The genius behind Jodeci has fallen on hard times over the last decade, with rumors of drug addiction (and an embarrassing TMZ video) taking the place of hit records. But none of this changes the intensity of the impact that Donald “DeVante Swing” Degrate had on the sound of ’90s R&B music in a prolific five year period. A freakishly talented instrumentalist with a freaky side, the Virginia native wrote and produced nearly every song Jodeci ever performed, inspiring a generation* with his achingly sincere, hyper-sexualized slow jams.
Before Jodeci’s breakthrough in 1991, DeVante did some co-production work at Uptown Records, including the radio version of Al B. Sure’s “Missunderstanding” that became a #1 R&B hit. He continued to make big moves as a songwriter, using the talkbox-heavy “Jodeci Sound” to create hits for everyone from a 50-year-old Al Green to a 16-year-old Usher. In the mid-’90s he developed his own training camp of artists and producers called the Swing Mob, which famously introduced names like Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Ginuwine, Tweet, Static Major, Darryl Pearson, and Stevie J to the industry. He executive produced the #1 Dangerous Minds soundtrack, and before long he was being managed by Suge Knight, spending a lot of time with 2Pac, and crafting Jodeci’s ambitious third album.
In the next few years, everything fell apart—Death Row died with 2Pac, K-Ci & JoJo went solo, and the Swing Mob artists started signing with other labels. By the late ’90s, DeVante had been completely eclipsed by his former protégé, Timbaland, as mainstream R&B’s biggest innovator. His career fell into a 15 year black hole, marking a tragic end for one of music’s brightest stars. Spark one and zone out to my compilation of 30 DeVante classics…
THE DEVANTE SWING COLLECTION
DOWNLOAD: [ mediafire | megaupload | usershare ]
1. H-Town “Part Time Lover” (1994)
2. Jodeci “Room 454: DeVante’s Inhermission” (1995)
3. Changing Faces “Keep It Right There” (1994)
4. Ginuwine “I Want You” (1996)
5. 2Pac “No More Pain” (1996)
6. Jodeci “Feenin'” (1993)
7. Usher “Can U Get Wit It” (1994)
8. Renee Anderson “Gonna Be Your Night” (1997)
9. Danny Boy f/ Ginuwine “Slip ‘N’ Slide” (1995)
10. Jodeci “Love U 4 Life” (1995)
11. Jeff Redd “Giving My Love To You” (1990)
12. Al B. Sure “Missunderstanding” (1990)
13. Michael Cooper “Do You” (1992)
14. Sista “Sweat You Down” (1994)
15. Jodeci “What About Us” (1993)
16. DeVante f/ Static Major “Gin & Juice” (1995)
17. Horace Brown “You Need A Man” (1996)
18. CeCe Peniston “I See Love” (1993)
19. Jodeci “Come & Talk To Me” (1991)
20. Christopher Williams “All I See” (1992)
21. Montell Jordan “What’s On Tonight” (1996)
22. Tony Thompson “Slave” (1995)
23. Jodeci f/ Raekwon & Ghostface Killah “Freek’n You (Remix)” (1995)
24. B Rezell “Blowed Away” (1994)
25. Al Green “Could This Be Love” (1995)
26. Jodeci “Cry for You” (1993)
27. Mary J. Blige f/ K-Ci “I Don’t Want To Do Anything” (1992)
28. Mya “Smilin'” (2007)
29. Jodeci “Good Luv” (1995)
30. Da Bassment “Love You Down” (1996)
ALL SONGS WERE PRODUCED, WRITTEN AND/OR PERFORMED BY DEVANTE SWING
* While Teddy Riley and Guy were clearly a huge influence on early Jodeci, it’s interesting to see the influence that Jodeci (and DeVante’s sound in general) had on Teddy Riley’s next group, Blackstreet, when they debuted in 1994. In many ways, this is a great snapshot of R&B’s New Jack Swing generation passing the torch.
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wow. props. u really brought it from a different angle
amazing! i wish someone would unearth the solo album he recorded for madonna’s maverick records… jodeci’s 3rd album “the show, the afterparty, the hotel” was astonishing. the skits alone on the second part of the album alone are epic!
Men what happened to jodeci, i regard as one of the best groups in the world….just have a look at their live perfomances, no one could touch these boi’s….damn what happened to swing.r&b music…?i miss u guys….
Damn I was & still is so in love with this DEVANTE SWING (Donald De’Grate JR.)…….he was so talented & I believe he still is…extremely handsome very laid back type guy in most of his videos he wasn’t even a camera hogger like most even tho he was the best damn thing IN IT with his beautiful eyes sexy lips & skin that look soft to the touch lol but honestly I am only 21 & I got brought up listening to oldies & R&B is most def not the same all I listen to is old jams yea I play a couple new ones but I rather be listening to JODECi, R-KELLY,MARY J,TEMPTATIONS ECT…..I wish he get his self together & come back with what he know because this FAN will always support him up’s & down’s….I LOVE YOU DEVANTE!!!!!
You know, his career didn’t just fall into a “15 year black hole”. He was blacklisted from the industry around the time that Timbaland et al. starting rising. If that blacklisting had not happened who knows what heights he could have reached… this industry is truly brutal and heartless. He’s still making music though, still producing and still helping out younger talent.
I know that jodeci had about 40 unreleased tracks but bcos they were still in a contract that they didnt want, they couldnt release those songs, yeah, if you could come across devante’s work lately please let me know, just want to hear that flava…..how was the song they with H-town recently with kc, jojo, delvin and devante…..i neva heard it….
Just wanted to add that he ghost produced a lot of music as well, so while you haven’t seen his name, he’s been out there working. Thanks for putting this playlist together! His was some great stuff…
Devante Swing is a musical genius!
amazing track produced by Devante Swing.
Man that is a great upload, too bad you didn’t add the “Can u get wit it” song from Usher and that amazing Mary J Blige song “no one else”. But nuff respect dude, nice !
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wandile | May 9, 2011 at 5:51 am
“….just have a look at their live perfomances, no one could touch these boi’s….”
Their live shows were terrible vocally. There were even magazine articles written about them on Hammer’s “Too Legit To Quit” Tour, sounding vocally bad and being outdone by Boyz II Men, who were on the same tour.
Devante did produce a song on K-Ci & Jo-Jo’s first album. Can’t remember the name off-hand.
“Still Waiting” is the title of the song Devante co-produced on K-Ci & Jo-Jo’s first album’s debut album.
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There was no group like Jodeci, full of sex appeal especially DeVante Swing I have always had a crush on him. Forever my Lady still gets me excited in 2014!!!! It would be nice if they could reunite and turn the world upside down.
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If anybody needs this or Sista’s unreleased album, just email me at email@example.com…I love to spread the musical wealth!!