Best-selling 90s collective Boyz II Men recently appeared at Minneapolis Institute of Production and Recording to announce the initial planning of their new R&B/Hip-Hop scholarship.
During the visit, the group participated in a Q&A panel with students to share their 20 plus years in the music industry.
It was an honor having these guys come by our school, said Brian Champtown Harmon, IPR artists coordinator. They are around first-class, great men. A lot of folks dont understand their love for Hip-Hop. To have them be down with our scholarship program we are developing is a wonderful thing.”
Between 1992 and 1997, Boyz II Men dropped five #1 R&B songs and to date have sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, making them one of the most successful groups in music history.
In the discussion, the trio spoke about how Philly Hip-Hop culture contributed to their record-breaking success.
A lot of people dont know that we went to the high school of Creative and Performing Arts out in South Philly. We grew up with a lot of guys that are in the business right now, explained Boyz member Shawn Stockman. From ?uestlove and Black Thought from the Roots, [to] Amel Larrieux, we all went to the same school We consider those the magic years because most of the artists that came out of that time got gold records and Grammys and things of that nature.
The group also spoke of two well known artists that most people underrate as groundbreaking emcees: Will Smith and MC Hammer.
Before Will was the Fresh Prince, him and Jeff used to do a lot of house parties at Temple University and Drexel, Stockman explained. How cats do it now with the buzz, Will was doing it in Philadelphia. Hed kill shows and used to be a beast, especially when Jeff was on the records.
Chiming in, Nathan Morris detailed that the group was almost signed to Smiths production company before settling on Motown.
Regarding Hammer, the Philly crooners argued that most emcees today utilize a multi-media blueprint created by the Oakland native in the early 90s.
Hip-Hop has evolved to what it is and the guys today have gotten smart, Stockman stated. You can say Hammer was ahead of time. People front [now] but people danced to Hammer records Hes another guy that if it wasnt for him bringing us out of that six month tour we hit all 50 states. Whether the arenas were packed or not, he still went out and gave an awesome show. And that stuck in our heads, even now. We still were around the right people to build in us that work ethic that we tend to utilize today.
In addition, the group reflected on their beef with rivals Jodeci, and other Philly pioneers such as Steady B, Cool C, and Three Times Dope.