What Ever Happened to: Oran “Juice” Jones

When did the music industry get so schizophrenic?

These days, we have R&B singers acting like rappers, rappers masquerading as singers,

And whatever this is.

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I miss the days when real R&B singers stuck to their lane but still got props from the hip hop world without gimmicks and shameless pandering.

If you think the first person to bridge the gap between rap and R&B was Drake, you probably just put in your order for your high school class ring. Those of us who are older and wiser know the true R&B trailblazer was Oran “Juice” Jones.

I’m sure you remember OJ Jones. If not, that’s what I’m here for.


Before Oran Jones took the music world by storm, he had quite a decorated military career.

The Houston native graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1981 and was the second African-American Brigade Commander in Naval Academy history. He served as a sniper officer in the United States Marine Corps until 1986, when the music industry came calling.

OJ was the first artist signed to OBR Records, a subsidiary of the renowned Def Jam label. This also made him the very first R&B artist on the hip-hop record label. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal today, back then, rap and R&B were two totally separate entities. In fact, it was practically an insult to associate a rap artist with anything remotely resembling R&B. The soothing sounds of R&B clashed with hip hop’s rebellious edge.

OJ Jones’ signing signaled a partnership between the genres that would last till this day.

Jones’ debut, Juice, dropped in 1986 and playa, look at that album cover. That’s the personification of big pimpin’. It didn’t even matter that he forgot to iron his slacks, OJ just invented swag.

“Curiosity” and “You Can’t Hide From Love” sort of floundered on the charts but “The Rain” made up for all of that. It was one of those rare anthems that the divas and the d-boys both could relate to. Plus, the video has the most ridiculous one liners I’ve ever heard:

“Close your mouth cuz you COLD BUSTED.”

“What were you tryin’ to prove, huh? You’s with the Juice!”

“My first impulse was to run up on you and do a Rambo, whip out the jammy and flat-blast both of you but I ain’t wanna mess up this thirty-seven hundred dollar lynx coat.”

That last line was enough to make Mr. Biggs turn in his playa’s card.

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 “The Rain” was a  hit, rising to No. 1 on the R&B charts and  No. 9 on the pop boards. “The Rain” even scored a couple of Grammy nominations. OJ’s star was shining.

For a moment, anyway.

Jones followed up his solo debut with a GTO: Gangstas Takin Over in 1987. Still trying to make pimpin’ look easy he dropped “Cold Spendin’ My Money” as the lead single. It’s not a bad song (if you’re a 60-year-old man who stalks women at college step shows) but it lacked crossover appeal of “The Rain.” The album and single didn’t make much impact.

Juice tried his luck once again in 1989 with To Be Immortal. The only song I remember from the set is “Pipe Dreams,” which was an ambitious take on the evils of excess. Yeah, those songs are a dime a dozen these days but again, OJ showed he was ahead of his time. Neither that song nor the album made a blimp on the music scene’s radar. Juice wisely decided to bow out of the game to start a family and care for his ailing mother.

It would be almost a decade before we’d hear from OJ again – if you lived in the UK, that is. Player’s Call was released overseas and with songs like “Purse Comes First” and “Gigolos Get Lonely Too” you can tell he’s back to pimpin’. Album single “Poppin’ That Fly” actually wasn’t bad for a 1997-era track but our friends across the pond weren’t impressed. Player’s Call wasn’t released stateside for another 10 years.

OJ has since retired from the music game. These days, he’s helping his son Oran II and his daughter, Perri Jones, launch their music careers. He also blogs occasionally for sites like Global Grind, but I haven’t seen anything new from him recently.

Should He Come Back?: Nah. OJ had his run and he’s better off mentoring a new generation of artists than trying to squeeze more bucks out a 30-year-old single. OJ changed the game, he’s earned his retirement.

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16 Comments

  1. Was “The Rain” released before Def Jam made the video in 1986.

    • I love that album you made your mark on this world you deserve your retirement I would never forget you you are the juice.

  2. Mr Jones I had the biggest crush on you in the 80s’. I thought you were the sexiest man alive!

  3. Mr Jones you were the best singer I knew and the sexiest.

  4. The song “Standing in the Rain” from Suicide Squad soundtrack made me remember the Juice. How could you leave out the dopest line “You just a squirrel tryin’ to get a nut!”

  5. You like corn flake with out the milk! Best line ever! Lmao

  6. “don’t touch dat coat”

  7. You got to get on outta here with that Alley-Cat coat wearin’, Hushpuppy shoe wearin’ crumbcake I saw you wit’; cuz you’s dismissed…

    WHAT?! WHAT?! Who else was spittin’ like that on an R&B record?

  8. I am pretty sure he DID NOT go to the Naval Academy Class Of 81. And I am CERTAIN that he WAS NOT the Brigade Commander in 1981. Why? Because I WAS THERE. I am class of ’83. And back then there were very few black midshipmen so each of use knew each other. If we did not know each other by NAME we at last knew the guy’s face. The only black Brigade Commander that I know from the 1979 to 1983 period was a guy named Walt Nobles Class I 82. I am certain of that because he was in my company.

    But in any case I DID love the song ” walking in the rain” Played the vinyl until it wore out then brought a new one and made a repeating mix cassette that I kept in my car. Anytime I had a girl and she was messing up a bit I would pop that tape in.

    • You are absolutely right. Juice was never in the Navy. How do I know? Because I’m his cousin. The guy that wrote this article is probably the same guy that said Mr. Rogers was a Marine. Never-the-less, everything in the article is true. There was nobody like Juice.

  9. I PEEPED PUERTO RICAN FLAG AGAINST THE WALL DOES HE HAVE PUERTO RICAN ROOTS.

  10. Happy to know that Oran Juice Jones is still Kicking it with his kids. .. This song was one of the best songs played at all the clubs. … I still listen to it! .. That song was an important lesson to me and my girlfriends… Whenever someone thought about cheating, we would play that song for them. .. Kept us all on the right track! … Always wanted to thank him for that song! .. Keep on keeping on Oran Juice Jones! .. YOU ROCK!! (:

  11. Oran "Juice" Jones. May 16, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Well, thank you, and if you really want facts, let’s sit a spell and rap a taste. Oran “Juice” Jones.

  12. The song The Rain is still a classic. I got a question; what ever happened to that cup of hot chocolate you promised the girl in the song and video? Im wondering if she ever drank it? Lol!

  13. Love it.. reminds me of my then girlfriend who did a dirty… on.me so I just said ok you are dismissed now get out of my house.

  14. Yo Oran, Skul, what up my Brother from another mother? how is the family doing? hit me up, you got the number. ML2U

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