Published on March 20th, 2023 | by MuzikScribe


Basic Black: Carrying The Torch


First things first, please introduce for me the members of Basic Black…

Lloyd “Spec” Turner: producer, original member and founder. Kelvin “K.B.” Bradshaw: producer, original member and founder. Sean “Blach” Jones: lead vocalist / writer. Anthony Dupree: lead vocalist / writer.

Now let’s hop right into this latest single, “Together Forever” — Tell me about this particular track? How did it actually come to fruition?

The music came first. Spec was working on a track, and it had a vibe like a Michael Jackson ballad. The track had that real R&B old school vibe, as well as having the 808 bass that is popular in all music today. Anthony heard the track and claimed it right then and said, “I have to write this one!” Not knowing what he wrote, people are comparing it to our classic, “Special Kind of Fool.”

Of course, “Together Forever” comes courtesy of your recently released new group opus, Autograph — Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you all?

Autograph came about because we decided to create a body of work that represented all of our favorite music influences and styles. We set out to create a project that was missing from the true sound of R&B; from the music, lyrics, vocals, and soon live performance.

How then does Autograph either differ and / or compare to previous Basic Black entries?

Autograph is our statement piece. Our second album titled The Resurrection was us just letting the world know that we were coming back. But our first album in 1990 self titled Basic Black is definitely our classic album that fueled our career to last this long. We were just recently told that the new project Autograph is our second classic project, and it’s somewhat better than our first project. Crazy!!

In having said that, when you all sit down to pen your lyrics where do you all draw your inspiration from?

Well all created from different vessels. Spec plays keys and K.B. programs, so they get inspired from listening to other styles of music and productions. Sean and Anthony, being writers, draw from life situations and personal experiences.

That said, how have you all either changed and / or evolved since you all debuted onto the scene?

Our musicianship and creativity has blossomed throughout the years. Taking from what we learned in the 90’s, and still being able to implement techniques mixed with the technology of today keeps us current and relevant.

What was it about now — in 2023 specifically — that prompted you all to finally return to form?

K.B. was instrumental in inspiring and putting the group back together. We lost our original singer Dezo Adams [Rest In Peace!], and K.B. said that we should keep the legacy and his legacy going. We got the blessing from his mother and his brother, and that was confirmation to keep it going.

For those not in the know, tell me your whole inception into music – When did you all first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Basic Black?

Spec and K.B. grew up together in Columbus, GA, and got the bug for music playing in the high school band. They both played drums, but wanted to create their own music. Spec decided to switch instruments, and showed interest in playing the piano. Later they linked up with the other original member of the group, “Mucho,” and he played bass. It was then they decided to form a band and play locally at talent shows, clubs and opening up for the legendary Keith Sweat and New Jack Swing group Guy. Catching the ear of Teddy Riley and Gene Griffin, the group was offered a job as the back up band for Teddy Riley’s group called Today. “Moving to New York City was the best thing for the group,” says K.B. and Spec. “That’s where Basic Black worked on their craft as writers and producers.” It later paid off as the R&B group Basic Black got their big break and signed to Motown Records. After the release of their self- titled debut album titled, Basic Black, in the early 90’s, Basic Black soon became a sensation among die-hard New Jack Swing fans. Some of their most heavy hits were “She’s Mine,” “Nothing but a Party,” “Whatever It Takes” and the top classic, “Special Kind of Fool.” Sean “Blach” Jones from Dublin, GA, came from a musical family. His mother was a singer and she sang for Shirley Caesar. Sean was always into music, but he started out as a rapper in Atlanta, GA. That transitioned to singing once he started singing hooks for some of Atlanta’s hot rap artists. Sean caught the ear of Spec when he heard a rendition of the group’s classic song, “Special Kind of Fool,” but with that Sean “Blach” Jones flavor. So impressed with his vocals, Spec and K.B. offered him a role in the iconic group. And around 2018-19, Sean joined the iconic R&B group Basic Black. Anthony Dupree, born in Wilmington, Delaware, was ordained to be the destined one to place his family’s legacy on a platform of greatness. As a child growing up in church, he learned early about the power of faith and knew exactly what his purpose was. Anthony Dupree began singing at the age of five and acting at the age of ten. Anthony Dupree left the city of Wilmington to pursue higher education at the Virginia State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, with great future plans to construct and open his very own production studio company. Anthony recorded his first single in 2013 titled ‘You’re All I Need,’ which was picked up by one of Atlanta’s top radio station’s V-103 – The People’s Station – and placed on the acclaimed BET Hip-Hop Awards mix-tapes in 2014 and 2015. And in around 2018- 19, Anthony joined the iconic R&B group Basic Black.

Now you all are Columbus, GA, natives, correct?

No, K.B. and Spec are from Columbus, GA. Sean is from Dublin, GA, and Anthony is from Wilmington, Delaware.

So growing up, who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?

Spec influences included, Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Babyface. Later on, it was Teddy Riley and Timbaland. Kelvin’s include Prince, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Babyface and Stevie Wonder. Sean’s include Shirley Caesar, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder. Anthony includes Hezekiah Walker, Stevie Wonder, Johnathan McReynolds and Israel Houghton.

With that being said, how do you all classify your overall sound and / or style?

Our style now is definitely that real R&B, with a little old school and a hint of the new school. We will reinvent ourselves as we grow as men and as artists.

Where’s does your moniker originally derive from?

Moniker, I think means nickname. But if you are asking how the name Basic Black was chosen it was the draw out of a hat. We literally chose different names, and the first name pulled from the hat was “Basic Black”…and the rest is history.

What particular string of events eventually led you all to linking up with the late Gene Griffin, and ultimately signing to Motown Records?

The first and major event was being the opening act for Keith Sweat, Guy and Today, in our hometown of Columbus, GA, and meeting Gene at that event. Signing to Motown was after Gene and Teddy split, and we chose to roll with Gene and we put out the record ” She’s Mine” independently and it caught the ear of Motown Records.

What was it exactly that caused the group to disband?

It was a mutual decision between the entire group. After touring and having great success with our debut album, we all agreed that the financial aspect of our business was not up to standards and it was too far gone for us to dispute or recoup what we felt we were owed.

After the dissolution of Basic Black, what all had / have you all been up to, both personally and professionally speaking, following the break up?

Spec got married, and has 2 amazing kids. Along with K.B., they created a production and publishing company and produced songs for Whitney Houston, Missy Elliott, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri and recently Megan Thee Stallion. Mucho kept producing alongside Teddy Riley for a few years, then branched out on his own and has produced with some big artists as well. From MC Lyte, SWV and the King Of Pop Michael Jackson. Dezo was writing for some major artist, as well as on the road singing with Justine Timberlake on the record breaking Sexyback Tour.

Switching gears here, what exactly do you all want people to get from your music?

That R&B does not have to be so explicit, and that you can be sexy, get in your feelings, praise God, and dance the night away. You can play our new project from top to bottom and not worry if the kids are in the room. That’s how the greats did it, and that’s how we continue to carry that torch.

If you all could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

As a group collectively, we would love to work with New Edition, Guy, Charlie Wilson and, of course, Stevie Wonder.

If you all could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Madison Square Garden. That stage has been blessed by some of the biggest artists in the world. Not only Hip Hop, R&B, but Rock, Country, Jazz, etcetera.

On a more serious note, are you all happy with the current state of R&B?

We are happy that R&B is still somewhat relevant, and that there is a lot of new R&B being released. But we still have to work on creating classic and non explicit R&B the way it was created. Nothing against rappers singing with auto-tune and keeping it street, but R&B was an outlet. The ability to dream and leave the streets behind just for a moment.

In terms of longevity, what do you all feel it is that will continue to sustain you in this grueling industry?

Staying true to R&B, but keeping up with technology and the new young producers that are emerging everyday. The ability to release your music at any time, and not technically needing a label, is changing the playing field. Not leveling, but changing.

Do you all have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?

Anthony definitely is the only member that is actively working as a TV producer for the Love & Hip Hop franchise on the VH-1 channel, as well as appearing on a few Netflix movies.

To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?

Spec and K.B. was working with Whitney Houston at her home for two weeks. Sean was releasing and writing for the hottest indie artist in Atlanta, GA, and joining the group; he grew up listening to Basic Black. Anthony was getting the gig of producer for the Love & Hip Hop franchise, joining Basic Black and currently producing his first original TV series.

In the nineties you all unleashed a succession of hit offerings; “Nothing But A Party,” “Whatever It Takes,” “She’s Mine” and “Special Kind of Fool — How did these particular songs actually come about? Who came up with the concepts? And, please describe for me the overall studio vibes on those fateful days?

“She’s Mine” was created in Columbus, GA, years before the group had a deal. We were at Mucho’s apartment at the time working on music, and that’s where the magic happened for that particular song. The rest of the songs were created after Gene and Teddy split, and the group moved to Atlanta, GA, in a house that Gene provided for the group to live in. We had a studio, and a few other artists lived in the house as well. We would wake up and just work on music the entire day, with all members adding and taking turns adding to the vocals and or production. The song “Special Kind of Fool” was created and written by Zan Aquart. The song was produced for Guy, but because of the split Zan offered it to us. At first we didn’t like the song, until Dezo recorded his vocals and that you could not deny was a hit.

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you all see yourselves?

Owning sound and movie production studios, producing and venturing out to other opportunities that the universe provides for us, and just giving back as much as possible to create a better place on earth.

As for the immediate, what’s next for Basic Black?

Touring , touring and more touring. We are ready and available, so reach out to us at: [email protected]. Also, we have a song from an upcoming movie. Releasing more and producing other artists.

Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?

That we are self contained. We write, produce, arrange, compose, all of our music. All album concepts and videos we created from day one. Also, we have been in the game for thirty three [33] years, and we are still producing and contributing timeless music to the industry. That deserves some respect.

Any “parting” words for our readers?

We hope to see and meet you in your city soon. Stream, download, spread the word about our new body of work titled Autograph, available on all streaming platforms. We love you all, and we will continue to serve and create great music.


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