Jo-Jo Hailey + Dalvin and Donald DeGrate + K-Ci Hailey = Jodeci

Clever, ain't it?

These four gospel singers from Tiny Grove, North Carolina started an R&B/soul group in 1990. Less than a year later, rap sensation Heavy D discovered them in New York and got them signed with Uptown Entertainment. They were an immediate hit.

Jodeci had a soulful, sexy sound driven by the group's harmony and style. While all four members were gifted singers, it was really the hiphop boy band craze of the early 90s that gave them success. To say the group was riding on the coat tails of successful bunch Boyz II Men would be harsh, but possibly not far from the truth.

Forever My Lady, Jodeci's first album, was boosted by the single "Come & Talk to Me" to sell over 2 million copies. They followed their success with Diary of a Mad Band in 1993, which elevated them to MTV's Unplugged status later that year. Their soulful rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Lately" is perhaps their best-known song. In 1995 the boys released The Show, The After Party, The Hotel to a less-profitable market.

After a few nominations for American Music Awards, several incidences that involved the police, and the typical yearnings for solo careers, Jodeci split. The DeGrate brothers both attempted self-produced LPs, but K-Ci and Jo-Jo went on together to be, err, well... K-Ci and Jo-Jo! They released Love Always in 1997 and struck gold yet again with "All My Life," receiving Top 10 status, several award nominations, and a heavy rotation slot on MTV's video roster.

In 1999, K-Ci and Jo-Jo released It's Real. Devon DeGrate responded 9 months later with his solo Met.A.Mor.Phic. Both albums failed to make waves on either R&B or pop music charts. December of 2000 brought us X, the album from which the duo's smash hit "Crazy" comes. "Crazy" continues to be used on movie soundtracks and a single from 2002 album Emotional, "This Very Moment," has already been offered a track on several motion pictures.

K-Ci and Jo-Jo figured out what, as Jodeci, they could not. Subtlety is not lost--not even in modern hiphop--and the R&B singers have enjoyed much more success since they abandoned the standard-quartet-gonna-get-freaky-witcha-feel for a more mature, stylish, and ultimately romantic duo.

Let's see..., VH1, Rolling Stone--they all pitched in.

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