Rated Next

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Rated Next
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 30, 1997
GenreContemporary R&B
LabelDivine Mill, Arista
ProducerClive Davis (exec.), Kay Gee (exec.), Lance Alexander & Prof. T., Eddie Berkeley, Deedee Gist, Sheldon Goode, Wesley Hodges, Cliff Lighty, Mr. Walt, Mufi, Frank Reynolds
Next chronology
Rated Next
Welcome II Nextasy
Singles from Rated Next
  1. "Butta Love"
    Released: August 19, 1997
  2. "Too Close"
    Released: September 30, 1997
  3. "I Still Love You"
    Released: July 21, 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau(2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention)[2]

Rated Next is the debut studio album by American musical group Next. After forming, the trio recorded several songs with record producers Prof. T. and Lance Alexander before catching recording artist and producer Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature's attention. He signed Next to his record label, Divine Mill, and the album was recorded in Gee's in-home recording studio. The album was released on September 30, 1997, under Divine Mill and Arista Records.

Upon its release, Rated Next received generally favorable reviews from music critics, though it received negative criticism for the sexual innuendo within the lyrics. The album peaked at number 37 on the Billboard 200 and was certified two times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album spawned three singles: "Butta Love", "Too Close" and "I Still Love You". "Too Close" topped the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. "Butta Love" and "I Still Love You" peaked within the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and were both certified gold by the RIAA. "Butta Love" was produced by Lance Alexander of the group Lo-Key.

Conception and recording[edit]

Next was formed in 1992 by brothers Terrence "T-Low" and Raphael "Tweety" Brown, in addition to Robert "R. L." Huggar. The trio was trained and managed by T-Low's godmother, Ann Nesby, during the group's formation.[3] While performing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Next collaborated with record producers Prof. T. and Lance Alexander. They began recording music in the Flyte Tyme recording studio. A demo that the trio recorded caught the attention of recording artist and producer Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature.[3] He called Next three days later and signed the group to his Divine Mill record label.[3][4] Managed by the Flavor Unit,[3] Rated Next was recorded in Gee's in-home recording studio.[5] The trio recorded several songs during this time, including "Phone Sex" and "Sexitude". During a "growth period", Next recorded "Butta Love", in which group member Tweety described as "the difference in the freedom we were feeling".[3]


Butta Love was the lead single and was released August 19, 1997. The song charted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at 16 and on the US R&B/Hip-Hop at 4

The second single was "Too Close"; it was released in the US on September 30, 1997, and worldwide on January 27, 1998. The song charted at 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and on the US R&B/Hip-Hop

The final single was I Still Love You it was released July 21, 1998. The song charted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at 14 and on the US R&B/Hip-Hop at 4

Marketing promotion[edit]

Next released the album's lead single, "Butta Love", in August 1997.[3] According to Arista Records senior vice president of black music Lionel Ridenour, the success of the single "kept growing to the point where we had worked it from July through December".[3] In order to give the group exposure, Arista promoted Next by having them speak in several radio stations and perform on television programs.[3] The album's second single, "Too Close", topped the Billboard Hot 100[6] and was certified platinum by the RIAA, going on to sell 2.1 million copies.[7][8] "Butta Love" and "I Still Love You" peaked in the top 20 of the Hot 100 and were certified gold by the RIAA.[6][9][10] The two singles sold 900,000 and 700,000 copies, respectively.[11][8]


Rated Next received generally favorable reviews from music critics. Leo Stanley of Allmusic described the album as "an impressive collection of contemporary hip-hop-influenced urban soul". He felt that the group "may get a little too 'risqué' for some tastes", but stated that the lead singer R. L., was "so smooth and charismatic that he can seduce unwilling listeners".[1] Melanie Mcfarland of The Seattle Times noted that the group "swings between party anthems and tender ballads with a sexy flow" on the album.[12] The album received negative criticism due the sexual innuendo in the lyrics of the songs. Tweety noted that one review wrote: "Even if Next never made it as singers, they could still make it as exotic dancers."[3] Robert Christgau called the album a collection of "cute pop songs about... their erections and her clitoris".[13]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Intro" – 1:00
  2. "Too Close" – 4:19
  3. "Butta Love" – 4:56
  4. "My Place (Interlude)" – 2:18
  5. "Cozy" – 4:10
  6. "Penetration" with Naughty by Nature – 4:32
  7. "You Are My High (Interlude)" – 2:05
  8. "I Still Love You" – 4:13
  9. "Stop, Drop & Roll" – 5:03
  10. "Represent Me" – 4:31
  11. "Next Experience" featuring Adina Howard and Castro – 4:57
  12. "Problems (featuring Koffee Brown)" – 3:48
  13. "Do You Think About Me" – 5:41
  14. "Admit the Rat (Interlude)" – 1:56
  15. "Sexitude" – 4:31
  16. "Tastes So Good" – 5:13
  17. "Phone Sex" – 5:19
  18. "Rock On" – 3:56


As listed on Allmusic.[14]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
(sales threshold)
Canadian Albums Chart[15] 20
US Billboard 200[15] 37 2× platinum[16]
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[15] 13


  1. ^ a b Stanley, Leo. [Rated Next at AllMusic "Rated Next > Overview"] Check |url= value (help). Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Next". Robert Christgau.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Reece 1998, pp. 13, 20
  4. ^ Allen 1998, p. 52
  5. ^ "Naughty by Nature Throws Homecoming Party for Next". MTV News. August 31, 1998. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  6. ^ a b "Rated Next > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  7. ^ "American certifications – Next – Too Close". Recording Industry Association of America.
  8. ^ a b "Best-Selling Records of 1998". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 111 (5): 75. January 30, 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  9. ^ "American certifications – Next – Butta Love". Recording Industry Association of America.
  10. ^ "American certifications – Next – I Still Love You". Recording Industry Association of America.
  11. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1997". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 110 (5): 76. January 31, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  12. ^ Mcfarland, Melanie. "So Hot It's Cool — Kube Summer Jam Turns the Gorge into an Oasis of Hip-Hop and R&B". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Next". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  14. ^ "Rated Next > Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  15. ^ a b c "Rated Next - Next (1997)". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  16. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2009-11-05.

External links[edit]