DJ Kay Gee of the legendary hip hop group Naughty by Nature has been a friend of ours for many years now, so it was only right we had him as a guest on the SoulBack R&B Podcast. He took it deep on a number of subjects, but something that really stood out to us was his plans to work with Jaheim and Next again; two artists he originally discovered.
Kay Gee also revealed to us why Koffee Brown broke up, and shared a hilarious story of why he had to lock Jaheim out of the studio!
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YouKnowIGotSoul: People still to this day ask about Koffee Brown. Why didn’t they work out as a group?
Kay Gee: I talk to V here and there. She’s still out there doing her thing. I saw her not too long ago, and she talked about potentially doing something with Jaheim. They had talked about it awhile ago but we never made it happen. That was just one of the ones that I’m still salty about to this day. I felt like, and not just because it’s my work, I felt it was a great project. It didn’t get the opportunity to really get out there and touch the people the way that not only I felt, but the genre of R&B deserved. Part of it was self inflicted. The group didn’t really get along, even before it came out. To be honest, I think Arista kind of sensed that and felt that and knew it probably wasn’t going to go too far. So they didn’t go too far with it. It was already imploding internally.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Any plans to work with Next & Jaheim again?
Kay Gee: That’s going to happen. The funny thing is, me and Jaheim were sitting down the other night. For the first time in awhile talking. We’ve sat down before as friends. We’ve always remained friends. I think we may have turned a corner. So I think it’s actually coming. I told him from the outside what I saw with him. He’s frustrated right now in the scenario he’s got going on. He said he thinks it’s time and I think so too. We were talking about it strongly. We will continue talking more soon to move towards making it official. I told him if this thing works, I’m going to reach out to Next and pull them in as well. Next has always been cool with me. I’ve remained cool with all of my people from Zhane, from Jean doing her own thing with the Baylor Project, and then Renee, doing her thing. I’ve maintained contact. Even Yummy from Tha Rayne. A lot of people are not familiar with them. That was a really good project that never got to see the light of day. Those girls were really talented. I just feel that R&B is making it’s way back, it’s fighting, but it’s coming back slowly but surely. I’m going to put my foot down and make myself a part of it coming back strong.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You are big on artist development. Talk about managing artists behind the scenes and what it’s like keeping them in line.
Kay Gee: It’s almost like you’re a parent to all of them. Those are your kids, and the records are your kids. You can’t help but take it personal. I’m a producer. I’m invested in this. Those records are my kids. When they fail that’s your kids failing. That’s why it’s personal. I go further. It’s hard to take a Jaheim, rough and raw from the streets, and develop him into a superstar. Everybody can’t do that. Everybody couldn’t find Next out in Minneapolis, who walked onto the tour bus and handed me their demo.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Can you share any stories?
Kay Gee: I’ve had to yell at all of them. I had to ban Jaheim from the studio and all types of different stuff. I look at it and I say, that’s a part of it that shows his hunger as well. Back then it was Next, Koffee Brown, Jaheim, and then the producers. They were all living together in my back house. It was basically Making the Band before Making the Band. Then the studio was there. We would just make records all day, but it wouldn’t be for anybody in particular. Every record that we made, Jaheim always felt like the record should be his! I’d be like “No Jah, this aint your record! We don’t know whose record this is yet.” The perfect example is, “Just in Case”. That song was originally a ballad. I have the original demo of the song with Koffee Brown singing it. My point is, every record and song we would make, Jaheim would always want it. One day, he went in there and took some of the records out of there! So I banned him from the studio. They know I’m stern and straight to the point. It’s all fun, but when we’ve got to work, they know that I’m serious.