|Also known as||Legacy, 14K Harmony, Storm|
|Origin||Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.|
|Labels||Island Records (1995–1999)|
Def Soul (1999–2005)
Kedar Entertainment Group (2009–2015)
|Associated acts||Keith Sweat, Playa|
Dru Hill is an American R&B group mostly popular during the 1990s, whose repertoire included soul, hip hop soul and gospel music. The group was founded in Baltimore in 1992 and is still active. Dru Hill recorded seven Top 40 hits, and is best known for the R&B #1 hits "In My Bed", "Never Make a Promise", and "How Deep Is Your Love". The original members were lead singer Mark "Sisqó" Andrews, Tamir "Nokio" Ruffin, Larry "Jazz" Anthony and James "Woody Rock" Green.
Signing to Island Records through Haqq Islam's University Records imprint, the group released two successful albums, Dru Hill and Enter the Dru, before separating for a period from late 1999 to 2002, during which time Sisqó and Woody released solo albums. While Woody's Soul Music LP was a moderate success in the gospel music industry, Sisqó's debut album, Unleash the Dragon, and its hit singles, "Thong Song" and "Incomplete", were major pop successes, and established Sisqó as a household name outside Dru Hill. Sisqó's second album, Return of Dragon, did not perform as well.
In 2002, by then part of the Def Soul record label, the group reunited and added fifth member Scola to the lineup for their third album, Dru World Order, whose underperformance led to the group being dropped from Def Soul. In 2009, the group signed to Kedar Entertainment Group and released their fourth album, InDRUpendence Day, the following year, with new member Tao taking the place of the again departed Woody.
The members of Dru Hill are natives of Baltimore. The group became known getting jobs at The Fudgery, a local fudge factory at Harborplace at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, beginning a store tradition of singing and performing to entertain guests while making fudge. The group's name comes from Baltimore's Druid Hill Park, which is commonly shortened in the local vernacular to "Dru Hill".
Between their first and second albums, Dru Hill contributed "We're Not Making Love No More", a number 2 R&B and number 13 pop hit, to the Soul Food soundtrack. "We're Not Making Love No More" was written and produced by producer Babyface. Dru Hill and rapper Foxy Brown recorded "Big Bad Mama", a remake of Carl Carlton's 1981 hit "She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)", which was the main single for the soundtrack to the 1997 Bill Bellamy film Def Jam's How to Be a Player. The group was also instrumental in writing and producing for new University artist Mýa, whose first two singles "It's All About Me" and "Movin' On", were co-written by Sisqó, who also performs guest vocals on "It's All About Me".
In 1997, Dru Hill filed a lawsuit against Island Records, seeking a release from its contract, after an Island employee hit one of the group's managers, Keith Ingram, over the head with a pool cue. It was discovered that the employee in question had a criminal record. At an October 1997 deposition hearing, Eric Kronfeld, president and chief operating officer of Island's parent company PolyGram, was asked why he had hired such an individual. His response was that if he were not to hire African-Americans with criminal records, then "there would be virtually no African-Americans employees in our society or in our industry."
Kronfield's remarks set off a wave of controversy when word of them reached the media in November. The Reverend Jesse Jackson became personally involved, publicly stating that the Dutch-based PolyGram had "a pattern of race and sex exclusion." Jackson met with PolyGram chairman Alain Levy and several other executives, who issued a public apology for Kronfield's statement, and replaced Kronfield as president with Motown Records' chairman Clarence Avant. By the end of the month, Dru Hill had settled with Island Records, with the agreement that they would remain on the label.
Enter the Dru
Dru Hill's third Top 20 pop hit came in the form of 1998's "How Deep Is Your Love" (Pop #3), which was included on the soundtrack to the Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker film Rush Hour. The single "This Is What We Do", featuring a guest rap from Method Man , set the tone for the group's second album, Enter the Dru. The album featured several other mid-tempo tracks in the vein of "How Deep Is Your Love", as well as the R&B Top 5 single "These are the Times" (Pop #21), co-written and co-produced by Babyface, and featuring guitar work from Atlanta-based session guitarist and former Earth Wind & Fire member Dick Smith.
Enter the Dru eventually sold two million copies by 1999. That year, Dru Hill recorded a version of "Enchantment Passing Through" for the soundtrack to the Broadway musical Aida, which was also featured on Sisqó's album Unleash the Dragon.
Sisqó released his debut Unleash the Dragon LP, and had a minor hit with his first single, "Got to Get It" featuring Make It Hot. His second single, "Thong Song", became a major hit during the spring of 2000, and his third, "Incomplete", became a number-one hit during the summer.
Dru World Order
Dru World Order was released on November 26, 2002, two years after its original planned release date. Nearly all of the album's tracks were produced by Nokio, who sung lead on the tracks "She Said" and "Men Always Regret". Producers such as Bryan Michael Cox, Eric "Nealante" Phillips and Kwamé also made contributions. Most of the album's tracks featured Sisqó, Jazz, Woody, and Scola sharing the leads, including the lead single "I Should Be...". "I Should Be..." was a Top 30 pop hit and a Top 10 R&B hit.
Def Soul released a greatest hits compilation, Dru Hill: Hits, on October 11, along with a corresponding DVD collection of the group's music videos. Both collections included Sisqó's biggest solo hits, "Thong Song" and "Incomplete", alongside the Dru Hill songs.
Woody's and Scola's departure
In early 2008, the original quartet version of Dru Hill began touring alongside fellow 1990s acts Tony! Toni! Toné!, Bell Biv Devoe, and a former producer on their first Album Keith Sweat. The group held a contest in their native Baltimore for a replacement for Woody, settling upon a new singer, Antwuan "Tao" Simpson. The group never said why they did not keep Scola in the group, although it was later stated by Nokio that "five people [mess] up the money".
InDRUpendence Day is Dru Hill's fourth album, released on July 27, 2010. It features the group's new member, Tao, who was Woody's replacement. The album has released three singles: "Love MD", "Remain Silent" and "Back to the Future". It was released under the label Kedar Entertainment.
The Second Coming
Jazz left the group in early 2018 to work on his solo album and Tao left in early 2019 to work on a solo project because he did not like the direction Dru Hill was going.
The Second Coming will feature two new members from the group Playa, Smoke and Black, who started performing with them after Jazz left the group. The album will be released under Dru Hill, LLC and EMPIRE Distribution. The album will feature their version of Bohemian Rhapsody as discussed on a Dubai 92 radio show.
Nokio confirmed on Magic 95.9 that he has left Dru Hill to spend time with his family.
Dru Hill had their own television show titled Keith Sweat's Platinum House. It debuted June 28, 2010 on Centric. It focused on their fourth album, InDRUpendence Day, and how they progressed as a group back on the grind.
The show was scheduled to premiere on July 14, 2009 on BET but was postponed. However it aired on Centric.
- Sisqó – (1992–present)
- Smoke – (2018–present)
- Black – (2018–present)
- Jazz – (1993–2018)
- Woody Rock – (1992–1999, 2002–2008)
- Scola – (2001–2008)
- Tao – (2008–2019)
- Nokio - (1992–2020)
- Studio albums
- Moesha (1997)
- The Parent 'Hood (1997)
- Breaking Out: The Alcatraz Concert (1998)
- 24 hours with Dru Hill (1999)
- Keith Sweat's Platinum House (2009)
- Unsung (2020)
- Enter the Dru Tour (1999)
- Featured act
- Budweiser Superfest 97 (1997)
- No Way Out Tour (1998)
- Budweiser Superfest 98 (1998)
- Keep the Faith Tour (1999)
- Luv U Better Tour (2003)
- Game Changer Tour (2015)
- The 20th Anniversary Tour (2017)
- As supporting act
- Evolution Tour (supporting Boyz II Men) (1998)
Awards and nominations
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1998||Dru Hill||Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group||Nominated|
|Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist||Nominated|
|2000||Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group||Nominated|
|2003||Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group||Nominated|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1998||Dru Hill||Best R&B/Soul Album - Group, Band or Duo||Won|
|In My Bed||Best R&B/Soul Single - Group, Band or Duo||Won|
|1999||Enter the Dru||Best R&B/Soul Album - Group, Band or Duo||Nominated|
|2000||Beauty||Best R&B/Soul Single - Group, Band, or Duo||Nominated|
|2003||I Should Be...||Best R&B/Soul Single – Group, Band or Duo||Nominated|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1999||Dru Hill||Favorite Group||Nominated|
- "The Fudgery's Company History". The Fudgery. Archived from the original (ASP) on January 6, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
- Brown, Ann (March 1998). "Taking stocks of the Wall Street Project: Jackson-led group marks King holiday with three-day conference - Jesse Jackson's project to monitor racism in corporate US holds gala on January 15, 1998, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday". Black Enterprise. Retrieved November 5, 2006.
- "Dru Hill Suit Thickens And Settles?" MTV.com, November 12, 1997. Retrieved November 5, 2006.
- "PolyGram Apologizes for Racist Executive, Jesse Jackson Councils", MTV.com, November 13, 1997. Retrieved November 5, 2006.
- "Dru Hill Settles Suit", MTV.com, November 21, 1997. Retrieved November 5, 2006.
- RIAA certifications for Dru Hill. Retrieved from Recording Industry Association of America Archived February 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine website by way of database search, on May 24, 2007.
- Behind The Music Tales (June 29, 2008). "Dru Hill sing Lately and respond to departure of Woody..." Retrieved April 28, 2019 – via YouTube.
- YKIGS (11 May 2019). "Tao Soprano Discusses Leaving Dru Hill, How He Got Start With Group, Solo Project (Exclusive)". YouKnowIGotSoul. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
- Desire Thompson (10 August 2018). "Dru Hill Adds R&B Veterans Playa To Group, Announce New Album: Exclusive". Prometheus Global Media, LLC. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
- tkminspired (24 February 2020). "EXCLUSIVE: Nokio Comes Home, Says He Left Dru Hill [Video]". Interactive One, LLC. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
- "Dru Hill Reunited On New Reality Show".[permanent dead link]
- TV News Desk (1 June 2010). "Centric's KEITH SWEAT'S PLATINUM HOUSE Premieres 6/28". Wisdom Digital Media. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
- SHALMAR BROWN (23 February 2020). "TV One's 'Unsung' premieres tonight with untold Dru Hill story". Steed Media Group (SMG). Retrieved 24 February 2020.
- Viacom International Inc. (17 March 1999). "WOODY EXITS DRU HILL FOR SOLO CAREER AS TRIO PLANS TOUR". MTV. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Viacom International Inc. (5 August 1997). "BONE THUGS, DRU HILL, AALIYAH, MARY J. BLIGE, GINUWINE SET DATES". MTV. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
- Viacom International Inc. (6 February 1998). "PUFFY, DRU HILL, MASE, BUSTA, LIL' KIM TO HIT THE ROAD". MTV. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Viacom International Inc. (13 May 1998). "L.L. COOL J, K-CI & JOJO AND DRU HILL GET THE HOOK-UP FOR SUPERFEST". MTV. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
- Viacom International Inc. (16 February 1999). "FAITH EVANS REACHES TOP FIVE WITH WHITNEY, PLANS TOUR WITH DRU HILL". MTV. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Prometheus Global Media, LLC. (13 May 2003). "LL Cool J, Dru Hill Plan Summer Tour". Billboard. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
- Mario McKellop (29 March 2017). "BOYZ II MEN ANNOUNCES DATES FOR EVOLUTION TOUR". AXS (company). Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Viacom International Inc. (3 April 1998). "Dru Hill announces 20th anniversary US tour". MTV. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
- Furman, Leah (2001). Sisqó: The Man Behind the Thong. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-28199-4.
- Willman, Chris (January 26, 2001). "Here and Now: This week on the music beat". Entertainment Weekly.