The Rude Boys
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|The Rude Boys|
|Origin||Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Genres||R&B, soul, gospel, new jack swing|
|Labels||Atlantic Records (1989–1993)|
|Associated acts||Joe N Little III, Gerald LeVert, LeVert, Men at Large, The O'Jays|
Original band members:
- Joe N Little III (lead singer)
- Edward (Buddy) Lee Banks (lead singer)
- Larry (Bingo) Marcus
- Melvin Sephus
Current band members
- Joe Little III (lead singer)
- Keni Myles
- Gee Labeuad
Group first formed by Edward Buddy Banks and co-founded by Joe N Little III. Edward then added Larry Bingo Marcus and Melvin Sephus.
The band's 1990 debut album Rude Awakening, started slow with its first release "Come On Lets Do This" which peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard R&B charts. However, it was the group's second single, "Written All Over Your Face" that made the group a sensation, as the single topped the R&B charts and also cracked the top 20 on the pop charts. The song showcased the vocals of Joe Little III and Edward "Buddy" Banks, with a cameo appearance by Gerald LeVert; the single rode the charts for 31 weeks, and finally made it to No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts and No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It went on to win the 1991 Billboard Music Award for R&B Single of the Year ("Written All Over Your Face").
The group would score a second No. 1 hit on Billboard R&B hit from this album in 1990 with "Are You Lonely for Me," written by Little and Tony Nicholas. With the well-rounded, riffing baritone of Little and the vibrating, towering tenor of Banks, the single rose straight to the top. This single is one of the few songs, since the emergence of videos, to gain the number one ranking without a video. Another song released from the album, "Heaven", was a natural, vocally soulful tune with a peppy rhythm that peaked at the No. 15 spot on the Billboard R&B chart. Meanwhile, the Rude Awakening album would peak at No. 10 Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 68 Billboard 200. The Rude Boys also toured that year with Levert and The O'Jays. The album itself was just one spot below the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums top 10 spot, where it sat comfortably at No. 11 in the spring of 1990.
Rude House and later 1990s
Riding on the success of their two laid-back number one singles from their debut release, the boys followed up their debut album with Rude House in 1992. With this album, they came flying back in the form of the up-tempo "My Kinda Girl" (an underground new jack hit) which was energetically complemented by the superb vocals of Little and Banks, who admirably improvise their way through the vamp. The song also was remixed by then director of A&R at Atlantic Records Clark Kent, a hip hop DJ and record producer from New York. At the time, Clark was pushing an unknown rapper from the Marcy housing projects in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY who would come to be known to the world as Jay-Z. This move propelled "My Kinda Girl" in the Hip Hop underground scene in New York and abroad. To support the single, Jay-Z would go on to perform with the Rude Boys live at one of the Big Apple's premiere underground Hip Hop Clubs. Falling short of the number one ranking, the single peaked at number No. 2 after 18 weeks on the Billboard R&B chart and the next single to be released, "Go Ahead and Cry" peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard R&B charts. The excellent singing by Banks, Little and company could not disguise the fact that the R&B world was moving closer to the parlance of Hip Hop. That change rendered Rude House hopelessly old-fashioned despite the fact that it was one of Atlantic Records better R&B releases of 1992. Label mates and peers R&B group LeVert ran into a similar problem in this period, and never truly recovered. Still, Rude House was a solid production, peppered with great songs, loaded with one great song after another, most of them soulful ballads. When the album Rude House came out in 1992, its lack of commercial success highlighted the public's shift away from the New Jack era and marked the beginning of the sound scan era. This would mark the end of the Rude Boys stint with Atlantic Records and run with mentor Gerald LeVert.
The Rude Boys' follow-up album without Little or LeVert's guidance, Rude As Ever was released several years later and is the latest album from the group released to date.
Staying under Gerald LeVert's tutelage, Little went on to do a solo album up under Atlantic Records entitled Puttin It Down in 1994, and with minimal promotion sold a little over 250,000 records. Little also went on to team up with LeVert as a writing team on multiple occasions, writing and producing for Levert's solo projects and on other notable artist such as The O'Jays, Temptations, Keith Sweat, LSG, and stable mates Men at Large, where LeVert, Little, Nicholas and Banks teamed up to write and produce "So Alone," which peaked at No. 5 spot on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip Hop Chart and No. 31 Billboard's Hot 100.
R.I.P Gerald LeVert
After being dormant for nearly a decade, the group did reunite again when Gerald LeVert died due to an accidental overdose of over-the-counter and prescription drugs in November 2006. The talks started after they performed at their mentor's funeral. All four original members performed.
- Rude Awakening (1990)
- Rude House (1992)
- Rude as Ever (1997)
Awards and nominations
|1991||Billboard Music Award win for No. 1 R&B Single of the Year ("Written All Over Your Face").|
1991 "Are You Lonely For Me" No. 1 Billboard R&B Charts