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Jodeci speak on 20 year hiatus and more

(Fader Magazine)

Do you ever feel like you get pigeonholed as being a certain type of artist, because when people think about Jodeci, they think about the leather, the black clothes, the 'thugs' of R&B?

MR. DALVIN: Not to discredit anybody but that's the ignorance of not knowing. You see a guy with his pants hanging down, he's got a skully, and you scared cause he's black. People have a lifestyle with culture. Jodeci, as many records as we've sold, we've never been invited to the Grammys. Is it because we're too black or what? We stay true to ourselves. We ain't try to conform or reform ourselves to what was standard of R&B [was]. We stuck by our guns.

I remember an interview with an R&B singer in the early 2000s where he complained that labels thought his music was "too black" to market. Did y'all encounter resistance like that? K-CI: We never got that because we came into the game with the soulful, black or whatever you wanna call it [sound].

It's a shame man. I'm not racist but how can you say a white singer is being labeled as the most soulful singer out right now? You know who I'm talking about, right? The man who did something with Mary [J. Blige]. DALVIN: Sam Smith. K-CI: When I heard that, I was like, Yeah, it's time [for Jodeci to come back].

Do all the current Jodeci references reach you? Like when Kanye West was announcing that Kim Kardashian was pregnant and he sang "Forever My Lady?" DALVIN: Is that right?

He had a concert, and that was the announcement. Him singing "So you're having my baby," was him telling the world that Kim was pregnant. K-CI: A rapper singing to his lady on stage, supposed to be all hardcore and he's singing Jodeci! Everyone can relate to it. It's cool.

Jodeci's history and legacy is cemented. So what does it mean for you to be coming out with music right now? DALVIN: We're going to weather the storm as long as we want to. A lot of artists, I find, they just release music, release music until they get the right one, the right single. It gets oversaturated, people are tired of you. We don't just put songs out to put songs out, we don't just make albums just to make albums. Take your time, that's what we do. Methodically sit down. We got bodies of work that will mean something.

As far as when Jodeci stopped releasing music, was that a conscious decision, was there an actual conversation about it? DALVIN: Hip-hop was dominating the radio and we saw some of our favorite R&B artists getting pushed to the side. We did the merger with Wu-Tang and we stayed relevant for a long time. Then it was like, let's just let the hip-hop era come through.

Did the label have anything to say about it? DALVIN: Whenever there's money involved they're like, 'Don't stop, Let's bleed it dry!' At the end of the day, if you squeeze a lemon and all the juice is out, there's no more lemon left. Save the juice. Let it marinate. You don't need to try to force something.

Would there have been anyone who could have convinced ya'll to keep going? DALVIN: Not at the time.


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