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Jagged Edge

Jagged Edge

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R&B RelaunchedAtlanta Balladeers Jagged Edge Readies for Debut on Miami Hip-Hop LabelBy CHRISTOPHER WINDHAMAtlanta R&B quartet Jagged Edge is determined to be the last band standing from crowded market of R&B soul groups launched in the 1990s.

Such groups as Dru Hill, 112 and the Jodeci have since broken up, went on hiatus or found themselves shopping for record deals.

With the group's soft, mellow and situational ballads, Jagged Edged has developed a loyal fan base that has followed the group through label changes, creative adjustments and personal challenges.

While traditional R&B quartets are known to croon about chasing love, being heartbroken and romantic fantasies, Jagged Edge has stayed relevant by focusing on such "reality" issues as breaking up, making up and staying together.

Now, fans are poised to continue their journey with Jagged Edge as they prepare for the group's first release on Miami's Slip-N-Slide Records, home to hip-hop artists Rick Ross, Trina and Trick Daddy.

Jagged Edge, which consists of brothers Brian and Brandon Casey along with Kyle Norman and Richard Wingo, says the group is eager to meet the challenge of integrating their R&B vocals into Slip-N-Slide's hip-hop focused brand of music.

"It's just a matter production," says Brandon Casey, a frontman for the group along with brother Brian "When it comes to music, if it moves me, I can make that record."Working with famed Atlanta producer Jermaine Dupri on his So So Def record label, the group has been making mainstream records since the release of 1998's "A Jagged Era," which was certified gold with the hit single "I Gotta Be." Since then, Jagged Edged has released five albums of original material, including one double platinum (J.E.

Heartbreak), one platinum (Jagged Little Thrill) and two gold albums (Hard) (Jagged Edge).Along the way, the group collected four Top Ten singles in seven years, including "Promise," "Walk Outta Heaven" and "Where the Party At," which reached the top spot on Billboard's R&B charts and number three on the Hot 100 charts.

Jagged Edge's most recent album, 2007's "Baby Making Project," a collection of slow jams, was a mixed bag that ultimately caused the quartet to regroup professionally.

The album received mostly positive critical reviews and was well-received by loyal fans.

However, it was Jagged Edge's first studio album not to at least reach gold status, selling only about 150,000 copies.

Industry observers noted that, while good music, the album did little to entice consumers to add Jagged's Edge slow jam album to their already crowded collections of Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass and Marvin Gaye.

The album was Jagged Edge's first and only release on Def Jam Records, which distributed the album in partnership with So So Def.

The group members say they reluctantly supported the slow jam album out of loyalty and respect for Dupri, the driving force behind the concept."We played our part [at Def Jam]," says Casey.

"At the same time, we had concerns about dropping an all ballad album.

But it was a good record."Jagged Edged and Dupri have since gone in separate directions; however the group says it's open to someday working with the legendary producer again.

The experience has Jagged Edge eager to return to its roots of mixing the party jams, with soft ballads for its Slip-N-Slide debut, with is scheduled for release in 2010."We're looking at this next record as if it's the R&B version of [Dr.

Dre's] The Chronic," Casey says.

"It'll feature party music to go along with where music is at now.

To stay with the trend, we're going to come with something faster."Fans are getting a preview of Jagged's Edge's updated up-tempo approach with the recently leaked single "Fling" in which the group harmonies about extending a brief romantic relationship.The new album will feature the ballads that have been Jagged Edge's staple over the last decade.

The group said it also plans to deliver the raw vocals and mellow tones that have been the differentiator separating Jagged Edge from the rest of 1990s pack of R&B bands.


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