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Formed: 1992, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Members: T-Low (Terrance Brown; born 7 June 1974); Tweety (Raphael Brown; born 28 January 1976); R.L. (Robert Lavelle Huggar; born 2 April 1977).

Genre: R&B

Best-selling album since 1990: Welcome II Nextasy (2000)

Hit songs since 1990: "Butta Love," "Too Close"


Next brought a new degree of sexual explicitness to 1990s R&B, taking the seductive harmony style popularized by Boyz II Men and applying it to songs that usually required heavy editing for radio airplay. Despite the group's blatant raunchiness, Next gave evidence of a strong gospel background, especially in the tough, sophisticated harmonies that drove hits such as
"Too Close" and "Butta Love." Although Next occasionally mixed declarations of love with its aggressively sexual messages, for the most part it held on to the same erotic formula, which critics maintain began to wear thin after three albums.

Next formed after brothers Terrance and Raphael Brown (known respectively as T-Low and Tweety) were introduced to Robert Lavelle Huggar (R.L.) through their uncle, the director of a local gospel choir. The singers were soon taken under the wing of gospel and R&B performer Ann Nesby, who acted as their manager. In 1994 the group recorded a demo at the Minneapolis studio of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, one of the top producing teams in 1980s and 1990s R&B. The demo came to the attention of Naughty By Nature rap group member Kay Gee, who signed Next to his new Divine Mill label, a subsidiary of Arista Records.

The group's first album, Rated Next, appeared at the end of 1997 and became an immediate hit on the basis of daring lyrics and Kay Gee's tough-sounding production. Sporting some of the most danceable grooves of any 1990s R&B album, Rated Next creates a compellingly erotic atmosphere. All three singers are strong vocalists, and their muscular interplay gives the album a powerful air of gospel urgency. The hit "Too Close," in which tight harmonies are layered over a 1970s- and 1980s-styled funk beat, is one of the album's highlights, although "Butta Love" and "Cozy" are equally appealing. While the dense funk beat never wavers, the album's limited themeexpressed in titles such as "Penetration" and "Sexitude"threatens to become tedious long before the final track.

Although Next ran the risk of overkill in the same way that 1970s soul singer Barry White approached self-parody with his erotic, spoken-word love ballads, the group continued on the same path with its follow-up album, Welcome II Nextasy (2000). On the driving hit single, "Wifey," the group extols the virtues of an adventurous spouse who knows "when to flip it street freak""freak" being a motif that recurs in various forms throughout the album. Just how little the group changed from first album to second is evident in the song titles. For example, Rated Next 's "Phone Sex" was replaced by "Cybersex" on the follow-up, complete with silly lyrics suggesting the group may not be entirely serious: "I want your PC / Sit on my laptop." In 2002 the group released its third album, The Next Episode, on J-Records, a label newly created by former Arista chief Clive Davis. In keeping with its predecessors, the album sports dense beats and lyrics that leave little to the imagination.

Next epitomizes the aggressive side of contemporary R&B, drawing upon the harmonic traditions of gospel to push boundaries of lyric and theme. Even when severely edited for radio, Next's records became hits on the basis of their irresistible funk grooves and sly, assertive vocals.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Rated Next (Arista, 1997); Welcome II Nextasy (Arista, 2000); The Next Episode (J-Records, 2002).

david freeland

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next

next / nekst/ • adj. 1. (of a time or season) coming immediately after the time of writing or speaking: we'll go next year | next week's parade. ∎  (of a day of the week) nearest (or the nearest but one) after the present: not this Wednesday, next Wednesday | on Monday next. ∎  (of an event or occasion) occurring directly in time after the present or most recent one, without anything of the same kind intervening: the next election | next time I'll bring a hat. 2. coming immediately after the present one in order or space: the woman in the next room | the next chapter | who's next? ∎  coming immediately after the present one in rank: building materials were next in importance. • adv. on the first or soonest occasion after the present; immediately afterward: wondering what would happen next | next, I heard the sound of voices. ∎  following in the specified order: Joe was the next oldest after Martin. • n. the next person or thing: one moment he wasn't there, the next he was | the week after next. • prep. archaic next to: he plodded along next him. PHRASES: next in line immediately below the present holder of a position in order of succession: he is next in line to the throne. next to 1. in or into a position immediately to one side of; beside: we sat next to each other. 2. following in order or importance: next to buying a whole new wardrobe, nothing lifts the spirits quite like a new hairdo! 3. almost: Charles knew next to nothing about farming. 4. in comparison with: next to her I felt like a fraud. the next world (according to some religious beliefs) the place where one goes after death. what next an expression of surprise or amazement.

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next

next next of kin a person's closest living relative or relatives, standing in the nearest degree of blood-relationship and entitled to a share in their personal estate in a case of intestacy.
the next world (according to some religious beliefs) the place where one goes after death.
next year in Jerusalem! traditionally the concluding words of the Jewish Passover service, expressing the hope of the diaspora that Jews dispersed throughout the world would once more be reunited.

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next

next lying nearest; nearest in kinship; immediately preceding or succeeding OE.; immediately following in time XII. OE. (non-WS.) nēhsta, = OS. nīetistah)isto (Du. naaste), (WS) OHG. nāhisto (G. nächste), ON. næstr, næsti; superl. of NIGH (see -EST).

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next

nextBakst, unrelaxed •next, oversexed, sext, text, undersexed •teletext • context • subtext •hypertext •betwixt, unmixed •suffix

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