Jagged Edge’s Return to Music Is Just What R&B Needs
Seth Browarnik/startraksphoto.com

There’s lots of talk about what R&B music is missing, and Jagged Edge hopes to fill that void with their return to music.

The quartet, famous for the hits “Let’s Get Married” and “Where’s The Party At?”, has returned with their newest single “Hope.” Brandon, Brian, Richard and Kyle dialed into our interview while promoting their newest project J.E. Heartbreak 2,  a sequel to their 2000 album, due out September 30.  The group talked to us about what fans can look forward to with their newest project, the state of R&B, and which legendary boy band they’d love to tribute if they had the chance.

ESSENCE: How have you all personally grown since J.E. Heartbreak came out in 2000?

Brandon Casey: J.E. Heartbreak was our second album, and at that point in our career we still needed guidance and help in terms of being able to make a hit record and know it was a hit record before the fans ever heard it. Now, I feel like we can go into the studio by ourselves and we’ll come out with a hit record. The growth is there in the sense that we can self-contain ourselves for the rest of our career—not that we’re looking to do that—but if we had to we could.

ESSENCE: Why do a sequel to that particular album?

Brandon: J.E. Heartbreak was our most successful album and over the years people were always comparing things to that [album] and asking us for music to replicate that same type of sound, so we just felt like now was the perfect time to come back with a sequel.

ESSENCE: Times have changed and so has music and technology. Where you guys apprehensive about calling the album J.E. Heartbreak 2 knowing the fans would have certain expectations?

Brandon: We knew that it would come with expectations with that being our most successful record, but I think when you’ve been gone as long as we have, you don’t want to come back with something iffy. You want to come back with something that people know and love you for and that’s what J.E. Heartbreak 2 is.

ESSENCE: One of your biggest hits was “Let’s Get Married.” Today, the biggest record on the radio is “These H*es Ain’t Loyal”. What’s your take on the state of R&B today?

Kyle: These women are loyal! I know a lot of loyal women! For us, we just want to put hope back in women again. There’s too many records bashing women.

ESSENCE: What can fans expect from the sequel?

Brandon: Fans can expect the sound that they grew to know and love.

ESSENCE: This year you all will be performing at this year’s ESSENCE Festival. If you had a chance to pitch a tribute performance to any person who influenced you, who would it be and who would you bring on stage with you to tribute that artist?

Kyle: Without a doubt New Edition. These guys made it cool to be in a band and to sing. I think I speak for the group when I say that. If we had to pick someone else to help us tribute them, I would say 112. We’d also have them on stage with us.