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  • 28Jun

    REVIEW: K-Ci & Jo Jo @ The Howard Theatre – Washington, DC

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    K-Ci and Jo Jo have morphed from flaming fast lanes to the flare that marks the scene of an accident. As a teenager I dreamed of the day I would get to see Jodeci in concert. Bare chested 90’s R&B thugs in long black leather coats and shorts, black boots and white socks. They were to urban black girls what New Kids on the Block was to suburban white girls. Fast forward through the golden age of R&B to a time where music genres are meshed together like mysterious casserole and no one can identify the cook, there you will find K-Ci and Jo Jo performing like the 1996 dynamic duo they used to be. The Howard Theatre offers a freshness to the nostalgic feeling of seeing your favorite “old school” artist scrounge around on stage as if they still “got it.” They walked on stage an hour late dressed like baptist preachers. Their behavior was disconcerting yet entertaining. My favorite moment was when K-Ci road the shoulders of a bouncer through the crowd during their remake Bobby Womack’s If You Think You’re Lonely Now.

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    K-Ci and Jo Jo have had their share of alcohol, drug addictions and health issues which have led to terrible performances and skeptical fans. “Yall thought we were gone! We ain’t gone no damn where!” K-Ci yells to the crowd right before transitioning from Jodeci’s Feigning into Freaking You. Watching K-Ci strip down to his wife beater and slacks while licking his tongue out in a rapid motion that was supposed to be closely related to sexy was just not as desirable as it was when I was a silly teenage girl. Jo Jo has completely lost the little voice he once had. K-Ci still has a southern choir boy raspy type tone that could possibly be whipped back into shape with serious training. The sound engineer continuously placed an echo effect on the mic in an attempt to help them carry notes they no longer had the wind for. However, this changed a simply irritating ragged vocals into wailing nasal blowing tones. This one thing that this award winning group of brothers was good at was writing a song. If you did not enjoy their voices or antics you enjoyed singing along to every song with the memory of what they used to sound like. Hits like Love You For Life, Come and Talk To Me, Forever My Lady, All My Life, Tell Me It’s Real, and Tupac’s How Do You Want It were the epitome of Hip Hop and R&B. The story of K-Ci & Jo Jo does not end at drug habits and terrible shows. They’ve recently released a new song entitled “Knock it Off” which is not a hit, but not an epic fail. There is talk of a new album coming soon.

    At this point what you hear is what you get from 90’s R&B artists. Each one that attempts to resurface appears to be lying in bed at night staring at a glass ceiling. While the evolution of music has not counted them out as writers the fight to get back “on top” is a swim upstream from valuable talent to marketability. Fans if 90’s R&B will always be fans of K-Ci & Jo Jo however, artists from this era of music are constantly trying to find ways to resurface. Will K-Ci and Jo Jo make the transition into this millennium music era and be able to transcend artist like Miguel? Dear K-Ci & Jo Jo, it’s worth a try. You clearly don’t have much to lose that hasn’t already been considered lost.

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