Our Top 10 Jodeci Songs list takes a look at a popular r&b group from the 90s. The group is comprised of two sets of brothers K-Ci and JoJo Hailey and DeVante and Dalvin DeGrate. Their stage name was created through their names. They were known for blending r&b, gospel and New Jack Swing music to create their sound. The Hailey brothers were the singers of the group while the DeGrate brothers focused on the writing and producing. Some of their hits include “Forever My Lady,” “Come And Talk to Me,” “Stay,” Cry For You,” “Feenin’,” “Love U 4 Life,” “Lately,” Get On Up,” “What About Us” as well as others. The group sold over 20 million albums.
Rhythm and blues music was starting to grow stagnate once the 80s came to a close. New Jack Swing music was on the rise. Jodeci came along at the right time. The two sets of brothers got to know each other through mutual friends in the gospel community. They formed a group and recorded three demos and were on their way to Uptown Records to get discovered. They met A&R rep Jeff Redd and he got them an audition with record producer Andre Harrell. He introduced them to Sean Combs and he helped the group. DeVante and Dalvin DeGrate honed their songwriting and producing abilities through the Uptown/MCA label. K-Ci and JoJo were singing background vocals for the artists at Uptown/MCA. They would go on to work on their debut album.
Forever My Lady was released in 1991. The album peaked at number one on the r&b charts and number 18 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Gotta Love,” “Forever My Lady,” “Stay,” “Come And Talk to Me” and “I’m Still Waiting.” The album sold over three million copies. The album helped make the group a household name. Would they be able to keep up the momentum for the second album? Would they be the victims of the sophomore slump? Diary of a Mad Band came out in 1993. The album peaked at number one on the r&b charts and number three on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Cry For You,” “Feenin’,” “What About Us,” “My Heart Belongs to You,” “Alone” and “You Got It.” The album sold over four million copies.
The Show, the After Party, the Hotel was released in 1995. It peaked at number one on the r&b charts and number two on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Freek’n You,” “Love U 4 Life,” “Get On Up,” “Let’s Do It All,” “Good Luv,” “Time & Place” and “Pump It Back.” The album sold over three million copies. The group took a hiatus after this album. K-Ci and JoJo Hailey went on to release separate albums from the group. DeVante focused on songwriting and producing. Dalvin released a solo album. It would take them 20 years to release another album together. The Past, the Present, the Future was released in 2015. The album peaked at number two on the r&b charts and number 23 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Nobody Wins,” “Every Moment,” “Those Things,” “Incredible,” “Jennifer” and “Body Parts.”
Jodeci was a popular group during the height of their fame. They were able to have fans of r&b and hip-hop music. They were the bad boy version of Boyz II Men. They had to compete with artists like Boyz II Men, LeVert, New Edition, Dru Hill, H-Town, Guy, BlackStreet as well as others for attention. Jodeci proved that the fans loved their music because the majority of the albums went platinum. They dealt with their share of personal demons throughout the years. They may not have a lot of albums together, but they made their mark while they were together. Our Top 10 Jodeci Songs list will feature their best songs.
# 10 – Freek’n You
The first song on our Top 10 Jodeci Songs list is “Freek’n You” from The Show, the After Party, the Hotel album. It has an r&b and hip-hop sound. This is from the group’s third album. They had two successful albums when this single was released. They had a lot of to live up to because of the success of their previous albums. Like most artists, they didn’t want to be pigeonholed into one style of music so they wanted to change up their music. The group decided to go in a raunchier direction with this song. The erotic song is about having sex with someone. They discuss being ready to have sex. They want it right away. The title of the song says it all.
The music is sexually charged and something that you can play while you’re “freek’n” in the bedroom. It sounds like it would please fans of New Jack Swing and hip-hop music. The song is surprisingly a ballad consider the nature of the song. Songs of this type usually have an up-tempo beat. They cleverly try to romanticize the erotic song. K-Ci and JoJo Hailey took the audience to church with their vocals. K-Ci can do a lot with his voice considering he’s a second tenor baritone. He usually handles the notes and runs in their songs. JoJo sings in first tenor falsetto and utilizes it with this song. You can tell they have a church background because of the way they emote in their songs. This song may not be a signature track for the group, but it’s worth a listen.
# 9 – Get On Up
The next song on our Top 10 Jodeci Songs list is “Get On Up” from The Show, the After Party, the Hotel album. The song has an r&b sound. The funky song is about dancing and partying. The song wasn’t created to make you think. It’s simply a jam that influences you to have fun. This is a song that’s outside of their wheelhouse. Jodeci is known for getting you in the bedroom. They don’t usually record songs about dancing unless it’s dancing horizontally. This gave them a chance to do something different for them. There are a lot of r&b artists who talk about dancing and partying so there’s nothing new here.
They did make their version sound different by giving it a southern feel. The group sampled Quincy Jones’ “Velas” for the beat. Jodeci sped up the beat from the sample. It was a good choice because it made the music sound different. It wasn’t a direct copy of Quincy Jones’ song. You can picture being at a cookout while listening to the laidback beat. The track gives the group a chance to embrace their southern roots. It sounds like something you would hear in the south. The Hailey brothers do an excellent job on the track. This type of song doesn’t require out of the park singing. They kept their vocals simple. There wasn’t a need to showcase their vocals with a song that’s about dancing.
# 8 – Feenin’
The seductive song is from the Diary of a Mad Band album. The song has an r&b sound. The enticing song is about comparing love and sex to drugs. Most of us know that “feenin’” is usually linked to drugs. The group managed to metaphorically compare a relationship to “feenin’.” There aren’t too many artists who could get away with creating a track like this one. He is hooked on the woman he wants like a drug. He needs her every day and night. She is the equivalent to his fix. If you take the romantic aspect out of the song, it sounds like a person who is hooked on drugs.
It’s definitely an ironic choice to use this title for the song when the group members did battle drug addiction. The music is reminiscent of Teddy Riley’s style of production. It sounds like something Guy or Keith Sweat would have recorded. DeVante used a vocoder for his vocals in the chorus. Teddy Riley uses a vocoder a lot with his music. This ballad was proof that the group was capable of singing love songs from different aspects. It’s different from the tracks on their debut album. The Hailey brothers nail their vocals. They hold notes and do runs throughout the song. They bring you to church with their harmonies. Their voices compliment each other very well. This is one of the songs that helped them become the group they are today.
# 7 – Cry For You
The heartbreaking song is from the Diary of a Mad Band album. The song has an r&b beat. The tender song is about a man who wants his woman to come back to him. He misses her and wants her to come home. They argue and say some things to each other they didn’t mean. She ends up moving out and he wants to get her back. He cries over losing her. This is a change for Jodeci. They sing love songs, but this song gave them a chance to show their sensitive side.
They sing about making love to women. This song is about how they feel about losing a woman. The track allows the group to show their vulnerable side. The ballad opens with piano chords. You know that it’s a Jodeci song within the first few seconds of it. DeVante is a master at seduction. His spoken word will give you goosebumps. He has a very sexy voice that will entice women everywhere. The Hailey brothers are at the top of their game. They take turns singing the verses. K-Ci Hailey sings this track in a higher key than our previous entries. JoJo Hailey is at home in this key. He already sings in falsetto. K-Ci Hailey holds notes behind his brother’s vocals. They harmonize once they get to the bridge. K-Ci starts ad libbing the bridge and the group gets together to create impressive harmonies. Everything about the song works.
# 6 – I’m Still Waiting
The painful song is from the Forever My Lady album. The song has an r&b, soul and New Jack Swing sound. The break up song is about a man waiting for his woman to come back to him. She suspects that he’s betrayed her so she leaves. He did betray her, and wants her to forgive him. He continues to wait for her to come home to him. DeVante DeGrate is a talented songwriter and producer. He knows how to fuse r&b and New Jack Swing music together. He wrote a track about a man admitting guilt and begging her to return. He wrote this song in a seductive way and not a way that sounds like they’re desperate and needy. They sound like they are seducing the woman. It would be hard to deny what they want in the song. DeVante arranged the music and it’s perfect for the theme.
He is a genius when it comes to creating songs. His contribution to the group gets overshadowed because he’s not the lead singer. He is truly the backbone of the group. K-Ci Hailey takes the lead vocals on this jam. His sings his heart out on the track. He sings this in his tenor vocal instead of his baritone vocal. He sounds similar to JoJo on the track. He belts throughout the song. The melody of the song is similar to “Forever My Lady.” He sings the song in the same way as “FML.” He gives the song the same passion as he does with “Forever My Lady.” The background vocals are hypnotizing. They do an incredible job supporting K-Ci Hailey in the background. The lead and background vocals are equally good. You may find yourself wanting to sing either part in the song.
# 5 – Come And Talk to Me
The next song on our Top 10 Jodeci Songs list is “Come And Talk to Me” from the Forever My Lady album. The song has an r&b and New Jack Swing beat. Forever My Lady had hit after hit songs released and this one was no exception. This track was a big hit for the group. The flirty song is about a guy being interested in a woman who doesn’t like him at first. He refuses to give up on the girl. The song is reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
The two themes are similar to each other. DeVante Swing hit the ball out of the park once again with this jam. He proved he had plenty of hit songs in his bag of tricks. The music has a smooth and slick beat. The keyboard and drums drive the music. The melody is similar to Al B. Sure’s! “Right Now” and Tevin Campbell’s “Alone With You.” The tempo is slowed down, but these songs do sound similar. If you listen to them closely, you will hear the similarities between them. There aren’t enough words to express how good this song is. K-Ci Hailey takes the lead on this song and blows everyone away.
His vocals are top notch. His voice is commanding and works with the music. He was probably the best choice to sing lead on this song. The rest of the group sings the chorus. They are in perfect harmony with each other. This song is an earworm that will stay in your head all day.
# 4 – Love U 4 Life
The romantic song is from The Show, the After Party, The Hotel album. The song has an r&b beat. The devotional song is about a couple who have reunited after working through their differences. They decide to leave the past in the past and move on with their lives together. He is ready to be the man she wants him to be. He wants to love her for life and decides to marry her. This sounds like a perfect love story with a happy ending. This song is sweet and tender. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the style of the album so it was the perfect contrast for it.
Jodeci wanted a raunchier style for this album so this track balances out the rest of the album. This would be a good song to play at a wedding especially if the couple has gone through trials and tribulations leading up to the wedding day. The song is perfect for the bedroom too. DeVante Swing knows the perfect balance between freaking a woman and romancing her. The music is intoxicating and is appropriate for a wedding a theme. The Hailey brothers sing lead vocals on this track. They sound amazing. They project their voices once the music gets louder. They have a vocal battle with each other and they are determined to win. Their harmonies are out of this world. They harmonize so well in the background that you can get lost in their vocals.
# 3 – Lately
The anthemic song is from the Uptown MTV Unplugged album. The song has an r&b and soul sound. The suspicious song is about a man suspecting his woman of cheating on him. He finds out that he’s right to suspect her and he wants to tell her about it. Jodeci decided to do an MTV Unplugged special and this track was a song they performed on it. The song isn’t featured on any of their albums. The song became a big hit for the group.
Stevie Wonder originally recorded the song. This is the only cover song on our list. It’s that time to ask the questions we ask for cover songs. Should they have taken the risk and recorded a hit song? Did they make it their own? The answer to the first question is they could have covered it because it’s not one of his signature songs. The answer to the second question is they definitely made the song their own. Jodeci’s version of the song was a bigger hit than the original version. Their version isn’t Karaoke. They made the song their own by slowing down the melody. The live version is unplugged. It gives listeners a chance to fall in love with K-Ci and JoJo Hailey’s voices. DeVante is a master at playing the piano.
They also turn the song into a duet so that was another good change. Let’s get to the amazing vocals. There aren’t enough words in the English language to express how good they sound on this song. They hold back when they start the verses of the song. It gives you a chance to gear up for what they are bringing to the table. They vocally explode once they hit the bridge. Once they sing the bridge, there’s no going back. They vocally let loose on the song. They equally win the vocal battle. They are singing the song live and their voices are flawless. In fact, they sing the song just as good if not better than Stevie Wonder. The legendary Stevie Wonder’s version is on point, but it might be hard to go back and listen to his after listening to Jodeci’s live version of it. This song could have easily been number one on our list, but we had to make a hard decision for the last three songs on it.
# 2 – Stay
The gorgeous song is from the Forever My Lady album. The song has an r&b sound. The pretty song is about a man who wants a woman to “stay” with him for the night. He will do anything to get her to stay with him. The lyrics are romantic and passionate. They are guaranteed to make a woman change her mind and stay with him. The song starts with DeVante Swing doing spoken word. His voice is so sexy and it’s a great way to introduce the song. This style is similar to Boyz II Men’s act. They have one singer do spoken word except his spoken words happens during the bridge of their songs. It has a smooth production and a heavy drumbeat in the background.
The keyboard is on point. The song has a wonderful melody. The music is perfect for the bedroom. They harmonize so well on this song. Jodeci knows what they’re doing when it comes to harmonies. The Hailey brothers are at it once again. They sound phenomenal on this song. It’s hard to believe this track is on their debut album. They sound like they were singing together for a long time. The brothers have another battle together. They match each other with runs and notes. The winners are the fans because we get to hear this take place. We aren’t surprised this song was a big hit for the group because it’s one of their best songs.
# 1 – Forever My Lady
The number one song on our Top 10 Jodeci Songs list “Forever My Lady” from the album of the same name. The song has an r&b beat. The celebratory song is about a man and woman who are in love. They are excited to find out they are having a baby together. Here is some trivia about the song. Al B. Sure! wrote this song for his girlfriend who was having his baby at the time. This track became one of Jodeci’s signature songs. It’s easy to see why it was a big hit for them. The music is touching and refreshing. The musical production is masterful. The song will grab you the second you hear the beautiful wind chimes in the intro.
The synth, keyboard and drums are masterful. The music is breathtaking and will have you bopping your head to beat. K-Ci and JoJo Hailey’s voices are incredible. They bring their gospel roots to this jam. They take you to church with their sweet vocals. They vocally explode on this song. Their vocals are very strong on this track. They hold incredible notes and runs from the middle of the song towards the end of it. This is the song that put the group on the map. Everything about the song works. It deserved to be a big hit and it deserved to be picked as number one on our list.
Top 10 Jodeci Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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