In 2001 people were just getting over the happy fact that the world hadn’t ended; but the boys of B2K–J-Boog, Raz-B, Lil’ Fizz and Omarion–were just getting started. The first boy band of the decade (their name literally means “Boys Of The New Millennium”) took the first steps to securing their places in the history books (or at least in the hearts of teen girls worldwide).
Debuting on the scene in July of that year with an up-beat dance track “Uh-Huh” it wasn’t long before they had taken over the charts, especially BET’s 106 & Park then hosted by AJ and Free. As B2k’s fame grew so did the behind-the- scenes problems that would eventually boil over in early 2004. B2k’s run, though short, was impressive and epic! They were compared to New Edition and Boys II Men but even bigger than that, B2k had brought back the black boy band!
Omarion wasn’t always a member of B2K. He was introduced to the band by “brother” Marques Houston (cousin of J-Boog) who was a part of the group Immature/IMX who was also signed with Chris Stokes. O immediately fit and B2K had found the missing link in their equation. Omarion now led the group, who was turned away by many record labels before finally being signed to Sony/Epic records. Lil’ Bow Wow had befriended the boys and allowed them to open at his Scream Tour. Little know that B2K can be seen on the porch of his hit single “Ghetto Girlz.”
From there B2K dropped their own effort, first single “Uh-Huh.” The song was an immediate hit and rose to the top of the video charts within days after it’s debut and peaked at number 20 on the U.S Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs…B2K madness had begun!
Shortly after the release of “Uh-Huh” B2K had yet to capture older audiences in their growing fan base; but that would all change with their next single “Gots Ta Be” a love ballad showcasing mature lyrics and harmonies for even grown women to swoon over. The video let viewers get a glimpse of the Pandemonium that would unfold each time they made a public appearance. It showed the world how far they had come in such a short time. Erik White directed the video that put their youth on display as they played like teenage boys with adult toys. “Gots Ta Be” gained B2K the respect of fellow musicians and broader audiences!
On March 12, 2002 the eponymous and highly-anticipated album from B2K was released and debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 charts and number 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.
Omarion, J-Boog, Raz-B and Lil’ Fizz seemed unstoppable! Their next single “Why I Love You” climbed the charts just as their previous singles had. After a short break B2K resurfaced seemingly older, more attractive and out to prove they were in the game for the long haul. They collaborated with Diddy for their first number 1 single “Bump, Bump, Bump” written and produced by R.Kelly. Kelly took the lead on most of the songs on their second album Pandemonium. By then Bow Wow had left the Scream Tour and B2k given the headline position! B2K had become known for their precise and complex dance moves which would lead them to You Got Served a motion picture starring them and Marques Houston. It grossed over 30 million at the box office and added thespian to the young entertainers resume.
Pandemonium sold 194,000 copies in its first week and eventually went platinum spawning another number 1 single “Girlfriend.” The mini-movie/music video starred B2k, Flex Alexander, Vivica Foxx, Ronald Isley, Big Boy, Will Smith and Jennifer Freeman. A short version was cut to T.V friendly length but the full rendition was available on their Introducing B2K and Ultimate B2K Video Collection DVD. “Girlfriend” was followed by “What A Girl Wants” the last official music video from the group before their unexpected break-up in 2004.
Details began to emerge that manager Chris Stokes had stolen money from them and treating three of the members differently than lead singer Omarion. The group claimed that Marques Houston’s name appeared in the writer’s credits of many of their songs even when he didn’t have any part in the song making process. Chris Stokes, Omarion and Marques Houston denied allegations and the band had permanently separated. Three of the members: J-Boog, Raz-B and Lil’ Fizz were left out the equation as Omarion and IMX moved on without them. Fans were left heart-broken after investing much energy in a group they were sure would last( I would know I was one of them). Omarion continued his music career as a solo act releasing his own album “Omarion” in July 2004 with the lead single “O” a salacious song for the ladies! It sold over 500,000 copies in the first week solidifying it as a major success.
In later years Lil’ Fizz tried at a solo career with singles “Fluid, Beds [and] Bounce” featuring J-Boog. Raz-B was ousted from the group after alleging that ex-manager/cousin had molested him and the rest of B2K.
Omarion continues to find success with his solo career while the rest of the boys try to make a comeback. Raz-B now resides in China! None of the many allegations from the group have been confirmed…