Otis & Shugg are an American singing duo from Oakland, California, with two members: Otis Cooper and Rafael "Shugg" Howell. After releasing two singles, "Keep it on the Real" and "Journey", in 1995 and 1996 respectively, they recorded their debut album on Interscope Records, We Can Do Whatever. The album would not see the light of day until ten years later. Meanwhile, the duo appeared on several Bay Area hip hop albums, including extensive work by Ant Banks: The Big Badass, Big Thangs, The Element of Surprise, Derty Werk, Hempin' Ain't Easy and Lead the Way.
The Early Years:
Otis & Shug are half brothers Otis Cooper and Rafael "Shugg" Howell from Oakland, California. They grew up in the same neighbourhood as Raphael Saadiq who got to hear one of their demo tapes. At first Shug did some road management for Tony! Toni! Toné! and loooked after their merchandise sales before the brothers were signed to Saadiq's label Pookie Records through Interscope. The year was 1995 and they released their first single "Keep it on the Real" and a follow up "Journey" in 1996. Problems arose when Interscope changed distribution and Pookie split with Interscope leaving the album We Can Do Whatever unissued. The album was finally released on Expansion Records in 2005.
Cooper's extensive experience as a vocalist and dexterity on keyboards keeps him in demand in the Bay Area music scene. He has lent his many talents to projects by such notable and diverse artists as Boz Scaggs, (Vocals on the Grammy Nominated Song "Come On Home") Tony! Toni! Toné!, E-40 ("Hope I don't Go Back") and Ant Banks ("Players Holiday").
He and his partner Shug had the distinction of being invited to perform at the 1st Annual Hip Hop Awards held at the historic Apollo Theater in New York City. His work has also been included in several soundtracks including the 1998 Woo as well as the critically acclaimed Blue Hill Avenue.
The ultra smooth sound of the instant classic "Miss You" or the innocent joy of the well-known standard "Sunshine" will immediately engage every listener. An interpretation of Bob James's Theme from Taxi takes on a fresh sound with soulful lyrics in "Baby I Love You" and the hit "O Life" featuring Hip-Hop Mogul E-40 is a nostalgic commentary on the decline of community values. His commitment to family values is evident in the track "Marry U" which tells us as long as we keep God first in our lives, we can have it all. This mellow love song is destined to become the premier wedding song for years to come.