Dru Hill

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Dru Hill
Dru Hill 1996.jpg
Background information
Also known asLegacy, 14K Harmony, Storm
OriginBaltimore, Maryland
GenresR&B, soul, hip hop soul, gospel
Years active1992–present
LabelsIsland Records (1995–1999)
Def Soul (1999–2005)
Kedar Entertainment Group (2009–2015)
EMPIRE (2017-Present)
Associated actsLovHer, Keith Sweat, Tresan, Playa, Static Major
Websitewww.druhillonline.com
MembersSisqó
Nokio
Smoke
Black
Past membersJazz
Tao
Woody Rock
Scola

Dru Hill is an American R&B group, most popular during the 1990s, whose repertoire included soul, hip hop soul and gospel music. Founded in Baltimore, Maryland, and active since 1992, 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 group initially consisted of 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 sell 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.

History[edit]

Early career[edit]

The members of Dru Hill were natives of Baltimore, Maryland. The group made a name for itself by getting jobs at The Fudgery, a local fudge factory at Harborplace at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where they started a store tradition of singing and performing to entertain guests while making fudge.[1]

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 Food 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".[citation needed]

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.[2] 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."[3]

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 PolyGram, based in the Netherlands, had "a pattern of race and sex exclusion."[2] 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.[4] By the end of the month, Dru Hill had settled with Island Records, with the agreement that they would remain on the label.[5]

Enter the Dru[edit]

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.[6] 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[edit]

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 and Scola's departure[edit]

In early 2008, the original quartet version of Dru Hill began touring alongside fellow 1990s acts Tony! Toni! Toné!, Bell Biv Devoe, and their former producer Keith Sweat. On March 6, the group appeared on WERQ, a Baltimore radio station, to promote their reunion. In the midst of their interview, however, Woody Rock announced he was quitting the group again to dedicate himself to his gospel ministry. A YouTube video shows Sisqó walking out on the interview as a result, and Woody and Nokio fighting while Jazz and the manager Kevin Peck tries to break it up.[7][8] 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".[9]

InDRUpendence Day[edit]

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[edit]

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 is going in.[10]

The Second Coming will feature two new members from the group Playa, Smoke and Black, who starting performing with them after Jazz left the group.[11] The album will be release under Dru Hill, LLC and EMPIRE Distribution. The album will feature their version of Bohemian Rhapsody as discussed on a Dubai 92 radio show.

Television appearances[edit]

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.[12]

The show was scheduled to premiere on July 14, 2009 on BET but had been postponed. However it aired on Centric.

Members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Sisqó – (1992–present)
  • Nokio – (1992–present)
  • Smoke – (2018–present)
  • Black – (2018–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Jazz – (1993–2018)
  • Woody Rock – (1992–1999, 2002–2008)
  • Scola – (2001–2008)
  • Tao – (2008–2019)

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

Tours[edit]

Headlining
  • Enter the Dru Tour (1999)[13]
Featured act
  • Budweiser Superfest 97 (1997)[14]
  • No Way Out Tour (1998)[15]
  • Budweiser Superfest 98 (1998)[16]
  • Keep the Faith Tour (1999)[17]
  • Luv U Better Tour (2003)[18]
  • Game Changer Tour (2015)
  • The 20th Anniversary Tour (2017)[19]
As supporting act
  • Evolution Tour (supporting Boyz II Men) (1998)[20]

Awards and nominations[edit]

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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The Fudgery's Company History". The Fudgery. Archived from the original (ASP) on January 6, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ "Dru Hill Suit Thickens And Settles?" MTV.com, November 12, 1997. Retrieved November 5, 2006.
  4. ^ "PolyGram Apologizes for Racist Executive, Jesse Jackson Councils", MTV.com, November 13, 1997. Retrieved November 5, 2006.
  5. ^ "Dru Hill Settles Suit", MTV.com, November 21, 1997. Retrieved November 5, 2006.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ http://hiphopdx.com, HipHopDX- (March 6, 2008). "Dru Hill Reunites and Breaks Up On Air". HipHopDX. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  8. ^ "crunktastical.net". ww38.crunktastical.net. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  9. ^ Behind The Music Tales (June 29, 2008). "Dru Hill sing Lately and respond to departure of Woody..." Retrieved April 28, 2019 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ YKIGS (May 11, 2019). "Tao Soprano Discusses Leaving Dru Hill, How He Got Start With Group, Solo Project (Exclusive)". YouKnowIGotSoul. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Desire Thompson (August 10, 2018). "Dru Hill Adds R&B Veterans Playa To Group, Announce New Album: Exclusive". Prometheus Global Media, LLC. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  12. ^ "Dru Hill Reunited On New Reality Show".[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Viacom International Inc. (March 17, 1999). "WOODY EXITS DRU HILL FOR SOLO CAREER AS TRIO PLANS TOUR". MTV. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  14. ^ Viacom International Inc. (August 5, 1997). "BONE THUGS, DRU HILL, AALIYAH, MARY J. BLIGE, GINUWINE SET DATES". MTV. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  15. ^ Viacom International Inc. (February 6, 1998). "PUFFY, DRU HILL, MASE, BUSTA, LIL' KIM TO HIT THE ROAD". MTV. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  16. ^ Viacom International Inc. (May 13, 1998). "L.L. COOL J, K-CI & JOJO AND DRU HILL GET THE HOOK-UP FOR SUPERFEST". MTV. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  17. ^ Viacom International Inc. (February 16, 1999). "FAITH EVANS REACHES TOP FIVE WITH WHITNEY, PLANS TOUR WITH DRU HILL". MTV. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  18. ^ Prometheus Global Media, LLC. (May 13, 2003). "LL Cool J, Dru Hill Plan Summer Tour". Billboard. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Mario McKellop (March 29, 2017). "BOYZ II MEN ANNOUNCES DATES FOR EVOLUTION TOUR". AXS (company). Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  20. ^ Viacom International Inc. (April 3, 1998). "Dru Hill announces 20th anniversary US tour". MTV. Retrieved November 13, 2019.

References[edit]

External links[edit]