#ThatSo90s: Jodeci - Stay

Jodeci (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Jodeci (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

There is no conversation about 90s r&b without Jodeci. Sure Boyz II Men had the great ballads and what not and henceforth, but nobody gives a shit about Boyz II Men in 2014. Jodeci, however, still reigns supreme as the blueprint for most male bad boy groups. Sure they sang songs you could play at your wedding, but they looked like they need not be anywhere near your daughter. Ever.


In truth, their relevance is kind of amazing - and speaks to how high quality their output was - since they only had 3 albums (which weren't good all the way thru), all released in the first half othe 90s. Peep game thugsta, The Show, The Afterpart, The Hotel came out in 1995 and was their least selling album despite having what I believe to be their best song, "Freek 'N U". I think most people can agree that Diary Of A Mad Band is their best album, and even then, its entirely because of the first half of the album thru "Alone". Jodeci's more uptempo songs (save for "Get On Up") were never their bread and butter. Their down-tempo and ballads are the stuff of legend. But those first 6 songs on Diary… should be placed on display at the Smithsonian in the upcoming National Museum on African American Culture and History as the point where contemporary R&B shifted. Shit changed, b. Shit changed.

But there is no Diary… without the album that drove Jodeci into the hearts and minds of consumers everywhere, Forever My Lady. I was in 6th grade when Jodeci dropped. In fact, I remember what I had on when I bought this album from the PX on base in Frankfurt, Germany. I had on white pants. I loved those white pants. It was so appropos that I had on those pants because Forever My Lady was white pants music as evidenced by the song and video for standout track, "Stay". Standout track is a bit unfair since "Forever My Lady" and "Come and Talk To Me" (Remix) were much more popular, but the intro to "Stay" where DeVante tells all the ladies within in earshot, "don't talk, just listen…" has been seared into pop culture for eons to come. Also, it might be the only time a woman listened to a man after her uttered that combination of words. Who are kidding, 75 percent of women who heard that immediately said, "no".


I kid.

Well, the video for "Stay" is also one of those videos that should be placed in a 90s time capsule along with previous favorite, Jade's "Don't Walk Away". The early 90s, specifically, were a time where videos took on many forms. Jodeci's "Stay" is emblematic of one particular style:


There's a good chance you haven't seen this video in quite some time. There's a really good reason for this. It's a terrible video. But it's terrible so good. It's Joseline Hernandez whippin' Benzino's ass.

[Sidenote: Joseline Hernandez might legit be 10 crazy. Actually, there's no might be about it. That chick is nuts. Certifiably so. Even Stevie J thinks she needs therapy and he's the reason why people become therapists. He's the person everybody is trying to help. He's the gold standard.]

I believe the this "Stay" video would get placed in the performance video box, but good googly moogly.

So here are 7 things that make this video absolutely WTF.

1. It starts out on 10 with DeVante sitting in the chair then the IMMEDIATE cut to a woman with all the standard early 90s accoutrement: big earrings, loud lipstick, big hair…ON A MOTHERFUCKING ROCKING HORSE.


Yo…I don't know what kind of frame of mind you have to be in to be thinking of shit to put in a music video where "rocking horse" makes sense. But fuck that…it made so much sense that it got to the end product. Somebody said, hey, let's put a chick on a rocking horse and have her, ya know, rock back and forth during the whole video. In terms of ridiculous video props, rocking horse is top 5 dead or alive.

2. Wind

This entire video is windy. You know how it seems like Beyonce has her own personal wind machine and wind person following her around at all times? Which is kind of fucked up since Michael Jackson was the king of this wind shit before you niggas were really up on game. Now Beyonce has stolen the wind. Well, Jodeci had a whole video…with wind. There was shit moving through the entire video. Drapes. Clothing. The FUCKING ROCKING HORSE. No matter what clothing they had on, it was moving. Shit felt like Christopher Cross's "Sailing" video with four Black guys and a rocking horse.


3. The white linens

They wore white through the entire video. White beach apparrel…with boots. White suits. Jeans. Hats. What have you. If it was white they were wearing it. I would have been amused with a KKK costume. I cannot tell a lie. They were just one big ass fashion faux pas in this video. Come to think of it, they were in most of their early videos. In fact, come to think more of it, they wore white in all their early videos. "Forever My Lady" featured a horribly all white linen ensemble. Oh, wait, I'm wrong, "Come and Talk To Me" featured them in black leather (also a performance video with a leaner budget it seems than "Stay", they just had a man and a woman feeling each other up in the shadows). The Remix video was the pool party where they had the terrible white see-thru get up. How the fuck were they so cool? I blame Puffy for this. Both good and bad.


Now's as good a time as any to point out that this video has jack shit to do with the song. At all. "Stay" is about remorse and trying again. This video features a rocking horse, which I've not yet seen as being indicative of remorse.

4. Lit up microphone

A nice touch and a throw back to earlier times. Okay guys, that works. It bounces nicely off the white you're wearing.


5. A phone booth with no phone

They have one of those English phone booths in this video. Except its inside what appears to be a house. Which would explain why the booth has no phone in it. It is a but a shell of its former self. I wonder if phone booths with no phones felt inferior to booths with phones. I probably would have. I think about these things. I care.


And for consitency…

6. A frame for a mirror without a mirror

Same shit, different toilet.

7. A Rocking horse…

Did I mention? It keeps making appearances. Interestingly enough, the woman on it is giving the horse that work as the video goes along. I'm surprised she didn't fall off. Well, she probably did because if you give it too much work its going to flip over like a Ford Explorer in the 90s. Y'all remember when Ford Explorers were known for flipping over? And it was blamed on the Firestone tires? That was also in the 90s. A Ford Explorer flipping over would have fit nicely in this video since that has nothing to do with staying either.


This isn't so much WTF as its just a common occurrence when you are making a video about love that features not one person of the opposite sex in it, but K-Ci hugged himself a lot. Like a lot a lot.

Anyway, Jodeci's "Stay" is a video that exhibited a trend of the early 90s in music videos, stuff that makes no damn sense. #thatsso90s


Thank you Jodeci for your contributions to the game, to the 90s, and to the betterment of mankind.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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I don't know how Jodeci became the Gold Standard for R&B, but you can make a no-joke case that they're among the 10 most important (not best, but IMPORTANT) R&B acts in the history of the genre. I'm amazed that they became the template for R&B guy groups moving forward despite Boyz II Men moving like 5 times more units. You figure that if you are going to copy someone, copy the most successful formula, right?

Also, I think Jodeci got the benefit for a few trends in their favor. One, the rise of the shiny suit era fit their look, and they were looked at like a prototype. Two, Jodeci looked like talented kids from the hood as opposed to superstars, if that makes sense. Three, Boyz II Men held onto to the preppy dream a bit too long, and they came off looking more dated than they really were. (In an alternative universe, one wonders what would have happened if they came out the same time as old Kanye. That would have been interesting, and would have had hood ninjas looking like they just summered in Hyannisport. But I digress.)

Still, Jodeci-cloned R&B is it own subgenre of R&B, which has infected talent shows for the past 25 years. I would be shocked if there's a talent show in the hood where no act tries to sound like Jodeci. The problem is that it's become the Black answer to hair metal: a genre no one admits to liking but which has moved 50 billion units.

My question is which of the Jodeci clone groups were the best? I would say Jagged Edge.