Next (American band)

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For the South Korean rock band that wrote "Dear America" see N.EX.T
Origin Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Genres R&B
Years active 1994–present
Labels Arista (1997-2000)
J (2001-2002)
Interscope (2005-2006)
Music World/Universal (2006-2007)
Members Terry "T-Low" Brown (1994-present)
Raphael "Tweet" Brown (1994-2007, 2011-present)
Past members Aaron DePonce (2007-2011, 2013-2014)
RL Huggar (1994-2013)

Next is an American R&B musical duo, popular during the late 1990s. They are best known for their hit singles "Too Close", "Wifey", and "I Still Love You".


Fronted by founding members RL Huggar, brothers Terry Brown and Raphael Brown, and a 4th member Shilo Benjamin who left the group before the fame. The group was founded together by the Brown family's uncle, who was a local gospel choir director. They began performing under the name "Straight4ward." For commercial appeal, the name "straight4ward" was changed to "Next" with the assistance of producer Lance "LA" Alexander. The group trained under and was managed for a time by Ann Nesby from the gospel group Sounds of Blackness. Next was introduced in their home town of Minneapolis, Minnesota to producer and DJ artist KayGee from Naughty By Nature. They subsequently signed with KayGee's newly formed Divine Mill record label, which at the time was distributed through Arista Records.


1997-1999: Rated Next[edit]

Next's debut album, Rated Next, was released in September 1997. The album featured appearances by R&B singer Adina Howard, Koffee Brown, Castro and an appearance by Naughty By Nature. Their debut single, "Butta Love" became a top five (#4) R&B hit, while going top twenty (#16) Pop, in the fall of 1997. Their second single "Too Close" peaked at number one on both Billboard's Hot 100 and R&B Singles chart, the former for five weeks, and was named the number one song of 1998 by Billboard Magazine. "I Still Love You," the album's third and final single, went top twenty (#14) Pop and was RIAA-certified Gold. Also in 1998, Next recorded "Whatever You Want" (which featured Curtis Conway) for the NFL Jams compilation album.

In addition to this, Next topped the Billboard Year-End Charts as the "Top New Pop Artist," "Top Hot 100 Singles Artist - Duos/Group," "Top R&B Artist - Duos/Group" (singles & albums), "Top New R&B Artist," "Top Hot R&B Singles Artist," "Top Hot R&B Singles Artist - Duos/Group," and with the Top Hot 100 Single, Top Hot R&B Single, and Top Hot R&B Single Airplay. Rated Next was certified double platinum, and the group was nominated for an American Music Award for "Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group."[1]

In 1999, Next also appeared on Destiny's Child recorded "If You Leave" for their second album The Writing's on the Wall and contributed "Nobody" to the Violator compilation with rapper Mysonne. Also, the same year, group member RL dueted with Deborah Cox on her top ten hit "We Can't Be Friends". In October of that year, RL collaborated with Case, Ginuwine and Tyrese for the song "The Best Man I Can Be" for the soundtrack for the film, The Best Man.

2000-2001: Welcome II Nextasy[edit]

Next's second album Welcome II Nextasy was released in 2000; featured guests included: Beanie Sigel, Lil' Mo, G-Wise (Talk Box on "Cyber Sex") reggae artist Red Rat, Renee Neufville (from Zhane), as well as a then fledgling 50 Cent. The album's first single "Wifey" (featuring Lil' Mo) topped the R&B Singles chart, while peaking at number seven on the Hot 100. The follow-up single "Beauty Queen," however, peaked at a modest number forty-eight R&B, while failing to chart on the Hot 100 at all. Subsequently, while the album was Gold certified, it failed to ultimately mirror the success of their debut. Next, however, was nominated for a Soul Train Music Award for "Best R&B/Soul Album; Group, Band or Duo" and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Favorite Group - R&B." Next also collaborated at this time with new labelmate Jaheim on his single "Anything" (also appearing in the music video), and provided backing vocals on several tracks on his album Ghetto Love. In March of the following month, RL recorded the song, "Good Love" on the soundtrack to the 2001 film, The Brothers.

After the run of their second album Next transferred from Arista to J Records to continue to work under the guidance of former Arista head Clive Davis upon his leaving the label and launching J. Next also appeared on the soundtrack to Bad Company with the song "Tonite."

2002-2003: The Next Episode[edit]

In early 2002, while Next was on hiatus, RL's solo debut album, RL: Ements, was released to modest success and acclaim. Later in the year, Next returned with their third album, The Next Episode. Prior to the recording of the album, group member T-Low underwent throat surgery, which caused the concern that he may not be able to sing again. There were rumors of turmoil within the group springing from RL's various outside endeavors, as well as with group member Tweet's own solo aspirations. The first single from the album was "Imagine That", which was relatively tame compared to the group's known penchant toward raunchier material. The album, however, failed to chart well. Shortly thereafter, the group's contract with J Records was dissolved. Whether due to sales, or if other factors were involved was not made clear. In 2003 RL also did work around the Minneapolis area with several artists including Kooke, an up-and-coming rapper from Hit Kid Records. Their single "Holla Back", which included Mr. Cheeks and Jackyson Bazile of the platinum rap group, The Lost Boyz, made noise in the Minneapolis area.

After J Records[edit]

In late 2005 Next was briefly signed to G-Unit/Interscope Records. According to reports, award-winning producers Jermaine Dupri, Jackyson Bazile, Rich Harrison, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Jon Bryant were to be involved in the production. Before any of this transpired, though, Next departed Interscope for unknown reasons.

In 2006 while still under the G-Unit/Interscope label, the group produced two mixtapes with G-Unit DJ "Whoo Kid", The Moisture Mixtape and The Next Level under the moniker "The New Next". Later, a song by Next emerged on YouTube called "Hater In You",[2] which some interpreted as a slant on other groups, although Huggar claimed that this was not true, and that the song was simply an expression of frustration for the politics of the music industry.

In 2006 Next signed to Mathew Knowles' Music World Entertainment label. On April 2, 2007, RL revealed on the Frank Ski & Wanda Morning Show on V-103 in Atlanta, that their new album would be entitled Sex Toy. The title has since been changed to Next, Lies, & Videotape and will be released early next year.[3] RL is also said to be working on his second solo album. Group member Raphael “Tweet” Brown left the group due to having problems with his bandmate R. L. Huggar and wanting to become more spiritual and serve the Lord. They later made up but decided to pursue a solo career. Tweet was replaced by Aaron Deponce of former Laface group A Few Good Men. By 2011 Tweet returned and all original members RL, Tweet & T-Low came together to tour and record a new album. The title of the new album, Next, Lies, & Videotape, has been changed to Music 101.

Aaron DePonce was a member between 2007 and late 2011 during Tweet's departure from the group. DePonce was replaced by a returning Tweet in 2011 and recording began for the new album that did not surface. RL has left the group in 2013 to focus on his solo career and DePonce is now in his place, with the new trio set to release an album entitled "The Next Chapter".[4]

On 12.12.12, Tweet (who has rebranded himself as Prince Raphael Shawan) released a solo single "Slow Love" featuring Lambo Lux (produced by Ryan & Smitty) and in March 2013 released a second single "Ratchet" featuring Ben J from New Boyz (produced by Pilfinger) from his debut solo album "The Age of Aquarius".

In July 2014 the group previewed a snippet of their long awaited new single, "Living Room" via YouTube.

On August 12 2014, via his Instagram page, Aaron DePonce announced his departure from Next.

In October 2014 the group previewed a full song "Leaving With Me" from their new album via Audiomack.

On November 18th their new single "Leaving With Me" is scheduled to be released to iTunes..



Year Album Chart positions Certifications Sales
1997 Rated Next 37 13 20 US: 2x Platinum US: 2,000,000+
2000 Welcome II Nextasy 12 4 US: Gold US: 500,000+
2002 The Next Episode 120 27
2014 Next.Over.Everything TBD


Year Title Chart positions Album
US US R&B US Pop UK[5]
1997 "Butta Love" 16 4 Rated Next
1998 "Too Close" 1 1 5 24
"I Still Love You" 14 4
2000 "Wifey" (featuring Lil' Mo) 7 1 40 19 Welcome II Nextasy
"Beauty Queen" 48
2002 "Imagine That" 66 The Next Episode
2014 "Living Room" TBD Next.Over.Everything
2014 "Leaving With Me"

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • American Music Awards
    • 1999, Favorite Soul/R&B Band, Duo or Group: (Nominated)
    • 1999, Favorite New Soul/R&B New Artist: (Nominated)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Next". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  2. ^ "R.L Of Next - Hater In You (Jagged Edge And 112 Diss)". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  3. ^ Hanna, Mitchell (2010-04-06). "Tuesday Rap Release Dates: Drake, Tha Dogg Pound, Joell Ortiz | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  4. ^ "N.Ξ.X.T (thegroupNEXT) on Twitter". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 394. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

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