Interview: Joe Talks Evolution, R&B’s New Era And Why He Won’t Do A Dance Record


Joe has been whispering sweet somethings in our ears since 1993. But his swag hasn’t aged one bit. While supplying us with countless, often underrated hits–see: “I Wanna Know,” “All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do)”–the R&B bachelor has become the epitome of class, romance and sincerity. Along with his running list of babymakers, he’s also dropped duets with the likes of Chico DeBarge, Big Pun, Case and Mariah Carey, an accomplishment many can’t claim.

With his butter-smooth single, “I’d Rather Have A Love,” in steady radio rotation, Joe chats with VIBE about R&B’s new era, his upcoming album Double Back: The Evolution of R&B (due July 2) and why he’ll never do a dance record.

VIBE: R&B vets like yourself, Maxwell and Eric Benet have stood the test of time. Is there a secret?

Joe: There has to be some sort of formula; there’s got to be. I think we’re all different in our own way, but we represent ourselves as men when it comes to life, professionalism, the business. Everything from that point–the energy you put out–everything trickles down from that. It’s about being sure of yourself. That’s where I am at this point of my life.

Describe your musical growth from your previous project to now.

My process has been about maturing. At one point, I felt like I was doing the same thing everybody else was doing–the baggy jeans, Timberlands, the hoodies. I was young. I started realizing that I’m too old for this. It’s a certain level that I need to leave just so I know that I’m growing as a person. I needed to feel my inside was going to affect my outside. I can’t represent everyone that’s walking the streets.

Give us a few details on the new album.

Double Back: The Evolution of R&B is the title. I’m excited. I kept the features appropriate to the records. I have a song with Fantasia called “Love and Sex.” I have a song with Fat Joe; he’s on the remix to the single. I think he laced it. And I have a single with Too $hort.

R&B has experienced a Renaissance lately, but what do you think is still missing?

NEXT PAGE: Joe Comments On Miguel And Frank Ocean, Talks Chico DeBarge