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November 4, 2011

Boyz II Men rebranding themselves

Popmatters.com

Boyz II Men have always straddled two generations: Twenty years ago, the Grammy-winning teenage quartet crooned with the passion of old-school swooners. Dressed in urban-preppy ice-blue jeans and letter jackets, the young boys of R&B kept their sounds fresh with a new jack swing baseline.

These days Boyz II Men are a trio: Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris (no relation), and Shawn Stockman. (Former baritone Michael McCrary has been in a running dispute with the group.) They are the older cats in a cyber-driven industry dominated by electronic beats. They still sing love songs with voices like well-tuned instruments, but instead of infusing up-tempo tracks with hip-hop, the group is embracing technology: Think Boyz II Men Facebook page and app.

Their most grown-up move, however, is to restructure their business, new millennium-style. Boyz II Men’s latest project, “Twenty,” released last week, is a product of their own label, MSM (Morris, Stockman, Morris). The two CDS are a compilation of classic hits, such as “End of the Road” and “I’ll Make Love To You,” plus 12 new songs, including the group’s latest single, “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” a duo with the industry’s best comeback, Gap Band lead singer Charlie Wilson.

Boyz II Men owns the rights to all of the new music, so after they pay for marketing and CD manufacture, they stand to make a pretty penny on this 10th album.

“We’ve made money, but we’ve never been able to possibly make this much,” said Stockman, the group’s tenor and a judge on NBC’s a cappella reality show, “The Sing-Off.” “If all goes well,” he said, “it could be a very good year.”

Financially speaking, maybe — but it’s a long shot that Boyz II Men will match their early 1990s peak (four Grammys and 60 million albums sold worldwide). They remain one of the best-selling R&B groups in history — the best, they claim. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at November 4, 2011 9:52 PM

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