Coming out of the fertile early-'80s New York hip-hop scene, Whodini were one of the first rap groups to add a straight R&B twist to their music, laying the groundwork for the new jack swing movement. The group scored several major hits throughout the '80s, including the Thomas Dolby-produced "Magic's Wand" from their self-titled 1983 debut, to dancefloor classics like "Friends" and "Freaks Come Out at Night" from 1984's platinum Escape. Whodini slowed down in the '90s, releasing no new music after 1996's Six, but the impressions left by their earliest material continued to be felt in new waves of rap, pop, and dance music.

Whodini formed in 1981, consisting of rappers Jalil Hutchins and John Ecstasy Fletcher, and legendary DJ Drew Grandmaster Dee Carter, known for being able to scratch records with nearly every part of his body. Whodini's self-titled 1983 album made a splash with rhythm-heavy hip-hop songs like "Magic's Wand" (the first rap song to feature an accompanying video), and "The Haunted House of Rock," a rewrite of "Monster Mash." The next year's Escape would be the group's biggest commercial success, selling in platinum numbers on the back of singles "Big Mouth," "Friends," and "Freaks Come Out at Night." The band explored the intersection of rap and R&B on the album, and their stage shows when touring in support of the album were the first rap concerts to feature official dancers (U.T.F.O. members Doctor Ice and Kangol Kid). Third album Back in Black arrived in 1986, selling less than Escape but still performing respectably. Following their fourth album, 1987's Open Sesame, Whodini went on hiatus due to problems with their record company, and to concentrate on their respective new families. The group signed on with MCA Records for their 1991 album Bag-a-Trix, at this point known more for their samples being used by newer artists than their contemporaneous output. In 1996, the group released their sixth album, Six, on Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label; it would be the final album of new material from the group, though their legacy and influence continued to grow over the next several decades as new fans and artists discovered their innovative albums. Whodini's music, particularly their material from the early '80s, was included in multiple collections of genre-defining early hip-hop, and they toured sporadically throughout the 2000s and beyond. Founding member John Ecstasy Fletcher died on December 23, 2020 at the age of 56. ~ Fred Thomas & Steve Huey, Rovi

Whodini - One Love
Whodini - Freaks Come Out at Night
Whodini - Five Minutes of Funk (Audio)
Whodini - Friends (Audio)
Whodini - I'm a Ho (Audio)
Whodini - Big Mouth
Whodini - Funky Beat
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