Nobody asked me but I’m telling you right now: Jagged Edge is and was a better singing group than 112. Most people will disagree with this. Most people will be wrong. I know this to be fact because I’ve seen Twitter arguments on this topic and I myself started a FB debate where I’m pretty sure somebody told me that they were sorry for my mother for making such a statement.
But fuck you. Jagged Edge is one of my favorite singing groups. This does not give you carte blanche to judge me any more than you already might. Keep in mind, I’m a 112 fan. I just think that…you know what, let’s just get into it. But keep in mind, I’m not doing this because I want to, I’m doing this because I have to. It hurts me more than its hurts you. Also, I’m pretty sure they’ve let whatever beef they used to have as the two pre-eminent ATL singing groups go, and that’s good since mostly nobody gives a shit now anyway.
This also has nothing to do with who is more talented as a group of individuals. 112 are a bunch of kids who went to a performing arts high school and are accomplished musicians in their own right who had a member who at some point took the mantle of writing and producing the lion’s share of their output a la Jodeci. I’m speaking of their goodness as a group.
So if it pleases the court, let’s kick a little something for them cars that be bumpin’. RIP Chris Kelly.
1. Jagged Edge can sing better than 112.
The argument really can start and end here. But since I know that’s not good enough, let’s delve further. Both groups have individual weak links. For JE, that would be Kyle Norman aka The One Who Never Sings. I was watching a Breakfast Club interview from last year where they did an impromptu singing “freestyle” and I had one of those moments where I thought I was about to see a comet. Was Kyle going to sing?!?!?! Were we going to see an actual 4-part harmony? Nope. Apparently he was “drinking too much” the night before causing his voice to be out of whack so they didn’t let him sing. To nobody’s surprise, the three other Edgers (Brian and Brandon Casey, and Richard Wingo) sounded EXACTLY like every single Jagged Edge song ever.
‘Round 112 way, we all know Slim is the lead - he’s the most prominent lead singer despite being the worst singer of the group. Daron produces and released an album that nobody copped. Q sings sometimes - not well, but he does sing sometimes. Mike, he’s aight but he’s not real. Point is, with 112, we’ve got a bunch of okay singers and one really not good lead singer that has a very distinct voice that puts him over the hump. Like, they can sing in the way that Iman Shumpert can play ball. Sure he’s better than 99 percent of every body else on the planet, but amidst his contemporaries of basketball players he’s just aight. That’s 112 vocally. With JE you’ve got three really good singers and one who is either the enforcer or is the proverbial “its better to keep him close than let him go because he knows where the bodies are” dude. 112 has three and maybe 4 guys that can sing okay, but nobody who is blowing you away either. Neither of these groups is Boyz II Men, but JE is much closer than 112.
So let’s break this down another way: if you had to have one sing at your wedding would it be 112 or JE? You may want to say 112, but you also know better. JE wins here.
2. Jagged Edge albums are better than 112 albums
This is just fact. I see some of you hitting me with the world’s loudest side-eye.
Jagged Edge has 8 albums to 112's 5. JE has 2 albums nobody even knew existed (Baby Makin’ Project, The Remedy, though Baby Makin’ Project was a Top 10 pop chart album, who knew?). Most fans know all 5 of 112's albums. But what that also means is that you know that the only TRULY good 112 album was the first one, the eponymously titled 112, which is remarkably dated. I love that album (“Come See Me”, “This Is Your Day”, and “Cupid” were my favorites on that album), but its dated.
Jagged Edge on the other hand is a one trick pony. All of their albums sound pretty much the same. However, the good thing about that is that the one sound was that is was a good one. And they have two albums that stand above the others because the production and singing was on its A-game in J.E. Heartbreak and Jagged Little Thrill. The production on JE albums was very consistent. On 112 albums, they tended to straddle that line between street savvy singers and substance based singers and songwriters. At least until they got to their Part III album (my actual favorite 112 album) when they quit giving a fuck about real R&B and joined JE in the street niggas who sing category. Even the staunchest 112 fan isn’t really listening to 90 percent of any of their albums post 112. With JE, you can listen to more songs per album without wondering what happened to their sound. JE is more Jill Scott’s first album (mostly bangers, definitely some filler), 112 is more Jill Scott’s album that had “Golden” and “Cross My Mind” on it (few bangers, mostly filler).
3. JE is beasting 112 on singles success
As per Wikipedia, Jagged Edge has 5 U.S. Top 10 singles, and 5 R&B Top Top 10 singles, with 3 hitting the number one spot: “Let’s Get Married”, “Promise”, and “Where The Party At?”. 112 on the other hand has 2 U.S. top 10 singles (“It’s Over Now” and “Peaches N Cream”) and 6 R&B Top 10 singles…HOWEVER, they only have one #1 R&B single in 2000's “It’s Over Now” (a great song). JE has more top 10 singles, one less R&B top 10 single, and 2 more #1s.
JE wins here.
I have no idea what 112's best song is. This could be the subject of debate on its own. But I’d wager that “Cupid” or “Only You” are their most instant recall popular songs. They are both from their debut album and both are likely to be the songs that most people will play to show you who 112 is in the event that folks say, “who the fuck is 112?” Also, neither of those songs are likely to be played at your wedding.
On the other hand, JE dropped the most insanely idiotic marriage song of all time with the, “fuck it, why not give up?” anthem (and more popular remix) of “Let’s Get Married.” More people have talked about how non-sensical and ridiculous this song is than a little bit. Those same people usually have this song playing at their weddings. This song will outlast humanity. This song is a roach. It will be played for years on end. 112 doesn’t have a single song that is competing with the staying power of “Let’s Get Married”. Also, Jermaine Dupri might be the real king of the remix. The upgrade on Dru Hill’s “In My Bed” was amazeballs. But still, none are competing with “Let’s Get Married”.
5. 112 definitely came out the gate better…JE has finished stronger
“Only You” was a great first single. Shouts to Stevie J. Mase and Biggie had great verses to go with the good singing verses. 112 was a great album. From there though, I feel like 112 has been struggling to figure out how to fit into the R&B landscape. That entire first album was legit. It wasn’t full fledge hip-hop R&B a la Mary J’s What’s the 411? but wasn’t pure Babyfacery either. After that though, they tried to swim in the rapper ternt singer waters to varying levels of success. Successful group, but you do have to admit that they got a bit confusing with their messaging.
Jagged Edge were the actual thug dudes with voices. They ended up dating future former members of Destiny’s Child (I remember seeing them all walking thru the mall at Lenox one day in ATL - Lenox, I miss your glory days) because thats what thugs did back then. They kept the same demeanor over the life of their albums which lets you know it was authentic. Jermaine Dupri made a sound that fit them, whereas I think 112 (sometimes bumping heads with Bad Boy) was trying to adapt with the times and sometimes it went over well (“Peaches N Cream”) and others it fell flat (“Na Na Na”). While JE’s songs pretty much could have all been on the same album, it would be one hell of an album and since they were a bit ahead of their time, they sound alright in today’s landscape. Though their comeback single, “Hope” is basically an interpolation of the Ralph Tresvant song “Do What I Gotta Do”.
6. “He Can’t Love You” is better than any 112 song.
Little Known and Useless Panama Fact: Me and one of my boys made up a dance to this song. In 1999.
7. Jagged Edge as a group is more interesting than 112.
Think about this for a second: do you give ANY fucks about a 112 interview? They seem like nice guys and have songs we like. But they also don’t seem interesting in the slightest. They’re the Beyonce of personalities. Jagged Edge is Solange.
8. Jagged Edge had a group attempt to jack their name with an OBVIOUS name spinoff…WHILE THEY WERE HOT.
Ruff Endz anybody? Nobody tried to jack 112's name. Admittedly, this is swimming in the shallow end of the “better” pool, but hey, for Black folks, sticking your foot in the water is akin to “went swimming”.
That’s all I got. But that’s all I need. Jagged Edge is a better group than 112. Deal with it.