These boys have a serious case of love sickness.
“Even though we’re young, we’ve had our hearts broken,” says 19-year-old Quinnes “Q” Parker, one of the four soulful teens that make up the R&B; crew 112. “Girls are just always breaking our hearts.”
If they haven’t actually been in love, they’ve certainly thought a lot about it. And they’ve certainly sung about it.
Their self-titled debut album is packed full of soulful ballads that thump and drip with lovey emotions sung in the boys’ harmonious voices.
Their single “Cupid” recently peaked at No. 13 on Billboard’s top singles charts.
“Girl when I ask you to trust me/That doesn’t mean that I’m gonna to cheat on you/Cause I’m gonna never do anything to hurt you or mislead you/I love you.”
While some artists take their love songs to the gutter, the 112 boys - who range between the ages of 17 and 19 - keep it clean.
“We like to be suggestive, but there’s a certain way to bring it across,” Q says. “We choose to go a much cleaner, classier route. We want our music to be able to be listened to by little kids as well as grandparents.”
Come Friday, 112 will join some of the hippest hip-hop, pop and R&B; groups on the charts these days. With acts like Salt-n-Pepa, Blackstreet and Wyclef Jean, KUBE 93 FM in Seattle kicks off Summer Jam ‘97 at The Gorge.
Growing up in Atlanta, Q and the rest of the 112 quartet - Marvin, Daron and Mike - learned to sing in church as youngsters. They first formed as a vocal group after meeting in their high school chorus.
“We heard each other singing every day in class, so we was like, well, why don’t we just try to really make something of this,” Q says.
While performing at one of many talent shows around town, they were discovered by their managers, who then introduced them to Bad Boy Entertainment’s Sean “Puffy” Combs, one of the most influential men in the hip-hop world.
Puffy met the foursome at an Atlanta club called 112 to sample their vocals live. Since the boys were too young to get inside, they sang for him in the parking lot.
“There was no time to be nervous,” Q says. “Afterwards he was like ‘OK, you all should get the paperwork in about two weeks.’ “
Their album features guest vocals by rapper Notorious B.I.G., to whom they had become close after signing with Bad Boy. B.I.G. was shot and killed in March.
“From day one, B.I.G. basically put down the welcome mat for us and took us up under his wings,” Q says. “He was just a big brother and we really miss him.”
The festivities start Friday at 2 p.m. when the Pre-Funk stage starts serving up both Old Skool and Hot Mixes. DJ Eric Powers will host KUBE’s own version of MTV’s dating program, “Singled Out.”
Music begins at 4 p.m. with Billy Lawrence, followed by Rome, Black Caesar, Laurnea, 112, Aaliyah, Wyclef Jean and the Refugee Allstars, Ginuwine, Salt-N-Pepa and Blackstreet.
Wyclef Jean featuring the Refugee Allstars
Wyclef Jean, the 26-year-old rapper/producer for the Fugees, doesn’t believe in playing it safe.
“When you can pinpoint what we’re going to do next, that’s when things get boring,” the Haiti-born New Jerseyite recently told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s important to take chances.”
Jean recently lived up to his words when he released a solo project entitled “Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival,” rather than immediately following up the Fugees’ 6-millionselling album, “The Score.”
The risk appears to have paid off.
The album currently sits at No. 21 on Billboard’s top 200 albums and at No. 8 among the top R&B; albums.
“‘The Carnival’ is a reflection of me leaving Haiti and growing up in the projects, and everything from culture shock and putting together a gun at 13 to being held up at gunpoint for my coat,” Jean says.
“Men are just so dominant in society and in rap, so when you get a chance to voice a woman’s point of view and be heard, you have to jump on it,” says Pepa, one-third of the rap divas Salt-n-Pepa.
The group - made up of Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandy “Pepa” Denton and Deidre “Spinderella” Roper - formed in 1985. They were one of the first rap groups to cross over to the pop charts and one of the few to have all female rappers.
With hits like “Lets Talk About Sex,” “Whatta Man” and “Shoop,” they have oozed sexuality while also championing strength in women and AIDS awareness.
Singer-producer-composer Teddy “Street” Riley has had his fingers in some of the biggest hits from some of the biggest urban pop icons of this decade.
Making a slick combination out of hip-hop beats and traditional R&B; vocals, Riley created what became known in the 1980s as New Jack Swing. As a producer, he brought the sound to giants like Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston and Keith Sweat.
Currently, Riley - along with Chauncy “Black” Hannibal - are fronting the foursome known as Blackstreet. Blackstreet’s self-titled debut album in 1994 spawned hits such as “Booti Call” and “Tonight’s the Night.”
After changing two group members, this soulful crew has released its sophomore album, “Another Level.” It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard charts, helped along by the hit single “No Diggity.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 color photos
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: CONCERT Summer Jam ‘97, with artists including Blackstreet, Salt-n-Pepa and 112, will be at The Gorge on Friday. Festivities start at 2 p.m. The show is sold out.
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