Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
69 BOYZ/QUAD CITY/95 SOUTH 5 ESSENTIAL 69 BOYZ/QUAD CITY/95 SOUTH TRACKS 95 South “Whoot There It Is” Quad City Knock 1993 This single sold over three million copies worldwide, making 95 South a household name nearly overnight. 69 Boyz “Tootsee Roll” Nineteen Ninety Quad 1994 America’s new love affair with booty music grew as this double-platinum single was awarded Best Rap Single at the 1994 Billboard Awards. Quad City “C’Mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” Get On Up & Dance 1996 With moves rivaling Atlanta’s Bankhead bounce, the “train” kept people’s arms happy on the dance floor. Quad City “Space Jam” Space Jam Soundtrack 1996 The lead single for Michael Jordan’s partially animated film introduced Quad City to a whole new audience. Above: 69 Boyz Inset: Jay-Ski and Thrill da Playa
hen high school friends Nathaniel “CC Lemonhead” Orange and Johnny “Jay-Ski” McGowan teamed up in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida to do some production work in the early 90’s, they never imagined how far their talent could take them. They were instrumental in creating a new genre of vibrant bass music, appropriately called “booty music” for its ability to get the ladies on the dance floor. The budding beatmakers created their own company, CeeJai Productions. They formed a group, The S.W.A.T. Team, up with other longtime friends, former high school football star Albert “Thrill da Playa” Van Bryant and Mike Mike. The foursome worked together on 95 South’s Quad City Knock, writing and producing the group’s debut in 1993. The triple-platinum hit “Whoot There it Is” catapulted the group’s album into Billboard’s Top 20 R&B Charts. Their success put Jacksonville (commonly known as Duuuuval) onto the proverbial map. In 1993, CC released his solo album Bass to Another Level, calling upon Thrill once again to lay down some vocals. Thrill da Playa and Mike Mike formed the group 69 Boyz with Barry “Fast” Wright and Greg “Slow” Thomas, bringing CC Lemonhead and Jay-Ski into the fold for the 1994 platinum album Nineteen Ninety Quad. The project contained the monumental hit “Tootsee Roll,” a club favorite which soon became a double-platinum mainstream crossover sensation. The song garnered the group a Billboard Award for Best Rap Single in 1994 and was a nightclub staple for several years. In addition to hitting the #1 spot on the Billboard Rap chart in 1994, the single rested in the Top 10 on both the R&B and Hot 100 charts for an astounding 38 weeks in early 1995. Without the impact of any major label machine behind them, they were still achieving major success. As the “booty” movement exploded throughout the South with groups like Poison Clan, Splack Pack, and Gucci Crew II pushing out hot tracks, Thrill da Playa and his cohorts were focusing on how they could create an industry that didn’t exist. Guerilla street team 14
OZONE APR 2005
69 Boyz “Woof Woof” The Wait is Over 1998 This song also landed on the soundtrack for Eddie Murphy’s remake of Dr. Doolittle.
tactics were their method for pushing the group beyond the Jacksonville area. “[We were] one of the first crews to actually go out and attack a lot of these large events, like Spring break and Freaknik,” Thrill recalls. “We would take teams of 20-30 people, but our approach was so different at the time. We wanted to stay true to our market, but there was no industry in Jacksonville. We had to go out and bring the industry back home. We were competing with Bad Boy and Death Row, and right there at the top of the charts was the 69 Boyz - outlasting the Notorious B.I.G. on the Rap charts in our position at number one.” The movement continued in 1995 with 95 South’s One Mo’ Gen LP and CC Lemonhead’s solo album Prep. Major labels could no longer deny the force. Atlantic Records released Quad City’s Get On Up and Dance in 1996, and the first single “C’Mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” proved to be yet another successful platinum club hit blessed by CC, Jay-Ski, and Thrill’s creativity. With some money and promotional support, Quad City contributed the title track for the Space Jam soundtrack and rounded out 1996 with their platinum All Star Christmas. Thrill da Playa contends that the foundation they laid independently was the most critical factor in their success. “We had our highs, we had our lows, but I think [because of] the handson experience, everybody today from our crew owns their publishing. We’re still doing music, and we have our own independent businesses based off that opportunity. The fact that everybody who worked on the record then is still eating from that record today is something that a lot of crews can’t say.” 69 Boyz emerged once again on Atlantic Records with “Woof Woof” in 1998, which appeared on their album The Wait is Over as well as the Dr Doolittle soundtrack. Thrill da Playa ventured out on his own in 1999 for The Very Best of Home Bass album, and 95 South released Tightwork 3000 (without the participation of CC Lemonhead or Jay-Ski) on RCA Records in 2000. Meanwhile, Jay-Ski was in the studio with Luke preparing the infamous project Luke’s Freak
Fest, a collaborative effort that included contributions from Big Pun and the Terror Squad, Krayzie Bone, and Goodie Mob. In 2001, 69 Boyz released Trunk Funk 101, and Thrill da Playa pushed out Dunks N D’s followed by The Return of the Big Bronco in the same year. In continuation of the legacy, Thrill released Broamz, Chrome, and Redbones in 2003. While the booty bass scene quieted down, crunk music began to take over. The new sound of crunk brought together the best of the old and the new, preparing longtime fans for the release of Thrill’s upcoming album. The Sounds of My Impala features artists such as T.I. the Ying Yang Twins, Field Mob, and Jacki-O. Thrill currently hosts his own Ghetto Fabulous Live radio show on Tallahassee’s 100.7 The Beat, and has received several honors and awards for his contributions to the scene. He also produces the annual Ghetto Fabulous Live awards, recognizing artists and business people who continue to elevate the music scene in the Southeast. With the single “Tootsee Roll” noted as the second-longest running single in the history of Billboard, collective international sales of over 60 million units (Thrill da Playa and 69 Boyz alone accounting for over 35 million of those sales), two Grammy nominations, eight Soul Train Award nominations, six Billboard Music Award nominations, and a Source Award nomination, there’s no denying the impact that the Quad City family has had on the music industry. While their legacy in Southern music will never be forgotten, all of the individuals involved with the success of 95 South, Quad City DJs, and 69 Boyz have grown up and moved into new phases of their lives for better or worse, and there’s plenty of rumors floating around about the worse. “It’s important to understand that the music industry - and life in general - takes its toll on people,” says Thrill. “The main thing is that we came together as a business, and we worked together as a family. Today the strongest support we could have for anyone going through struggles in the business is to always highlight the good things.”
Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005