The ATL/ Bay Area hyphy connection is being carried on by, of all people, R&B crooners Jagged Edge.
The foursome is ready to release its next single, "Stunnas," which features Jermaine Dupri. E-40 trumpeted "stunna shades" in the Lil Jon-produced hyphy anthem "Tell Me When to Go," and the flashy glasses are a staple of the hyphy culture.
"Jagged kinda has a set fanbase," group member Richard Wingo said from Atlanta. "They know our sound. Whenever they hear a Jagged record, they know it. We try not to get too far from what we've done in the past, but we always try to add a little more spices to the pot. It's just something we haven't done in the past."
Besides "Stunnas," Jagged veer a little on their fifth album with the reggaetón song "So Amazing" with Voltio and on "Season's Change" with John Legend, which marks the first time the group has worked with an outside male singer.
For most of the LP, of course, Jagged Edge sing the ballads their fans have come to expect.
"I think the overall message from day one to now is that it's OK to feel these things, it's OK to say certain things," co-lead singer Brian Casey said. "It's OK to express yourself in a way that might not feel comfortable, and you can still be cool. 'Cause we're cool brothas. And if I have something to say to a young lady, I'mma say it. We know our formula, and we're not going to stray too far from what we've done before, but we sprinkle in our little nuances, and we'll be [in the game for a long time]."
"It's going to always be that time when it's you and a young lady, or just you in a more mellow setting, and you don't want to hear hip-hop or rock and roll," Brian's twin, Brandon, added. "I think there will always be a lane for [those] who make [slow jams]."
Jagged Edge were in Atlanta to perform and sign autographs at a Best Buy. "Stunnas" isn't actually on Jagged's new CD; but if you buy the album, you can download the song off the group's Web site, JaggedEdge.net.
Jagged and Dupri are shooting a video for "Stunnas" in a couple of weeks, and there's a chance E-40 could appear on the remix.