How Come Nobody Cares About Boyz II Men Anymore? » VSB

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How Come Nobody Cares About Boyz II Men Anymore?

There was a time in my life when I absolutely hated Boyz II Men’s “End Of The Road”. Not because it isn’t a good song – it is – but because I couldn’t go ANYWHERE in 1992 without hearing this song. Drunk white people were singing it on benders. Black dudes were blasting it from their drop top Huegots, women were singing it en masse at conventions and baptisms. It was so ubiquitous that it spent 13 weeks at the number one spot on the US Hot 100 charts, at the time a record that would be broken shortly after by Whitney Houston’s remake of “I Will Always Love You” only to be broken AGAIN by Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey’s collaboration, “One Sweet Day”. And let’s not forget the juggernaut that was “I’ll Make Love To You”, which spent 14 weeks at the top spot on the pop charts with the assist from the video starring Duane Martin. Nautica jackets, linen, and satin pajamas. I imagine even Casey Kasem got tired of listening to that song.

On a side note, the 90s, clearly my favorite era for pretty much everything creative (with the 70s being a VERY close second) was a terrible time for video decisions. For instance, in the video for “I’ll Make Love To You”, the four members of Boyz II Men are literally in a bathroom together, singing, wearing satin pajamas. There’s never really a good time to sit around with your boys in a bathroom wearing various colors of satin pajamas. Singing. Just don’t do it. Cool video, though.

Back to the lecture at hand. By pretty much any measurable bar, Boyz II Men is one of the greatest boy bands of all time. They had two one albums (and one of the best Christmas albums know to mankind), multiple record-breaking singles, won tons of Grammys, and had more talent per capita than almost any other singing group in history since Nathan, Michael. Shawn, and Wanya could all actually sing with Shawn Stockman coming into his own as a songwriter as well. And yet, much like Otis, nobody really seems to give a shit about Boyz II Men anymore. This is puzzling.

Contrast that with a group like Jodeci, one of my favorite groups in the history of mankind. Bad perms, odd stage behavior, and crack problems aside, Jodeci can pretty much do no wrong. And when we think of landmark R&B groups from the 90s, Jodeci is usually one of the groups think of first along with 112. People still care about Jodeci and they stopped making music as a group in 1995 (the court would like to move that Jodeci’s 2015 album The Past, The Present, and The Future be stricken from the official record). Jodeci never even had a US charting #1 album OR single. They topped the R&B charts, but less times than Boyz II Men. To this day, nobody actually knows what Dalvin does or did, and that whole “drum” thing seems moot since DeVante produced everything and the drums were clearly programmed. Or maybe DeVante created the music then dropped the drums and had Dalvin come in and replay them live in the studio. But I doubt this seriously. But get your production credit, Dalvin.

Both even shot videos in the desert (Boyz II Men’s “Water Runs Dry” and Jodeci’s “Cry For You”) but only one made any sense: Boyz II Men’s. Ain’t no water in the desert, b. Meanwhile, Jodeci was bringing water to the desert with their tears, since they’d cry for you, since it has been an hour since you’ve been gone…which, let’s be real, is too long. Come back home girl. Come home. Not for nothing, I’ve always felt like desert videos were a cop out. Can’t think of shit else to do in a video? Just send the dudes to the desert and let them sing their hearts out in sandals and white linen. For the record, “Cry For You” is a MUCH better song though. Beautiful music, fam. Beautiful music.

If you want to start a real live debate, ask a group of Black people what Jodeci’s best song was and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. I, personally, think it’s “Freek’N You” since I think it epitomized the group, but answers range anywhere from “Love U 4 Life” to “Come and Talk To Me (Remix)”. Ask a group of Black folks to argue about Boyz II Men…and you’ll get somebody who throws out, “eh…Jodeci would whip their ass!” That actually happened once by the way. It’s completely untrue. Nobody would EVER pit Jodeci vs Boyz II Men in a singing fight and claim its a fair one. Boyz II Men’s acapella take on the classic New Edition record, “Can You Stand The Rain?” might actually be better than the original. Those are fighting words. I realize this. Fight night, b. Don’t get pitch slapped! See what I did there? Like, from the movie Pitch Perfect? Hehe.

People like 112 more than Boyz II Men, and we know they’re not even as good as Jagged Edge, which is a group that is clearly not as good as Boyz II Men. I realize that chart success isn’t an indication of a group’s inherent greatness, but Boyz II Men is one of those groups whose success seemed to truly match up with their talent. You don’t sell 60 million records worldwide without literally being one of the best to ever do it.

But again, when you hear people rave about the groups from the 90s, Boyz II Men rarely gets a mention and I wonder why this is. I have a few theories on this. For instance, it’s entirely popular that Boyz II Men’s popularity has worked against them. They were a bit TOO popular thus making them pure pop sensations and when people think of their favorite things (like whiskers on kittens) they usually go for things that are a bit more “authentic”, which could explain Jodeci and 112’s appeal. They seemed like dudes you might know from next door. But then how do we explain Mariah Carey or even Whitney Houston, two women who were even MORE popular who have managed to remain relevant in nearly all music conversations. So that theory is horseshit.

It can’t be because they peaked too early. Their last number one album was in 1997 (Evolution). Meanwhile, Jodeci’s last album (that you’ve heard) came out in 1995. Was it as good as II? No. But I doubt anybody would say that The Show, The Afterparty, The Hotel was as good as Diary Of A Mad Band. 

Did they take some kind of PR hit that I don’t remember that pushed them to the background? I remember Wanya dating Brandy was a thing because her parents didn’t approve though they somehow approved of her dating Mase. Parents are odd ducks. The only plausible theory I have is one that ties into their popularity. When you go mainstream, folks tend to write you off as a favorite or artist of note, at least in R&B. Babyface knows this problem all to well. Then again, Babyface probably couldn’t care since it’s likely that he is still cashing checks from the 90s.

Maybe I’m completely wrong here. But I listen to a lot of 90s stations, music, and attend many events catered to the 90s. I might hear Kid ‘N Play, but I’ll never hear “Motownphilly”. Or I’ll never hear “On Bended Knee” or “End Of The Road” on a 90s station. New Edition has a more permanent place in our memories than Boyz II Men. So what gives?

How come nobody cares about Boyz II Men anymore?

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • They’re boy scouts, talented but it was R&B my mother loved and I couldn’t get jiggy with it. Even I’ll Make Love To You sounds like 3 minute secks and apologies after

    • gurlgamer05

      Not 3 minute secks though. Even though I love Jodeci too, I always felt like they were my no good cousin from the hood I couldn’t take anywhere or had to hide ish from. Boyz II Men I could take around my mama and nem and not be embarrassed or fear for my stuff.

      • Jennifer

        Exactly. Jodeci would get you pregnant and not offer child support later on. I kept my ears and my uterus away from their music.

    • Lol you’ve just ruined this song for me.

  • YeaSoh

    I think it’s because B2M were way too cookie cutter… they nevah got gully with it… too “I’d like to thank my Pastor Lydia” and not enough “Mylie what’s good!!”… gotta balance that thang out, if not, you’re just boring when it’s all over

    • Gee golly brothers can’t get no love

      • Sigma_Since 93

        I put this at the feet of Michael Bivins.

    • FILTHIER

      Errrrrr……They weren’t that cute either. The deep voiced one was cute but he’s a quitter.

      • miss t-lee

        that’s what I was alluding to up top…lol

      • YeaSoh

        This is also true… too many of them suffered from women hips

        • 909girl601world

          I just cackled. Loudly. At work. But they really do have them hips!!!

        • FILTHIER

          Like Denzel Washington.

          • YeaSoh

            nah uhh REaaLLYYY??? :-(

            • FILTHIER

              I dated an actor who worked with him, says he’s got hips. Credible source.

      • Andie

        I blame all of Boys 2 Men problems on….LOOKS. I remember when someone told me they had a poster of one of them. I was like “Which one??????”. 112 I can look at, I always had a crush on Dalvin, I could work with 1 of them Jagged Edge people. But B2M. The complete opposite of heart throbs. I don’t want to picture them with romantic music. (sorry)

        • FILTHIER
        • miss t-lee

          could never decide if Dalvin or DeVante was cuter back then.

          • FILTHIER

            I have an AWESOME story about Jodeci years ago……I had a friend who was dating Dalvin and he had a club….my first trip to Los Angeles we went. K Ci pushed past me on the dance floor holding the hands of this 6 foot plus, muscular man with a wig on. When I say muscular, I mean Body Builder supreme HUGE. Covered in freckles. Or maybe steroid bumps. K Ci didn’t say excuse me but his date did. In a man voice.

            • camilleblu

              errr….I need somebody to drop a record scratch gif right here…

              • FILTHIER

                I can close my eyes I remember it so vividly cause my face was very close to his chest, and I could feel his breath on the top of my head when he said excuse me.

                • camilleblu

                  i am cackling

                  • FILTHIER

                    Oh and it was a big curly red wig…..like Donna Summer but red. I had to put that out there. Because I think I would have felt different if it was a better wig.

            • miss t-lee

              well, sh*t.

              • Lea Thrace

                ^^the only appropriate response. LOL!

                • miss t-lee

                  I literally read that and got to the end, and I had no other response…lol

            • Medium Meech

              WOOOOW. That is crazy. Seriously? Freckles? Can’t believe he’s down with the swirl.

              • FILTHIER

                Uh…..?

                • Medium Meech

                  I guess I’m saying I’m not overly surprised by K-Ci. He reminds me a lil of Sisqo.

            • Brass Tacks

              Wha?

            • brothaskeeper

              Um…

        • PhlyyPhree

          I swore up and down I was going to marry Q. My homegirl used to teach at the school his son went to. I was forever plotting on how I could be a teacher’s assistant there.

        • LOL You not right.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    It was always a good boy (B2M) vs. bad boy (Jodeci) marketing campaign. While B2M won in the mainstream, Jodeci won our hearts.

    • Boyz II Men sang in perfect harmony, K Ci yelled in any key he felt like and we loved him got it

      • Sigma_Since 93

        So did Wanya (sp) but the group dynamics reigned him in.

        • panamajackson

          Wanya had that head bob game on lock. He and K-Ci could have been an epic group entitled Bobbleheads.

          • Its like they saw that Stevie did it but never learned what the purpose was

      • Cleojonz

        That’s because he was giving Bobby Womack realness. Lol

        • miss t-lee

          This is true.

  • I care.

    That reminds me- I need to do a picplaypost tribute video of me singing the chorus to “Thank You” in 4 part harmony, never to see the light of day.

  • That I’ll Make Love to You song sounds like something they’d play in a sixth grade health class, though. Right before the big dance.

    • panamajackson

      It does. I agree.

    • No one smashes and holds each other all night… Who taught them the birds and the Beez

      • Well played, sir. Well played.
        *closes eyes*
        *makes a wish*
        *blows out the candlelight*

        • miss t-lee

          I hate you for typing this right now…lol

      • Lol…google.

    • Cleojonz

      That song makes me cringe.

      • This post couldve been a breakdown on how corny that song was…. They pouring wine and lighting fires and ol girl just wanna get smashed in a car to FM static

        • Cleojonz

          It could also be that I’ve heard too many bad Karoake versions of it to ever want to hear it again.

    • miss t-lee

      it was sooooo bad. So.

  • Cleojonz

    WP still really love B2M. We have a concert series where I live every summer called Alive@Five on Thursday night. They won’t bring any real urban groups here for this but B2M was here this summer. This is their 2nd time playing this concert series here. It was one of the most packed nights there ever. Black folks of all ages came out too because like I said they usually don’t showcase any kind of musical diversity at this series.

    • gurlgamer05

      Boyz II Men is the corny kind of “safe” black that makes WP feel safe. Plus, they do wack Wendy’s commercials and stuff now so it makes people feel comfortable with them.

  • panamajackson

    The funny part is that I’m a victim of the same thing. I forget Boyz II Men exist half the time too. Kind of like En Vogue. Who should have been bigger than they were.

    • miss t-lee

      Maybe because i’m a lady who grew up in the 90s, but I have never forgotten En Vogue.

      • Freebird

        I lost my mind as a youngin when that “Hold On” video came out. It was a thank the heavens I am black moment.

        • miss t-lee

          I’m sure lots of young men did…lol

      • queenren

        This! To this day, they are one of my favorite groups!

      • YeaSoh

        NEVUH!!!

    • FILTHIER

      En Vogue reminded me of Aunties. Most of their music was advice. Even in the tight dresses, by the time they tried to be a little hood with WhattaMan it was too late. They should have entered the game with a more youthful essence to match those sexy bodies.

  • LadyIbaka

    Ummm, it’s the era of phakk bois not wholesome looking, tweed wearing, soprano, falsetto sanging brothas.

  • gurlgamer05

    I care. I care so much I’ve had them on at least 2 devices ever since I can remember. I listen to a 90s station that plays them all the time. Shouts out to IHeartRadio’s ’90s R&B ballads station. I strongly dislike their most recent album, but their stuff from the 90s still gets plenty of play time, lol.

  • Greg Simms Jr

    I know why. They were a Gen X group. They thrived as long as Gen X were the prized demographic for Madison Avenue. When Gen “Y” took over that demo back in 1997, they squeezed out Gen X through sheer strength of numbers.

    I think, THINK, Gen X was 40 million people. Gen Y was and is close to 60 million. Boyz II Men, Babyface, Toni Braxton, etc., got their careers cut short because of a generational shift.

    Long Live Gen X :)

    • That shift hit them fast by 1997 if you couldn’t dance you was outta there (even though Toni grew her hair and snuck back in)

      • Greg Simms Jr

        Ya know??!! In 97, 98, if a singer didn’t have abs of steel and an S Curl, it was curtains for them. The only R&B singer who survived the “purge” was R. Kelly.

        • R Kelly was out by 2000 and again, grew his hair an snuck back in

          • FILTHIER

            Cause R Kelly has the same thing Snoop Dogg has. I can’t put my finger on what that is though.

            • Lea Thrace

              crackhead tendencies? Crackheads never die.

              • FILTHIER

                Like….that………guy who is always going to have an open backyard for throwing successful barbeques. He’s old and rusty but young people still like him at the party. And he always has money for ice.

              • Crack gives ninjas healing factors like they went through Weapon X. #mustbethebakingsoda

            • brothaskeeper

              Would you wanna put your finger on either of them?

              • FILTHIER

                They aren’t my type.

    • Madame Zenobia

      This is an incredibly good point.

    • panamajackson

      Except they had a number one album on the Black charts and the pop charts in 1997 and an album after that was a top 5 album in both charts. Their decline happened well after 1997.

      • Ustadh

        Their decline happened well after 1997.

        Late 90’s and 2000’s saw the rise of popularity of white boy bands (backstreet boys, nsync) a probable reason for the decline

      • Greg Simms Jr

        Yeah, “Evolution” debuted at #1 in 1997, but it dropped off the charts faster than any Boyz II Men album ever had. It sold 2 million domestically, which was waaayy off for them.

        Their 2000 album debuted lower on Billboard’s charts, and sold a little over Gold, 500, 000 units…

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