"This Very Moment." Directed by Telly Heller.
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& JoJo Hailey have been described as having the ability to sing
to the power of ten. Their awesome vocal prowess, a uniquely inimitable
combination of raw power (K-Ci) tempered by sweet charm (JoJo),
has sustained this dynamic duo over an award-winning ten-year career.
There's an even bigger reason for their unparalleled international
success. No doubt, you're familiar with the expression "game face,"
best characterized as a determination to play by the rules as hard
as one can. No backing down, 'cause the game is definitely ON! Musically,
K-Ci & JoJo are the very embodiment of the phrase, two blood brothers
who refuse to approach their craft without their game faces firmly
in place. We mention "ten" and "game face" because they mesh seamlessly
with K-Ci & JoJo's current status in life.
Their new, and third,
MCA Records album is aptly titled X, the Roman numeral for the number
10. And "Game Face" just so happens to be one of the songs on this
exceptional offering. K-Ci explains: "We've been in the game for
over ten years, now. X is an album that, to me, shows we haven't
changed. Even when we recorded as Jodeci, we would go into the studio
just singing, 'cause we just love to sing. If you give us a hot
track, we'll sing to that, with our game faces on!" Pardon us if
we seem just a bit overly enthusiastic as we tout the many virtues
of X, an album so full of surprises and exciting twists and turns
that you'll find yourself caught up in the moment time after time
X is a celebration of
a just-completed golden decade that began with the legendary multi-platinum
Jodeci, hip-hop's first internationally successful group. Jodeci
generated such ten Top Ten hits as "Forever My Lady," "Stay," "Come
And Talk To Me," "Lately" and "Cry For You" off 1991's triple Platinum
Forever My Lady, 1994's double Platinum Diary Of A Mad Band and
1995's double Platinum The Show, The After-Party, The Hotel. In
1996, K-Ci & JoJo took the world by surprise by going solo with
the triple Platinum "Love Always" and scoring the super-sized #
1 Pop hit, "All My Life," a song that has since gone on to become
an anthem for all lovers who have found that perfect partner. "You
Pick Me Up" and "Don't Rush" completed the heady rise to the top
for this dynamic duo.
In 1999, K-Ci &
JoJo released their second album, the double Platinum It's Real, which
spawned the hits "Tell Me It's Real" and "Fee Fi Fo Fum." They closed
the millennium by being the only act in music history to have a #
1 Pop song ("All My Life"), # 1 Rap song (2Pac's "How Do You Want
It") and # 1 Gospel song (The Hailey Family's "" which was co-written
by their mom Anita Hailey "Mama Song", K-Ci says, "Our mom calls every
week for her royalty check!"
In the snippet of time that K- Ci&JoJo actually had to themselves
in 2000 (all of two weeks), they made the emotional move of buying
a house in Los Angeles and officially call it home. In any given moment,
the brothers may throw charcoal on the grill and invite their many
friends to an impromptu bash. "Charlotte, that's home, Big Mama's
house," K-Ci is quick to defend. "We'll never give that up. But the
expenses of airfare and hotel bills were more than if we just settled
in Los Angeles. Plus, it's a write-off!" JoJo chimes in, "There's
something about the L.A. atmosphere; it puts us in a creative vibe.
we've been in the past eleven years, we've had fun and a lot of
love shown to us. BUT, there's no place like the Motherland." JoJo
speaks of a trip in April of 2000 to South Africa with labelmate
Mary J. Blige. "There were some big mosquitos, but you learn to
live with it," K-Ci laughs. "There were signs when we got off the
plane that said, 'Welcome Home!' My mom cried." Although the tour
to Johannesburg, Durban and Capetown was short, a mere four days,
the stadiums in which they played bulged to over 50,000 nightly.
The year 2000 marks the beginning of a new millennium and K-Ci &
JoJo look to conquer even more horizons with X, the first album
on which they decided to let others handle the production efforts.
If names such as Babyface ("All The Things I Should Have Known"),
Teddy Riley "Wanna Do Right", Timbaland ("Game Face"), Delite (the
first single release "Crazy", Emanuel Office and Ralph Stacy ("I
Can't Find The Words" and "Suicide"), Johnny J ("Thug In You/Thug
In Me), Rory Bennett ("Honest Lover"), Tim Owens ("One Last Time")
and Deconzo Smith ("If It's Going To Work") and--are you ready?-Jodeci
co-member Devante Swing ("Slip & Fall" and "Get Back") don't get
you excited, then check your pulse! And to quicken your pulse just
a bit more, K-Ci & JoJo invited special guest the late, great 2Pac
on "Thug In Me/Thug In You." "K-Ci and I wrote over 75% of our material,
so we're very cautious about outside material that we're going to
use," JoJo says of their decision to use outside producers and songwriters.
"The team of writers we used on X are like family. It's not like
we just went out and got anybody. We really wanted to see how far
we could go and bring music back to where it was. It was like an
experiment." K-Ci adds: "People had never really heard us work with
some of these other producers. We put a twist in the plan to sort
of say we appreciate you for accepting our ideas, but let's hear
other people's ideas to hear how they sound."
and if you haven't guessed by now, the appearance of Devante Swing
on "Get Back" and "Slip & Fall" marks an unofficial Jodeci reunion.
Will there be more? "Lemme put it to you in two words: We're back!,"
K-Ci explains. So, what prompted K-Ci & JoJo to hook back up with
Devante? "We never left each other," JoJo says bluntly. "We actually
never split up; we just took a break. With Jodeci, we had been around
the world a couple of times. We just wanted to try something different.
We know that there are people who get mad when they hear that groups
split up. Please don't be mad at Jodeci, 'cause we never split up.
Now, only God knows what the future holds. But, from what we feel,
the future looks very bright."
the present, though, K-Ci & JoJo bring serious attitude to X. "All
The Things I Should Have Known" is a gorgeous ballad that complements
K-Ci & JoJo's soaring vocal combination. "I Can't Find The Words,"
an R&B song that's a throwback to K-Ci's Bobby Womack influence,
finds K-Ci torching the stuffing out of the song. "Our manager,
Damon Jones, wanted us to do a song like back in the old days, a
song with the feel of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding," K-Ci relates. "With
us being from church, we know how to do that!" 2Pac, whose close
relationship to the brothers is well documented, The Stevie Wonder-esque
"One Last Time" is highlighted by JoJo's achingly stunning interpretation.
The golden blend of Rory Bennett and JoJo, co-writers of "All My
Life" and "Tell Me It's Real," is added to "Honest Lover," a song
sure to become a Top-40 standard. And, keeping things in the family,
K-Ci & JoJo feature their half-brother, Marty, on "Suicide."
full decade under K-Ci & JoJo's belt impacted their lives? K-Ci
concludes, "Everywhere we've been in the past ten years, we've had
fun, we've had a lot of love shown to us. This album is special
to us. That's why we call it X, because we want everybody to know
what we went through the past ten years." "The opportunity to travel
around the world made us realize that love is not limited," JoJo
reveals. "We put a lot into X. We try to touch every situation dealing
with life and love. Like Mama says, 'We all need love.'"