The first R&B vocal group to be promoted by Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs ’ Bad Boy stable, 112 was formed in the mid-90s by Quinnes ‘Q’ Parker (b. 24 March 1976, Atlanta, Georgia, USA), Marvin ‘Slim’ Scandrick (b. 25 September 1974, Atlanta, Georgia, USA), Daron Jones (b. 27 December 1976, Atlanta, Georgia, USA) and Michael Keith (b. 18 December 1976, Atlanta, Georgia, USA). To media-watchers, it quickly became obvious that the members of this Atlanta, Georgia, USA-based quartet were being marketed as individual talents who could also perform collectively, based upon the model of New Edition. However, they made their bow just as the Notorious B.I.G. and Ma$e broke through commercially. Not surprisingly, their 1996 self-titled debut album was somewhat overlooked as a result, though it still managed initial sales of close to a million copies. It also produced the major US hit singles, ‘Only You’, ‘Come See Me’ and ‘Cupid’.
112 subsequently picked up a Grammy, alongside Combs and Faith Evans, for their contribution to ‘I’ll Be Missing You’, a tribute to the Notorious B.I.G and a global number 1 in autumn 1997. They also guested on Allure’s US Top 5 hit, ‘All Cried Out’. The quartet then refined their formula, offering a second album concentrating on love and romance rather than the hustler-related lyrics of their debut. They also lifted their tempos, in an effort to become less reliant on ballads. The resulting album, 1998’s Room 112, was described by label boss Combs as ‘one of the best R&B albums I’ve ever been involved in.’ Among the other high profile writers employed by 112 was Diane Warren. Additional production was provided by Dallas Austin, with guest artists including Ma$e (on the US Top 20 single ‘Love Me’), Lil’ Zane (on another Top 20 hit, ‘Anywhere’) and Lil’ Kim.
The quartet assumed most of the production and writing duties for 2001’s follow-up, Part III, a more club-orientated album that included the excellent US Top 10 hits ‘It’s Over Now’ and ‘Peaches & Cream’. Their fourth studio album, 2003’s Hot & Wet, was confusingly billed as a split release between Bad Boy and Def Soul, but nevertheless repeated the tried and tested formula of mixing upbeat numbers and slick ballads. The 2005 release Pleasure & Pain marked the quartet’s first recording without the involvement of Combs, with collaborators such as Mario Winans and Jermaine Dupri brought in to help liven up their sound.
112 (Bad Boy 1996) ٭ ٭ ٭
Room 112 (Bad Boy 1998) ٭ ٭
Part III (Bad Boy 2001) ٭ ٭ ٭
Hot & Wet (Bad Boy/Def Soul 2003) ٭ ٭ ٭
Pleasure & Pain (Def Soul 2005) ٭ ٭ ٭