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|
The Rude Boys
A 90s R&B vocal group from Cleveland,Ohio. Joe N Little III aka Joey Beanz Little, Edward Lee Banks, Larry Marcus and Melvin Sephus were discovered by Gerald Levert who got them signed to Atlantic records. Their 1990 LP, Rude Awakenings, included the single "Written All Over Your Face," which made it to #1 on the Billboard R&B charts and #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, It also won 1991 Billboard Award for R&B Single of the Year. "Are You Lonely" also reached #1 on Billboard's R&B charts. Larry Marcus is a cousin of B.B. King.
Joe N Little III along with Edward (Buddy) Lee Banks was discovered by Gerald LeVert singing in a local night club in Cleveland, Ohio, LeVert expressed that he wanted to further hear them sing again and possibly sign the two, at that time both were the lead singers of a local R&B group along with members Larry (Bingo) Marcus (cousin of B.B. King) and Melvin Sephus, after meeting the other group members and working in studio with them, in 1988 LeVert presented the group to Sylvia Rhone then Senior VP of Atlantic Records and in turn got them signed to the label.
The band's 1990 debut album Rude Awakening, started slow with its first release "Come On Lets Do This" which peaked at #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, The song showcased the vocals of Joe N 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 #1 on the Billboard R&B charts and #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, It also won 1991 Award for R&B Single of the Year ("Written All Over Your Face").
The group would score a second #1 hit on Billboard R&B hit from this album in 1990, "Are You Lonely for Me" written by Joe N Little III 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 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 was the " Heaven " was a natural soulful vocally with a peppy rhythm and peaked at the # 15 spot on the Billboard R&B chart, The album Rude Awakening would peak at #10 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #68 on the 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 #11 in the spring of 1990.
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, they came flying back with the up-tempo My Kinda Girl (a 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 DJ 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 project 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, also 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 #2 after 18 weeks on the Billboard R&B chart. and the next single to be released, Go Ahead and Cry peaked at #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 renderedRude 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. This would be the last album to date Little would record with The Rude Boys.
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.
After being dormant for nearly a decade, the group did reunite again after 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.
Throughout their career, The Rude Boys appeared on Soul Train, Showtime at the Apollo, The Arsenio Hall Show, and Party Machine.
Awards and nominations
- 1991 Billboard Music Award won for The Rude Boys No. 1 R&B Single of the Year ("Written All Over Your Face").