Happy Memorial Day, Popdose readers! Welcome to the unofficial first weekend of summer, a time that reminds me of my childhood in Brooklyn. Ahhhh, I can remember the average Brooklyn summer day (circa mid-Eighties) so vividly-sitting out on the stoop with a boombox listening to the radio, tossing around a football in the street, playing basketball on a makeshift court (a milk crate attached to a light pole), almost getting run over by a sporty vehicle driven by a member of Full Force as they sped down the street, breaking up our impromptu athletic pursuits…
In addition to being the cause of many near-misses on the traffic accident tip, Full Force was one of the most influential hip-hop/R&B combos of the Eighties. Composed of three brothers from the George family, and their three cousins, the East Flatbush natives first gained fame by producing UTFO’s monster hit “Roxanne Roxanne,” a song that spawned about 7,000,000 answer records back when those were a “thing.” They discovered Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam and wrote and/or produced records for everyone from Samantha Fox to Patti LaBelle to LaToya Jackson.
In addition to their songwriting and production, they were a self-contained band. They recorded five albums for Columbia and Capitol in the Eighties and Nineties, spawning a handful of R&B hits including “Alice, I Want You Just for Me!” This jam, one of the first to successfully combine soul harmonies with hip-hop flavor, peaked at #16 on Billboard’s soul chart at the beginning of 1986. It also spawned one of the decade’s more unfortunate video clips.
The outfits! The drippy Jheri curls! The end-of-song homage to Alice Kramden! Those looks were almost as unfortunate as the band member’s names (I’m looking at you, Bow Legged Lou). The song by itself? Dope. The song with the visuals attached? High comedy.
Actually, high comedy might be what the Full Force guys are best known for to the general public. They starred as the villains in 1990′s House Party (and its sequel), adding to their legacy as legends of the early hip-hop generation.
These days, the Full Force guys still write, produce and act, maintaining careers even though they could be sitting on a very high pile of money. After all, the team was a mainstay of the Jive Records production staff at the tail end of the Nineties, receiving credits on the debut albums by Britney Spears, ‘NSync and the Backstreet Boys. Those three albums sold nearly 40 million copies in the U.S. alone — enough to buy a HELL of a lot of Jheri curl juice.
- Jheri Curl Fridays 03: “Stand By Me” (popdose.com)
- Jheri Curl Fridays 02: “Pretty Mess” (popdose.com)
- Jheri Curl Fridays 01: “Torture” (popdose.com)