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|Origin||New York, United States|
|Genres||R&B, funk, jazz-funk, quiet storm, post-disco|
|Labels||Third Street (1973–1977)
|Associated acts||Stephanie Mills, Miles Davis|
|Members||James Mtume (1978–1986)
Tawatha Agee (1978–1986)
Raymond Jackson (1982–1986)
Philip Field (1982–1986)
Ed "Tree" Moore (1982–1986)
Leslie Ming (1982–1986)
|Past members||Hubert Eaves III (1978–1980)
Reggie Lucas (1978–1980)
Basil Fearington (1978–1980)
Howard King (1978–1980)
Mtume (pronounced em-tu-may) was a funk and soul group that rose to prominence during the early 1980s and had several R&B hits during its career. Its founder, former percussionist James Mtume, previously played and toured with jazz legend Miles Davis in the early 1970s. Other members of the group included Reggie Lucas and Tawatha Agee. Mtume have also gained recognition after having its hit single Juicy Fruit extensively sampled by many hip-hop artists, most notably by the Notorious B.I.G. in the 1994 hit song "Juicy". The song "C.O.D. (I'll Deliver)" from their album You, Me, and He was featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.
During the start of the group's career, they recorded three albums on the independent label Third Street Records: Kawaida (1973); Alkebu-Lan (1975); and Rebirth Cycle (1977). However, not finding pop or R&B chart success, they signed to major label Epic Records in 1978, releasing the albums Kiss This World Goodbye (1978), and In Search of the Rainbow Seekers (1980), which found modest success on the R&B chart. Their 1982 album Juicy Fruit, however, provided Mtume with its biggest hit, when the title song reached number one for eight weeks on the U.S. R&B chart. The single "Juicy Fruit" also managed to become a million-selling single despite never becoming a top 40 hit, and it is arguably the groups most recognized song.
Mtume's 1984 album You, Me, and He also proved to be a success with the title song reaching number 2 on the R&B chart. Their final R&B Top Ten hit was "Breathless" (1986) from their final album Theater of the Mind. Mtume continued recording with Epic Records until the late 1980s. Group member Tawatha Agee subsequently went solo in 1987.
After Mtume's disbandment, James Mtume went on to produce and write several other songs for an assortment of artists, and with fellow band member Reggie Lucas wrote Stephanie Mill's Top-ten single "Never Knew Love Like This Before", for which they both received a Grammy Award for best R&B song writing and producing. James Mtume has also written hits for Roberta Flack, R. Kelly, and Mary J. Blige.
Reggie Lucas (along with Jellybean Benitez) produced the majority of Madonna's first album, Madonna, including the songs "Borderline" and "Lucky Star". He also produced Roy Ayers, and the Bar-Kays, and composed the music and theme tune for the 1990s television police drama New York Undercover.
The 1978–80 line-up was:
The 1982–86 line-up was:
- Rebirth Cycle (1977)
- Kiss This World Goodbye (1978)
- In Search of the Rainbow Seekers (1980)
- Juicy Fruit (1982)
- You, Me and He (1984)
- Theater of the Mind (1986)