New R&B duo Ruff Endz are
emerging as that R&B rarity a successful male duo.
Their first single, "No More" (RealAudio excerpt), from their debut album, Love Crimes, has leaped from #38 last week to #19 on this week's Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
The duo, Davinch (born David
Chance) and Chi (born Dante
Jordan), both 23, say their group's name and some of their lyrical
content were inspired by their rough experiences growing up on the
mean streets of west Baltimore.
"[That] was basically the spot where everything happens, everything
goes on a lot of shooting, a lot of people hanging out on the
corner," Chi said.
He and Davinch learned a lot about life from watching the people on
their block, he said.
"We learned a lot of the things that [were] going on, and a lot of the
bad mistakes that people made encouraged us to do just the
But while they were sidestepping neighborhood land mines, Chi and
Davinch also were soaking up the songs of
color="#003163">Diane Warren color="#003163">Stevie Wonder color="#003163">R. Kelly
color="#003163">R. Kelly, the songwriters they said
influenced their sound.
Davinch said Ruff Endz strive to "bring the essence of R&B back to
radio the real soul of it like the pioneers brought years
"That's why we took so much time working on this album," he
continued. "We wanted it to be looked at as a great album, and not
just an all right or good album."
Chi said today's trends played a very small part in their musical
"We're just coming with the music and the knowledge we have of
music not really looking at what was out there today, not really
looking like we had to compete."
Chi said Ruff Endz's goal was to incorporate their own experiences
into the songs they wrote for the album: "Missing You," "Where Does
Love Go From Here" (RealAudio excerpt), "Apologize," "Saying I
Love You" and "Phone Sex" (RealAudio excerpt).
The duo agreed that those experiences would have been far more
negative if, unlike some of their troubled peers, they had not had an
outlet. But even though their passion for music steered them away
from the temptations of the streets, they were not unaffected by what
was happening around them.
"Somebody was either getting shot and killed, locked up or caught up
in things we didn't have no control over," Davinch said, acknowledging
that those incidents slowed their pursuit of a record deal. But the duo
knew music was their salvation, and they remained undaunted.
"Combined with my faith and Davinch's faith, we had to make it," Chi
said. "That's what was set in our minds. There wasn't nothing else for
us, basically. We were like, 'This is the life for us, this is our way, this
is our role, no matter how it is.' We wasn't going nowhere. We was
destined to be here."