Minneapolis, Minnesota, R&B collective Next, comprised of Robert “R.L.” Huggar and biological brothers, Terry “T-Low” & Raphael “Tweet” (now known as Prince Raphael Shawan) Brown, first stepped onto the music scene way back in August 1997 with their gold-selling lead single, “Butta Love.”
Initially founded by Prof-T and Lance Alexander of Lo-Key? fame, Next would then go on to link up with Naughty By Nature deejay/producer KayGee, who would soon sign the singing trio to his now defunct Divine Mill production company. It was actually through this connection that ultimately brought the fellas to the attention of industry impresario, Clive Davis, who immediately inked the group to his reputable Arista label.
Next released their much-heralded, double-platinum debut, Rated Next, which spawned two additional hit entries; the massive “Too Close,” a three-plus million seller in and of itself, and “I Still Love You,” in the fall of that very same year.
Their gold certified follow-up, Welcome II Nextasy, arrived a little more than two and a half years later, landing Next their second signature smash, “Wifey.” Their third and final LP, The Next Episode, again recorded under the supervision of Davis, this time for his, then newly launched, J Records imprint, dropped in December ’02.
Since that time a whole hell of a lot has changed. In the past eight-plus years, R.L. embarked on a semi-successful solo run, whilst Prince Raphael [Tweet] left the fold entirely, only to recently return. To add insult to injury, Next, as a whole, signed two separate ill-fated recording contracts; one with G-Unit/Interscope, another with Mathew Knowles’ Music World Entertainment, and T-Low suffered a career-threatening throat condition, which has since been corrected successfully through surgery.
With summer 20-11 quickly approaching, let it be known that Next is finally back, and R.L., T-Low and Prince Raphael Shawan [Tweet] are already 5 tracks deep into their long overdue fourth studio collection, Music 101.
In other Next related news, R.L. literally just came out with a mix-tape EP called The Return Of The Voice, with his still untitled sophomore solo outing soon to follow suit, while both Prince Raphael [Tweet] and T-Low are also prepping their own individual bodies of work as well. In addition to all of that, Next will soon be embarking on a major nationwide tour, with dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
“We are giving the world that raw R&B we are known for. Stellar vocals, clever lyrics, and harmony that will move any audience,” Prince Raphael [Tweet] announces, sounding elated that his crew are back and in full effect mode. Pausing for a quick second, he then concludes, “Our performance game has elevated with our maturity and experiences.”