No, I’m not talking about Chris Brown blubbering at the BET Awards.
For years, I thought that Mimi Doby, a prominent member of the ’90s R&B trio Brownstone, left the group due to medical problems. But no, I learned recently that she left for the same reason that nearly all female groups break up – bickering.
Sigh, add them to the gigantic list of groups that burned out just when they shined brightest. Ladies, get it together.
Anyway, let’s look at the highs and lows of Brownstone.
Nichole ‘Nicci’ Glibert, Monica ‘Mimi’ Doby, and Charmayne ‘Maxee’ Maxwell were signed to Michael Jackson’s MJJ record label in the mid-90s, and their debut, From the Bottom Up, was released soon after in 1995.
That album achieved platinum status, all thanks to their mega-single “If You Love Me.” It roared to No. 8 on the billboard charts, landed them a Billboard award and a Grammy nomination. They were far from one-hit wonders, though. I know y’all remember their robust vocals on “Graypevine” – they sounded like a pissed off church choir. And don’t forget “Can’t Tell Me Why.”
In 1997 Brownstone returned with Still Climbing and around this time Mimi “went home sick” and was replaced with Kina Cosper, who didn’t last too long. Still, the group was churning out quality tracks, including my favorite Brownstone song, “5 Miles to Empty.” Whoo, those notes still give me chills. I wasn’t as big of a fan of “Kiss and Tell” though. They’re too old to be running around a high school harrassing young boys, looking like deranged, middle-aged Twilight fans.
Still Climbing didn’t live up to its name and stalled, so the group disintegrated. Nicci Gilbert (no relation to Whitley Gilbert, sadly) released a solo album, Grown Folks Music, in 2003. It didn’t make much noise but it’s not half bad. Check out “My Side Of The Story.”
The group has attempted to reunite a few times with new members, but it never worked out.
Should They Come Back?: Hard to say. If they still have their 1995-era voices I’d love to hear them. But I seriously doubt they could return to their glory days. They’d probably just wind up fighting again away.