What Ever Happened to: Immature

Every generation has its heartthrobs.

The poor kids these days are stuck with some guy named Alex from Target.

alex from target

Apparently some weirdo stalker at Target snapped a picture of the poor child, who is basically a Q-tip with teeth. That pic went viral, an Internet star was born and Alex from Target is suddenly getting underaged draws thrown at him. Of course, there are rumors that Alex from Target is nothing but a manufactured marketing ploy — which wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

In my day, the girls had manufactured heartthrobs who could at least sing! Well, sorta.

I know y’all remember Immature. If not, stick around.

Chris Stokes, infamous manager of a bunch of teenybopper R&B groups, met young Jerome Jones at a Los Angeles acting class in the early 90s. At some point, Stokes said “screw acting, let’s become rock stars.” Stokes soon got in contact with Marques Houston and Don Santos and before you knew it, a deal with Virgin Records was in place.

But before the group became superSTARS, they needed superHERO nicknames!

Houston was christened Batman, a name he either randomly received after a show one night, or because of his superhero Underoos, depending on which corner of the Internet you believe.

Jones became Romeo, later known simply as “the one with the eye patch.” More on store-brand Slick Rick later.

And Santos became “Half-Pint,” because they were clearly running out of  creative ideas at this point.

on our worst behavior

The trio dropped their debut, On Our Worst Behavior, in the fall of 1992. And it was trash. The problem with their act is that there were already a billion undersized New Jack Swing acts already on the scene. They did little to distinguish themselves from other groups — well, besides walking around dressed like a pile of dirty laundry. Playa, the early 90s were a dark time for fashion. “Tear It Up (On Our Worst Behavior)” was the only single to gain traction, mostly thanks to its tie-in with the BeBe Kids movie.

This incarnation of Immature clearly wasn’t working. But a reinvention brought success.

First, Half-Pint was removed from the group. Why? His parents wanted him to get a REAL education. It’s just that simple. Props to Mr. and Mrs. Half-Pint wanting more for their son than baggy clothes and watered-down hip hop. He would be replaced by Kelton Kessee, the Little Drummer Boy — LDB for short.

playtime is over

Next, Immature went from a bunch of low-rent rappers to miniature sex symbols. Look at their sophomore album cover, with the rose petals strewn all over the floor. Can’t you tell they’re sensitive now?

Also, why are they dressed like the cast of Living Single?

Anyway, THIS is the version of Immature that struck gold. True, the first single “Never Lie” is so corny and sickeningly sweet that it would rot all the teeth in Drake’s emotional head. But let me speak from experience — ladies LOVED this song in 1994. It surged to No. 5 on the pop charts and became the group’s signature hit. The follow-up, “Constantly,” also made a strong showing on the pop and R&B charts. The album Playtime Is Over didn’t fare all that well but the singles did and along with a ton of acting roles, Immature became a legit force.

Even older women bought into Immature’s romance act. True story: I was 10th grade in 1995, during the group’s peak. I remember being in a library at a table next to girls who were clearly much older than I – I assumed college freshmen. One girl kept going on and on about how sexy Immature was, and she didn’t care about the age difference. Now if I was 15 in 95, I’m guessing Immature had to be about 13 or 14 at that point. Yet college-aged women were admitting in public that they wanted to sleep with those little boys.

Somebody should have called How to Catch a Predator.

we got it

At the end of 1995, Immature dropped We Got It, which would go on to be their highest-charting album. The title track, featuring Smooth and an annoying video where old people get FUNKAY at a nursing home, wound up being the centerpiece. The slow jam “Please Don’t Go” also performed well but my personal favorite was “Feel the Funk.” Fueled by a wicked bass guitar, it sounded totally unlike anything on the radio at the time and I’ll admit that almost 20 years later (!) it still gets top billing on my iTunes playlists.

the journey

Two years later, Immature returned with The Journey and continued to embrace a more mature sound. I’ll give the group props — they made sure to evolve as their core fans grew up. Problem is, although their sound was evolving, the group still struggled to retain its fan base. The only single from this album that charted was “I’m Not A Fool,” but Batman most certainly was a fool for that haircut in the video. He looked like the fourth member of Total.

However, this was the album that gave us the greatest song Immature ever recorded — “Extra Extra” featuring the R&B OG himself Keith Sweat! Just listen!

Um yeah, clearly Batman is doing the poorest Keef Sweat imitation imaginable but if you’re gonna steal, steal from the best. Sadly, the journey was just about over for Immature.

Or was it?

introducing imx2

 

In 1999, the group once again rebranded itself, now calling itself IMx. I mean, they were nearly in their 20s at this point, they can’t still be Immature. It’s the same reason y’all need to stop calling your 40-year-old cousins “Man Man” and “Lil Bit.” But I digress. IMx’s reinvention actually worked, and their fifth album, Introducing IMx, yielded the top 20 R&B single, “Stay the Night.” I have this album somewhere (STOP JUDGING ME) and although I haven’t listened to it since Big Pun roamed the Earth, I remember it being pretty solid. “In And Out of Love” was a banger.

imx

The group returned for one last hurrah in 2001 for the self-titled  IMx. Although their single “First Time” only made it to No. 69 (ahem) on the R&B charts, you couldn’t tell that by watching BET, which sadly I still did a lot in 2001. That video aired constantly. “Beautiful (You Are)” was a much better song — and also appeared on IMx’s previous album too.

After decade long run, IMx called it quits following this album. Marques Houston, thanks to his lead vocals and acting roles on shows like “Sister, Sister,” immediately transitioned into a moderately successful solo career. To say I wasn’t fond of his last project is an understatement but he’s had his share of post IMx-hits.

Romeo renamed himself Young Rome and embarked on a (thankfully) short-lived rap career.  The singles “After Party” and “Freaky” entertained the 106 & Park crowd at least. Also, it was around this time that he revealed the secret of his eye patch: Allegedly Brandy — yes, THAT Brandy — hit him in the eye and detached his retina. At least that’s what the Internet told me. These days, Rome works with MH on film projects.

LDB had gone into semi-retirement, doing a little production work on the side.

Lord only knows where Half-Pint is but I bet he probably has a IQ of like 300 and is running a Fortune 500 company. Or, he could just be spending his days listening to On Our Worst Behavior over and over again. Do you, playa.

Chris Stokes went on to burden us with such great acts as B2K and fine cinema like “You Got Served.” And no, I ain’t even gonna dig into those long-standing and horrid allegations he’s faced for years — this post is long enough as it is. Consult Google for that.

Should They Come Back?: Well, a comeback has been in the works for awhile, with the group even reuniting at at show in 2013. But their alleged new album has yet to materialize and I’m not losing any sleep waiting for it. With MH running out of steam and the other members being in limbo for a decade now, I don’t really see the point.

But maybe I’m just being a hater. If it’s one thing Immature/IMx mastered, it was the art of reinvention. It wouldn’t shock me to see them catch fire again. Plus, those college kids who drooled over Immature when they were kids must be grandmas by now. I bet they’ll drop that sweet disposable income on their creepy crushes.

Visit our “What Ever Happened to…” archive for more on your favorite forgotten artists

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6 Comments

  1. I really loved immuter a lot ever since the first album came out we round the same age almost I will really get made at my mom and want to fight here when she cut TV or radio off I hi hate when ppl. Talk bout my baby’s like that or talk down when they trying no body perfect.

  2. We are the exact same age! As I read this, so many memories of my teenage years popped up. I remember my little sister who’s 2 years younger than me littered her wall with posters of Batman while I fawned over Romeo’s honey colored eyes. My unrequited love affair for Romeo began with his eyepatch he used to wear all throughout their “Playtime is Over” run. I once heard he had an eye injury before they released that album. I guess people probably gave him complements and/or he fell in love with the mysterious look the eyepatch provided hence it stuck with him for a good 1/2-2 years lol! After their “We Got It” buzz died off, I noticed their popularity began to wane a bit. I don’t know if it’s was Batmans ridiculous gel permed hair or we (the core fans) moved on to other stuff like Tupac and Biggie, BadBoy vs. Death Row fiasco, but nobody was really talking about Immature as much. Even when Batman began app yon SisterSister nobody really warmed up to him or the rest of “IMx”. So in the late 90’s playtime was definitely over for Immature. Thanks for the wonderful read. Again it brought me back to the days of wearing braces, teen angst, and raging hormones LOL!

    • I will love to see the group back together forgive one another for what ever they did to each other life is a challenge it has it up`s and down but we need to forgive one another for what ever rong you did to one onother and start afresh in there songs they always talk about love forgiveness and trust now it time to act on what they always talk about in there songs and lead by example please IMX let hop they come back we love ther music thank you.

  3. I love the article!! Great job & hilarious too. Nostalgia galore. Im heartbroken at their recent attempt to ‘remake’ their classic songs…it was sucj a FAIL. they had no energy , its like why was it attempted in the first place if youre not gonna put ur foot in it? I assume thats why it didnt garner attention outside the hardcore fans. I was definitely a fan from Playtime is over to IMx stuff.

  4. So we not gonna talk about them sandals on the Introducing IMx album cover? Oh ok.

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