Considered one of the precursors of the New Jack Swing movement, Whodini emerged in the 80s New York rap scene with their vibrant melange of hip-hop and R&B. Composed of MCs Jalil Hutchins and John “Ecstasy” Fletcher, plus DJ Drew “Grandmaster Dee” Carter, the group was formed in 1982 and soon released their debut single “Magic’s Wand”, a tribute to rap radio pioneer Mr. Magic that became the first rap song to have an accompanying video. Their self-titled debut album arrived in 1983 and featured production by Conny Plank, Thomas Dolby, Roy Carter, and Willesden Dodgers. They incorporated synthesizers and R&B elements on their sophomore effort, Escape, released in 1984. The album garnered praises from critics and was the first hip-hop record to enter the Top 40 in the US aided by the singles “Five Minutes of Funk” and “Freaks Come Out at Nite.” It was also certified platinum by the RIAA after selling over a million copies. Recorded entirely in London with Larry Smith behind the console, third album Back in Black (1986) reached Number 4 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and went gold shortly after. The group went on indefinite hiatus following the release of 1987’s Open Sesame due to issues with their record label and attempted a comeback in 1991 with Bag-a-Trix without much success. In 1996, Whodini signed to Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Recordings and released Six, their sixth full-length. The album only spawned the single “Keep Running Back,” which peaked at Number 27 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs. Despite not releasing any new material in the following decades, the group received several accolades for their trajectory and kept touring right until John Fletcher's death on December 2020, at the age of 56.

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