By Rob Markman
In the 1990s, there was no R&B band quite like Jodeci. While Boyz II Men, with their clean-cut image, were cut from a more traditional R&B cloth, K-Ci, JoJo, Dalvin and DeVante were the bad boys of the genre. No wonder they fit in so well with rappers, collaborating with the likes of Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and Redman. They almost cooked up a collaboration with Lil’ Kim as well, but the Notorious B.I.G. put a stop to that.
“Big was very protective of me, like overprotective,” Lil’ Kim said when she appeared on the March 7 episode of “RapFix Live.”
In the early ’90s, Jodeci got their start at Uptown Records, where their talent was cultivated by a then-unknown Sean “Puffy” Combs — whom fans now simply call Diddy. Under the young executive’s watch, the quartet released their multiplatinum 1991 debut Forever My Lady, but somewhere down the line the relationship soured.
Kim recalled one incident where she and Diddy’s Bad Boy crew had a run-in with Jodeci in a hotel. “Me and Keisha from Total were in the hallway talking to Dalvin and, I think, JoJo,” she remembered. “Puffy and Big were looking for us, and when they found us, Big just started draggin’ me by my coat and Puff was like, ’We don’t eff with them. What are y’all doin’ talkin’ to them?’ ”
Despite the incident, Jodeci later wanted to include Lil’ Kim on a remix of their 1995 single “Luv U 4 Life” and offered her a lot of money to do it, but Big, who was both Kim’s musical mentor and lover, vetoed the feature. “At that time, it was the beginning of my career; I hadn’t seen that much money for one record,” Kim recalled.
“So Big comes to where I was stayin’ and he’s like, ’You ain’t goin’ nowhere, I’m gonna go out there to see what’s goin’ on,’ ” Kim remembered of Biggie’s interference while laughing. “He locks me in the room; he was like, ’Oh you ain’t gonna go do no song with them.’ ”
Join MTV News as we celebrate the Notorious B.I.G’s life on the 15th anniversary of his death. From now through March 25, we will be rolling out exclusive and commemorative content from Biggie’s closest friends, collaborators and his biggest fans. To join the conversation on Twitter, hit @MTVRapFix using the hashtag #biggie15.