What Ever Happened to: Color Me Badd

A few months back, I blessed y’all with my list of the Top 10 Male R&B Groups of the 90s. It was mostly well received, aside from a few asinine complaints:

 “Where was Day26?”

“What time period does this include?”

“Why didn’t you list Destiny’s Child!? FML”

Y’all need to do better.

However one reader brought up a great point – “where is Color Me Badd?”

I admit that I mentally wrote off Color Me Badd as one-hit-wonders. But when I went back and researched, I was proven wrong.

See I can admit when I make mistakes (sometimes).

So, allow me to make things up to Color Me Badd by checking on their whereabouts.

Oklahoma City boys Bryan Abrams, Mark Calderon, Kevin Thornton and Sam Watters were discovered in 1990 by  Kool & The Gang’s Robert Bell. It didn’t take long for them to sign to Giant Records and drop their debut, C.M.B. (WE ALL WE GOT!) the following year.

Ladies were infatuated with these dudes, and it didn’t help that C.M.B’s first single was “I Wanna Sex You Up.” Only in the ’90s could you have a song that explicit yet totally ridiculous. Adults weren’t happy though. That song was BANNED in my middle school, along with Naughty By Nature’s “OPP” T-shirts.

Remember when hip-hop was anti-authority and scared adults? Now, this is the scariest thing in urban music:

But I digress. “I Wanna Sex You Up” was a No. 1 R&B hit and a No. 2 pop hit as well. And Color Me Badd wasn’t done. The schmaltzy “I Adore Mi Amore” (which I once thought was a Michael Jackson song) and “All 4 Love” (with a video straight off the set of Full House) were both No. 1 pop hits. “Thinkin’ Back” and “Slow Motion” performed well too, pushing the album to triple platinum status (or 5x platinum, depending on whom you ask, apparently). After the success of C.M.B., the boys from Oklahoma were now bonafide superstars.

Remember remix albums? They were all the rage in the 90s, and Color Me Badd saw dollar signs. The group released Young, Gifted and Badd: The Remixes in 1992, featuring a bunch of mixes of their big singles and … not much else. The only song of note here was “Forever Love,” which climbed to No. 15 on the charts.

The following year, the group released their proper sophomore effort, Time & Chance. This was the album I slept on when creating my Top Groups of the ’90s list. The album wasn’t nearly as huge as the group’s debut but it certainly was successful.

You can tell this is a ’90s boy band album cover because dudes are in leathers mean-mugging against a chain-link fence.  But don’t worry ladies, they’re all sensitive and stuff – just listen to the title track. The next single, “Choose” actually wasn’t bad. It’s probably my favorite CMB song. Those singles pushed the album to gold status (or platinum, depending on whom you ask. I need my Internet sources to get their acts together on these sales figures.).

The gang took a break and re-emerged in 1996 with Now and Forever. And judging by that album cover, they just took their senior pictures! Aww.

This album had a much heavier R&B influence, thanks to contributions from producers Babyface, Boyz II Men and Jon B. “The Earth, The Sun, The Rain” is kind of a cheesy ballad but it certainly was successful, reaching No. 19 on the pop charts. It was the group’s last notable hit.

In 1998, CMB moved the Epic Records and gave it one last shot with Awakening. “Remember When” got a little bit of radio play around my way but it vanished quickly. Soon after, so did the group.

Individual projects kept most of the group’s members busy over the years. Sam went on to be a very successful producer, providing pop gems for artists like Kelly Clarkson and Jessica Simpson and R&B hits for Fantasia.

Kevin decided to go into ministry, releasing music and becoming a licensed minister. He’s also actively bringing awareness to sex trafficking. Good for him.

Bryan and Mark are trying to keep the magic alive. They’re still touring as Color Me Badd with new member Martin Kimber.

Should They Come Back?: Well, word on the Internet Streetz is that the NEW AND IMPROVED Color Me Badd plans to release an album this year. I wouldn’t hold my breath on seeing a reunion of the original quartet though. Kevin and Sam seem content with their new lives. And that’s fine. CMB was definitely a product of its era. Let those memories stay in the 90s, when CMB were among the best.

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