Whatever Happened to: The Rude Boys

Last week, the wifey wrote about what she wants Santa to bring her for Christmas.

I have just one request for Santa – I want VH1 Soul.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent the entire weekend fixated on that channel while visiting a friend. Y’all know I love late 80s/early 90s R&B, and this channel was like giving Marion Barry a big ol’ plate of crack.

Sorry for the dated reference, but VH1 put me in a 90s mood.

And speaking of the early 90s, remember the Rude Boys? You probably don’t but Vh1 Soul did. Since they jogged my memory, let me help you do the same.

Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee Banks and Joe Little III comprised the original incarnation of the group. They were discovered by the late Gerald Levert, who helped them on their debut, Rude Awakening, and showed up in the 1990 video for their biggest hit, “Written All Over Your Face.” I couldn’t find a reliable source for that video and maybe that’s a good thing, since it features Gerald wearing a ridiculous hat that he probably stole from the Cat in the Hat’s closet. But let’s not speak ill of the dead.

Remember “Are You Lonely for Me?” Like “Written,” it hit No. 1 on the R&B charts and had all the dudes at school singing (badly) to their girlfriends. Awww, do kids even do sweet stuff like that anymore? Or are they too busy singing “Birthday Sex?” Sigh.

Two years later the Boys apparently dipped into Marion Barry’s stash and looked to Pee-Wee’s Playhouse for inspiration for their sophomore set, Rude House. Who thought THAT album cover was a good idea? On one hand, the Boys began to show a little growth and didn’t sound as much like LeVert clones as they did on their previous album. On the other hand, the New Jack Swing-fueled single “My Kinda Girl” and the mid-tempo “Go Ahead & Cry “ sounded a little stale next to the stuff Bobby Brown and others were releasing at the time.

We wouldn’t hear from the Rude Boys again until 1997 with Rude As Ever. You can tell it’s a late 90s album because they’re all wearing hats and shades and they’re holding cigars with their fingers twisted up. By now, Joe Little had left the group, dropping a solo album in 1994, and he was replaced with professional second-stringer Dwight Thompson (he also replaced Gerald in the group LeVert). The new lineup didn’t turn heads though, as everyone was too busy listening to 112 and Dru Hill. At least I was – I can’t remember one song from this album.

Should they come back?: Well, they want to. The group got all sentimental at Gerald’s funeral and talked about reuniting but not much has materialized. I think they should stick to VH1 Soul.
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8 Comments

  1. VH1 Soul is the best music channel ever created. I LOVE it!

  2. Definitely! I believe the “Rude Boys” should come back; the original group with Joe Little. I loved them.

  3. The Rude Boys definitely were one of most underrated and unappreciated groups of the 90’s. They were from a time when artists could really sing, heartfelt lyrics & tight harmonies.
    Having met & worked with Larry Bingo Marcus he left the group and went into Gospel. He still put out solo projects and a tribute song to his late cousin BB King.
    The group reunited for a tribute honoring Levert, Men at Large, The Rude Boys, all Levert legacy artists at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio July 2016.
    Sadly, Bingo passed away in October 2016.
    He was an incredible Maestro and his fans can hear his solo music on YouTube and other music outlets.
    Miss his wit, incredible talent and humor.
    He and The Rude Boys should NOT be forgotten

  4. I don’t care what any one says about The Rude Boys they don’t know anything about music. I wish they were still singing.Too talented not to be.Whoever said they sound like Levert they don’t realize when a person writes for a group or produces them that happens. My opinion they all have their own distinctive voices I would love to see them in concert and get back together. Is there any one out there that can help them? I don’t know what they are doing now but I would love for them to do more music.Appear on Unsung as well.I love all of their voices especially Little Joe and Buddy.

  5. I’m sorry about the passing of Bingo.

  6. I am watching Lil Joe and some other other guys singing it’s written all over your face live (2013) they sound good but buddy wasn’t with them my opion is it’s not going to sound right without buddy.Where is buddy? He’s irreplaceable. I really hope he can make it back. I had to say how I truly felt. That’s like trying to have the rude boy’s without lil joe.

  7. Dwight Thomas of the rude boys just dropped his latest single I’m a working man y’all need to go listen to it and tell your friends it’s a nice song and I mean nice you can get it on any iTunes stores but whatever just Google it and they’ll pull up a place where you can download it but is a nice song

  8. I love the Rude Boys. Joe Little sangs his bottom off still go THIS DAY!! PRAISE GOD! Where is that dawg gone sanging a$$ Buddy though? SHEESH!!!🎀🎡🎢🎀

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