Back in 2001, R&B/rap trio City High were all the rage around these parts, as their bouncy Fugees-esque anthem “What Would You Do?” provided the soundtrack to the 11th season of “The Real World,” as well as appearing in the Eddie Murphy dud “Life.” Originally comprised of Robby Pardlo and Ryan Toby — who were put together, “Making the Band”-style, by mentor Wyclef Jean — the boys were soon joined by singer Claudette Ortiz after her hook on the song smelled like sweet chemistry.
The catchy tune was a touching tale of a young lady who turns to stripping to put food on the table for her kid and it rose to #8 on the Billboard pop charts, sold two million copies and earned the trio a Grammy.
And then … nothing.
The band broke up in 2003 and soon after Ortiz parted ways with Pardlo and married Toby. Both were slated to release solo albums the last time MTV spoke to them back in 2007, though it’s unclear if either ever came out. Pardlo, however, faded into obscurity.
What is clear now is that Pardlo apparently spun out and descended into alcoholism. His battle was chronicled on A&E’s “Intervention” on Monday night (January 25), where he discussed how his life went haywire after the personal and professional breakup, including a period where his drinking was so bad that his family was afraid he might end up dead. “I was on the red carpet with Will Smith and Jada and performing with Eve and I was like, ’Ha, ha!’ and then things started to get a little dark,” said Pardlo in the show, where he is seen frequently chugging from bottles of vodka.
Worried about his slow descent into depression and madness and concerned that he’s not capable of taking care of his young daughter, Lyric, Pardlo’s family finally confronted him about his out-of-control drinking during an emotional intervention. On the show, the singer accepted his fate and agreed to enter treatment on the episode and has reportedly been sober since October.
On Sunday, Pardlo told his Twitter followers, “Don’t listen to what bulls— the media is saying! Watch ’Intervention’ on Monday night and see my recovery for yourself!” He also confirmed that he’s still sober and that he’s in the studio working on a new album.
It’s a hell of a way to get back on top, but as of Tuesday morning, City High found themselves at the top of the search heap on the Internet as people sought to get “What Would You Do?” back into their gray matter. Nearly eight years after the spotlight faded, Pardlo is back on top … at least for a few hours.