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Jodeci is an American musical group, whose repertoire included R&B, soul music, and new jack swing. The group consisted of two pairs of brothers from Charlotte, North Carolina: the DeGrates (Donald "DeVante Swing" DeGrate, the group founder/leader, and Dalvin DeGrate) and the Haileys (main lead singer Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey and second lead singer Joel "Jo-Jo" Hailey). The group's name is a combination of the names of its members: Jo-Jo, DeGrate and K-Ci.

Jodeci, also known as the "Bad Boys of R&B", is noted for being a significant influence on many of the R&B groups that came after them, particularly Dru Hill and Jagged Edge. In addition, Jodeci was the starting point for the careers of artists such as Missy Elliott, Timbaland, and Ginuwine. The group had a successful string of hit singles and platinum albums until the group went on indefinite hiatus after 1996. The Hailey brothers continued to perform together under the name K-Ci and Jo-Jo, and had success on the pop charts beyond that of the original band.

Influences and followers:
Most of the elements that were eventually combined to form what became known as the "Jodeci style" originated with the work of new jack swing pioneers Keith Sweat and Teddy Riley, with an important influence being the work of Riley's three-man group Guy. Other influences which, while less obvious, were instrumental to their style, included the works of Bobby Womack, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Bobby Brown, and New Edition. Sean "Puffy" Combs was in charge of developing Jodeci into a successful act, and had a major role in defining their style and sound.

While Boyz II Men is more of an influence to boy bands such as The Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, Jodeci was more influential to most of the black R&B groups who succeeded them, including Jagged Edge, 112, Next, and Dru Hill. In fact, Dru Hill, with their "bad boy" style image and K-Ci-esque lead vocals from Sisq, were accused of completely ripping off Jodeci's style.

The acts most heavily influenced by Jodeci were those that they directly trained and developed, including Mary J. Blige and a number of the members of their Swing Mob collective: Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Magoo, Ginuwine, Playa, Suga (who R&B act Tweet was a part of), and Darryl Pearson.

The R&B group II D Extreme's demo deal which led them to getting signed was in part responsible by DeVante, who was a friend of band member D'Extra Wiley. While hanging out in a hotel after a Jodeci show in Washington D.C., D'Extra asked DeVante' to check out his new group, outfitted withJohnny Gill's brother Randy. That impromptu audition for DeVante led them to New York and meeting with Devante's consultants and business partners who owned Savage records, and imprint on RCA records, then on to Gasoline Alley/MCA records.

DJ Siren (aka Sarve Jassal) was one of Jodeci's many avid followers and his anti-bootleg campaign helped Jodeci to win a copyright violation case in 1997.


The Haileys meet the DeGrates:
Both from a Pentecostal background, the Haileys and DeGrates originally performed and recorded, and eventually met each other through their girlfriends. However, it turned out that Dalvin DeGrate was dating K-Ci Hailey's girlfriend. This led to a small confrontation between the two in which K-Ci allegedlly pulled out a gun on Dalvin, according to DeVante Swing in an interview. The Hailey brothers and DeVante eventually became friends and discussed possibly recording songs together.

Signing to Uptown Records:
DeVante traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota when he was sixteen to audition for Prince's band, but was turned down. He then returned to Charlotte, North Carolina to record a song JoJo was performing. Soon, the two went to New York City to shop their demo tapes in hopes of getting signed. K-Ci and Dalvin both decided to tag along, and joined their respective brothers for the trip. Eventually, hip hop artist and record producer Heavy D heard one of the tapes and loved it. He talked Uptown Records CEO Andre Harrell into listening to the tape, who was impressed enough to sign the group.

The group was assigned to Uptown executive Sean "Puffy" Combs, who took on the task of developing the new act. He helped the group create its rough hip-hop-based image, reminiscent of that of Teddy Riley's group Guy. Jodeci were exposed to the public by singing background vocals on a number of singles by Father MC. K-Ci also contributed background vocals (alongside Uptown labelmates Terri Robinson and Tabitha Brace) on some tracks for Ralph Tresvant, produced by Kyle West, and Jasmine Guy's solo debut album, produced by D.J Eddie F of Heavy D and The Boyz. Jodeci made their live performance debut on the June 11, 1991 episode of Soul Train, while their first television interview was on BET's Video Soul a few months earlier.

Early success:
On May 28, 1991, Jodeci released their debut album, Forever My Lady, which included the singles "Gotta Love", "Forever My Lady", "Stay", "Come and Talk To Me", and "I'm Still Waiting". Three of these singles hit #1 on the R&B charts and the album sold over three million copies.
On most of the tracks on Forever My Lady and subsequent releases by the group, K-Ci and Jo-Jo share lead vocals, and all four members contribute backgrounds. DeVante and Uptown labelmate Al B. Sure! produced the album, while DeVante wrote every song with help from K-Ci on "Gotta Love" and Al B. Sure! on the title track. K-Ci and Jo-Jo also worked with Al B. as background vocalists when Al B. and Kyle West produced a few tracks on T.E.V.I.N., Tevin Campbell's debut LP. DeVante went on to co-produce tracks on Al B.'s Sexy Versus album in 1992.
On February 6, 1993, Jodeci, along with Uptown labelmates Father MC, Heavy D, Mary J. Blige, and Christopher Williams, recorded the "Uptown Unplugged" episode of MTV Unplugged, which aired on MTV on May 31, 1993. After performing live versions of "Forever My Lady," "Come & Talk to Me" and "Stay," the group closed their session with a cover of Stevie Wonder's 1980 single "Lately". The song became their first and only Top 5 pop hit.
During this same year, a woman filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against K-Ci and DeVante. She had met K-Ci at a nightclub, and went home with him, where allegedly DeVante pointed a gun at her while K-Ci fondled her breasts.

As it came time to release the second Jodeci album, there was dispute between Uptown and the band, who felt they were being treated unfairly by the label. Diary of a Mad Band was finally released on December 21, 1993, with very little initial promotional backing from the label, but eventually went platinum. The album spawned such hits as "Feenin'" and the #1 R&B hit "Cry For You"; the video for the latter was directed by a then-relatively unknown Sean "Puffy" Combs. It was around this time that Death Row Records CEO, Suge Knight approached the group and signed them to Suge Management as a part time manager and consultant.

Expansion and collaborations:
By 1992, the success of the first album allowed DeVante to found the "Swing Mob", a collective of artists, songwriters, and producers who were signed to Elektra Records through his "Swing Mob" imprint. A number of the members formed Jodeci's touring band, including guitarist Darryl Pearson. All of the twenty-plus members of Swing Mob lived in a single two-story house in New York City, and often did songwriting, production, and guest vocal work on Jodeci records.

Many of the artists signed to Swing Mob were Jodeci fans who auditioned for DeVante backstage before or after Jodeci concerts, including the female quartet Sista. Among the members of Sista was a young singer/rapper named Missy Elliott; she brought her friends Tim "DJ Timmy Tim" Mosley and Melvin "Magoo" Barcliff along with her when she and Sista moved to New York after getting signed to Swing Mob. DeVante liked Mosely's unusual production style, and, dubbing him "Timbaland", began working with the young producer on material for Jodeci, Sista, Playa, and Swing Mob members Elgin "Ginuwine" Lumpkin and Suga, another female quartet that included Tweet. Playa was discovered in 1991 by Devante, backstage, during a Jodeci show in Louisville. He was so impressed by Smoke & Black singing a capella that he came back in 1994 to sign them. They worked a lot with Devante and contributed to the special "Jodeci vocal harmonies".

The Swing Mob members recorded dozens of records, including an entire Sista LP, chiefly written by Missy and produced by DeVante and Timbaland. 4 All The Sistas Around Da World was scheduled for a 1994 released, but was shelved. However, the album had moderate success with the hit "Brand New".

Other frequent Jodeci collaborators during this period included K-Ci's then-girlfriend Mary J. Blige and hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, for whom DeVante produced a number of tracks.

In 1995, Jodeci also did remixes for UK RnB band MN8 for their hit single release "Happy".

The hit single Freek'n You is sampled by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on the track "You Got My Back" from the new album Strength & Loyalty was nationally released May 8th.

Third album and hiatus:
In 1994, DeVante was robbed of over $160,000 in jewelry, clothes, and other items in a home invasion at gunpoint.

On July 18, 1995, Jodeci released their third and to date, final album, The Show, The After Party, The Hotel. The album was another step forward in terms of DeVante's production and the group's songwriting skills, assisted on some tracks by Missy Elliott, Timbaland and a fresh R&B group from Louisville, Kentucky named Playa consisting of Steve "Static" Garrett, Smokey and Black. A number of hit singles were launched from this record, including "Love U 4 Life", "Get On Up", and the Top 20 hit "Freek'n You", a remix of which featured Ghostface Killah and Raekwon.

For all of its success, "The Show, The After Party, The Hotel" proved to be the last album the group would release. K-Ci and Jo-Jo performed guest vocals on Tupac's 1996 single "How Do U Want It", and were anxious to begin a side project. K-Ci and Jo-Jo, alongside Aaron Hall & Danny Boy, did "Toss It Up" on Pac's Makaveli album. Jodeci went on an indefinite hiatus in 1996, with the Haileys forming the more pop-flavored vocal group K-Ci and JoJo, scoring hits such as "All My Life", "Tell Me It's Real", and "Crazy" (from the "Save The Last Dance" Soundtrack). DeVante's Swing Mob folded the same year, and most of its members went on to find success at other labels, including Playa on Def Jam with their debut album "Cheers 2 U" in 1998. Dalvin released a solo album, Met-A-Mor-Phic, in 2000, and became a writer and producer for artists such as Tevin Campbell.

Uptown Records folded at about the same time Jodeci did, and was absorbed into MCA Records; the band is now signed to Geffen Records. A new Jodeci album has been in the pipeline for nearly a decade, and although the members have reunited at various times and recorded material, the only new Jodeci song released after 1996 was "Slip and Fall", which appeared as a limited-edition track on K-Ci and JoJo's third album, X.

After 10 years, the band came back together for a song during the beginning of 2005. The 4 members passed into DJ Quik studio while he was playing his "Quik's Groove 7". The boys liked it and wanted to sing on it. The song was released under the title of "Quikstrumental (Quik's Groove 7)" on DJ Quik's album Trauma on Sept. 13th 2005.

On June 7, 2005, Jodeci's first greatest hits album, Back to the Future: The Very Best of Jodeci, was released. It debuted at #6 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, and at #27 on the Billboard 200. The original compilation was to include the song "That Thang", which featured rap artists Trick Daddy and Trina. The song was replaced with "Good Luv", due to Atlantic Records having ownership of "That Thang". The album struck Gold certification come the year's end. Jodeci (minus Devante Swing) appeared on radio station The Beat in Los Angeles for a rare radio interview. During their interview, they mentioned they were currently filming a reality television show.

In a March 2006 interview with United Kingdom R&B DJ Trevor Nelson, Jodeci spoke of a comeback album, as well as a look into the past and future of the famous band but to this day it hasn't been released.

The bands rumored new single is entitled "Show Off" and is scheduled for release late this summer.

-DeVante Swing (Donald DeGrate, Jr.).
-Mr. Dalvin (Dalvin DeGrate).
-K-Ci (Cedric Hailey).
-Jo-Jo (Joel Hailey).
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