Dalvin , K-Ci , and JoJo. Formed in in Charlotte , North Carolina, Jodeci's members began their musical careers as two duos of brothers and, after years of limited success, joined forces. After signing with Uptown Records in , the group began to work on their debut album, Forever My Lady , which brought them mainstream success with the Billboard Hot single " Come and Talk to Me " and the album's titular track. Jodeci would incorporate hip hop soul , gospel and new jack swing into their music, which led to the group featured prominently with hip hop artists during the s. The receptionist kept saying she couldn't help me". The members soon drove to New York City with a 29 song, 3 tape demo, anticipating a signing deal with upstart Uptown Records. Swing later commented on the signing, "we didn't have an appointment but I knew what Uptown was, and I wanted us to be there. Jodeci was assigned to Uptown intern Sean Combs , who took on the task of developing the new act.
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The particular perversion of music executives like Cohen is, of course, inextricable from capitalism. Newly minted celebrity musicians must also reckon with the hubris of their own perverse interest—namely their desire to be a salable commodity. Musicians are accomplices, and often architects, of their own objectification. For gospel artists who make it as secular musicians, the ordinary perversities of capitalism and celebrity tangle with the wounds of religious betrayal and abandonment. In African-American church families with roots stretching back to plantations, the choice to leave religious music behind may reanimate the historical traumas of slavery, said Rev. Thomas Rhyant Jr. But none crossed over—from relative obscurity to celebrity and from gospel to secular—so boldly, indeed, so perversely as the hip-hop—driven soul band Jodeci, who released one platinum and two multiplatinum albums in just a four-year span from to The DeGrate and the Hailey brothers were raised in Pentecostal and Holiness churches in which sacred music served as a primary vehicle for theology; both of their families were nationally prominent on the gospel scene and were featured on the Billboard charts. But as Jodeci, the DeGrate and the Hailey brothers fashioned themselves anew, epitomizing the sound and personae of the horny, slow-jammed nineties.
Dalvin —but only half of either pairing, just K-Ci and Mr. Dalvin, had shown up. As they sat across from me, being tended to by a makeup artist, I wondered the very thing I had asked myself countless times over the years: what happened? K-Ci was wearing head-to-toe black, including the leather bike jacket, backwards cap, and Timberland Super Boots signature to the Jodeci look; he looked like he'd wandered off set from a video shoot. Though he and Mr. Dalvin were both wearing sunglasses indoors, Dalvin looked far more pedestrian: hatless in a forest green peacoat, dark fitted denim, and a pair of Lebron James' signature model Nikes.