Saturday, March 8, 2008
The Death of the R&B Group
I'm sure you've seen or heard about this story, but let me add this to it: I'm a HUGE Dru Hill fan. Anybody who knows me at all is well aware of this fact (if you don't know, just ask Your Friendly Neighborhood Skeptic and see what he says. I writhe in agony in between their albums, moreso once Woody left the group back in '98-'99 to return to gospel music -- thus putting their 3rd studio album on hold for what would be 2 more years. Once it finally dropped, I thoroughly embraced it... singing "I Should Be" at the top of my lungs to a woman (that in retrospect, certainly didn't deserve it). I've related to many of their hits over the years, like "Beauty", "Five Steps", "Tell Me", "One Good Reason" and so many more. Tell me that (as an R&B fan) you haven't thoroughly enjoyed one or more of their songs and I'd simply have to question your musical IQ. I love this group and unfortunately, this is to be my last memory of them together:
For those that haven't seen it, it's a video clip of the original 4 members of the group on 92Q (in Baltimore) announcing their reunion and subsequent 4th studio album -- only to be "surprised" by Woody minutes later, as he revealed that he would not be rejoining them. I really don't want to believe that this was staged -- but then again, I don't want to believe that it was real... it's a lose-lose situation. If it were real, I'd have to seriously question Woody's scruples and wonder why he didn't simply announce this before the interview. Was he gripped by the hand of the Almighty on his way to the station? Doesn't add up... but apparently, the group has been performing as a trio as they continue to tour with Keith Sweat (which could theoretically put to rest the rumors that it was all a work). Whether they knew beforehand that he was leaving or it was real all along, it doesn't look like the original quartet will no longer sing together -- which is bad news all around for a fan like me.
This makes me wonder -- what happened to all the great trios/quartets/quintets? From the oldies to now, the male R&B groups just can't seem to survive anymore. Remember how you felt when you first heard 112 sing "Cupid" or how hot Shai was? Do you remember the ridiculousness that was Jodeci? How about Hi-Five? Weren't you singing along with En Vogue? Remember Heavy D and (who?) Soul For Real. New Edition used to do the damn thing, didn't they? 702 repped Vegas hard. Who didn't love SWV? BBD, Troop, Blackstreet, Guy, etc... I bet you can name a plethora of groups that were hot to death and faded away before you were ready to let them go (or maybe you were, and were happy to see them go!)
This is how I feel about Dru Hill falling apart -- no bullshit. They were one of my last hopes. Ever since Diddy decided to stop caring about 112, so did the rest of America. We can't even get a K-Ci & Jo-Jo album at this point. Anyway, you get my point. I can only hope that something dramatic will happen in the future to stop this horrible trend and restore the sanctuary of super-R&B-group-dom.
So the question of the day: Which R&B groups do you all miss?