise take on new jack swing.
  • Intercourse with You: "Freek'n You", "Feenin'", and dozens of others. There isn't a single album where Jodeci didn't invoke this trope.
  • New Jack Swing: Started out with the sound, and it greatly influenced their later Hip Hop Soul albums.
  • Raging Stiffie: Implied in "Freek'n You", where K-Ci mentions he always wakes up horny from his erotic dreams about his girlfriend.
  • Record Producer: DeVante is the main man, though Al B. Sure! and Timbaland have lent a hand from time to time.
  • Red Baron: Collectively known as "The Bad Boys of R&B".
  • Seduction Lyric: Jodeci's lyrics took this to new heights in the 90s, to the point that subtlety was thrown out the window by the time of their second album, and and became the overarching theme of their third. Even their more pop-friendly hits like "Bring on Da Funk" aren't immune to it.
  • Unplugged Version: They participated in the Uptown Unplugged event with the rest of the Uptown roster on MTV, and performed acoustic versions of "Stay," "Come and Talk to Me," "Forever My Lady," and their cover of "Lately."