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Dru Hill Adds R&B Veterans Playa To Group, Announce New Album: Exclusive

The nayhoos are about to be off the charts. 

R&B mainstays Dru Hill are extending its roster in a major way with the addition of fellow soul group Playa just in time for their forthcoming album, The Second Coming.

Jawann “Smoke” Peacock and Benjamin “Black” Bush have joined the group on the heels of the departure of Larry “Jazz” Anthony. The group, still sharing the stage name of Dru Hill will now be comprised of Smoke, Black,  Tamir "Nokio” Ruffin, Mark “Sisqo” Andrews and Antwuan “Tao” Simpson as Jazz focuses on his career as a solo artist.

Playa came into fruition in the early 90s with the help of Jodeci's Devante Swing. The late producer Static Major was also apart of the group, who worked closely with Timbaland to release their stand out track, "Cheers 2 U." The song spent 17 weeks on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts in 1998.

In a statement to VIBE, the group shared their excitement of what's to come along with their long-standing brotherhood.

“While Jazz is working on solo endeavors, it only made sense to come together with our brothers,” they said. “Not many people know this, but we met way back in 1998 when we all played the Ladies Night Out tour and Playa was a trio. We’ve been family ever since. When we stepped on that stage with Dru Hill for the first time this year, it was instant magic. We knew right away that this was where we all belonged.”

When it comes to their newfound union, Smoke explained how they plan to blend their unique flavor of R&B and soul.

"We are bringing our churchy, soulful vocals— which is the foundation of Playa’s legacy— and adding them to the legacy of Dru Hill," Smoke tells VIBE. "I feel like we bring a whole other concept of harmonies and melodies to the table. And not only that, we’re writers, producers, and arrangers. The vocals that Aaliyah came within the 90s, the overall feel of Drake’s Take Care album, we were a big part of making that happen and we’re only going to keep innovating with Dru Hill on this next project. For me, The Second Coming is definitely the resurrection of real R&B. Fans should get ready because as of this fall, R&B is no longer dead."

Their first performance as the supergroup will kick off Saturday (Aug. 11) at the AFRAM Festival in Baltimore which will also feature Ella Mai and Jacquees. It's also the first time ever Dru Hill will perform in Druid Hill Park, where they famously got their name.

READ MORE: 20 Years Later: A Definitive Ranking Of Dru Hill’s Soulful Debut Album

R&B supergroups have been a winning formula for the genre. Some notable supergroups include LSG comprised of the late Gerald Levert, Keith Sweat, and New Edition's Johnny Gill. There's also the infamous TGT which included Tyrese, Ginuwine, and Tank. The elusive Lucy Pearl that featured Raphael Saadiq, A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad and former EnVouge songstress Dawn Robinson kept the trend fresh.

The Second Coming will be released under their own label, Dru Hill Entertainment this fall. The project is produced by Grammy-winning writer and producer Troy Taylor of Songbook Entertainment. Known for his work with Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige, and B2K, he helped curate the career of Trey Songz and most recently, R&B newcomer Kevin Ross.

Dru Hill's previous release under their label was the critically acclaimed holiday EP, Christmas in Baltimore in 2017.

With R&B more defiant than ever, the supergroup is bound to bring all the nayhoos we've been craving.

READ MORE: Aaliyah Week: An Ode To Static Major, The Pen Behind Aaliyah’s Self-Titled Album

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Donnie McClurkin Sent To Hospital Following Car Accident

Gospel legend Donnie McClurkin couldn't be more grateful after surviving a car accident this past Wednesday (Dec. 12).

The "We Fall Down" singer was driving on the road in the earlier part of the day when he passed out and began weaving into traffic. He reportedly struck the middle concrete island.

Following the incident, he posted a selfie of him on the hospital bed in scrubs on Facebook. Along with the photo, he explained that he woke up from the accident with stitches on his left thumb, on top of having a sprained wrist, and hurt knee. His car was also completely totaled.

"I AM ALIVE!!!! Somewhat mangled, stitches on left thumb, sprained wrist, hurt knee, but I’m still here! God and two angels saved my life!," the Grammy-winning artist wrote.

He also mentioned that two "angels" pulled him out the car to safety and medical attention. "I owe them...I am still here by the grace of God! Thank you, Lord...thank you!" he added.

On Friday (Dec. 14), McClurkin posted to his Facebook page again, sharing several photos of his destroyed car. "This is the totaled car that two angels rescued me from ....after passing out while driving I don’t remember most of what happened a day and a half ago...but God," he wrote. "I overrode doctors and sisters advice and flew to KENYA today for ministry Saturday @ TWO RIVERS. and home on this Sunday to celebrate life."

In happier news, McClurkin also took time to plug in his new Christmas single titled "My Favorite Things." Check out McClurkin's posts on social media and stream his new song below.

READ MORE: Big K.R.I.T. Drops Surprise Gospel-Influenced 'Thrice X' EP

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Douglas Grundy

Nicki Minaj's Boyfriend Kenneth Petty Received 18 Violations During Prison Stint

Nicki Minaj's new boyfriend, Kenneth Petty has a very troubled past.

On Friday (Dec. 14), TMZ revealed court documents disclosing Petty's history of disciplinary actions while he was an inmate in New York for manslaughter from 2006 to 2013.

When he entered the correctional facility, he was reportedly written up for creating a disturbance. Later during his stint, he was hit with a slew of disciplinary actions following a series of violent actions that included fighting, making terroristic threats, and "disobeying a direct order."

In 2009, prison faculty placed him in solitary confinement for four months as part of being reprimanded for nine different violations. Petty lost privileges that included the usage of the inmate telephone service, recreational activity, and the prison canteen.

In addition to his prison violations, Petty is a convicted sex offender. At the age of 16, he was tried as an adult served a four-year sentence for attempted rape of a minor.

Petty, who hails from the same borough as Nicki, Queens, knew the platinum-selling rap star since she was a teenager. They dated for a short period years prior to reuniting.

Minaj posted various photos of her and Petty going on a vacation getaway earlier this month. Sources close to Minaj told the celebrity gossip website that the 36-year-old hip-hop artist is  "happier than she's been in years" with Petty.

 

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READ MORE: Nicki Minaj Plans To Sue 'Daily Mail' TV Host Jesse Palmer

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H.E.R. Brings All-Star Medley To Tiny Desk Set

Grammy-nominated singer H.E.R. appeared on NPR's "Tiny Desk" set on Dec. 12, to deliver a 4-piece-medley from her last four projects.

Tucked neatly behind her dark sunglasses, the songstress began her set strapped to a mustard yellow guitar with a host of back-up musicians accompanying the 21-year-old on her first solo journey with "Tiny Desk." She previously appeared on the performance series in June 2018 alongside collaborator Daniel Caesar to bring their single "Best Part" to life.

The singer began with "Going (Interlude)," a low-tempo song ushering a heavy-hearted feel into the 18-minute-performance. Keeping with the melancholy vibes planted by the first single, Gabriella Wilson – best known by her three-letter-moniker –  delivered a stunning rendition of "Feel A Way." With two-final transitions, the singer-songwriter concluded her act with "Focus," a throw back from the 2017 EP that gained her worldwide recognition, H.E.R. Volume 1.

Switching from strings to keys, Wilson sat peacefully before a keyboard playing the melody she crafted for the crowd favorite. Chaperoning the performance to a close, Wilson and her background singers played a vocal game of tag as the band jazzed up the slow beats until the set officially wrapped.

Watch as H.E.R. rocks the "Tiny Desk" set in the video above.

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